The Yankees love affair with Giancarlo Stanton has always seemed as odd as the pairing of Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe – and just as phony…
When Yankees General Manager, Brian Cashman, was told Derek Jeter was on the phone for him, never in his wildest dreams could he have believed the call would end with Giancarlo Stanton wearing a Yankees uniform.
Cashman knew, as did every GM in baseball at the time that Jeter was on a dump and run mission to dismantle the Miami Marlins to save the franchise and himself from disgrace and bankruptcy.
And so it was that Christmas came early to Yankees fans when on December 8, 2017, two-time All-Star Starlin Castro and two prospects were sent on their way in exchange for Giancarlo Stanton, who was on the rebound of an MVP season.
Visions of sugarplums, with Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez back-to-back-to-back in the Yankees lineup spurred ticket sales and expectations for the 2018 season. Refrains in distant baseball cities echoed the return of the Evil Empire.
Questions Then – And Questions Now
But lurking in the background and away from the back pages of newspapers was this undercurrent of thought asking a simple question. Do the Yankees really need Stanton?
And why would the team mortgage their future by wrapping themselves tightly within the confines of a contract that was bestowed on Stanton by Jeffrey Loria, who was planning to sell the Marlins?
Ironically, those same questions are still in play today.
Giancarlo Stanton played in all of eighteen games for the Yankees this season. Owning an oversized body with oversized moving parts, Stanton seemed to have a penchant for creating new injuries on top of old injuries during his rehab.
As July turned into August, and August into September, the daily “message points,” relayed to the media by Aaron Boone, pronounced an ever-increasing optimism that Stanton “will be back soon.”
Which, in turn, led to many of us asking, why? Who cares? We don’t need him. We’ve already got this thing locked up. Why upset a winning formula?
Scratching our heads, we wondered if it could be about the money ($25 million)? No, not the Yankees. They’re not the Mets who will squeeze every penny they can out of Yoenis Cespedes next year, no matter how much a detriment to the team he is.
Yes, it’s fair to say the Yankees lineup does look different when Stanton is in there. He’s an imposing presence in the same way Alex Rodriguez was in the twilight of his time with the Yankees. But the singular question remains, does Stanton make the lineup better?
Yankees: The Love Affair Is Dying
Stop the charade. The Yankees need Gerrit Cole and/or Stephen Strasburg more than they need Giancarlo Stanton, who will remain a strain on the budget for the next nine years when Stanton will be 38 years old.
The argument that Stanton can’t be traded is ridiculous. But first, the Yankees must declare their love affair with Stanton is over, a barrier the team seems reluctant to crash through.
There are teams out there who not only can afford Stanton (with the Yankees limited help) but would relish the idea of Stanton playing for them.
Artie Moreno, the owner of the Los Angeles Angels, has the money and the baseball understanding to realize the impact Stanton would have in complementing Mike Trout on his team.
The Philadelphia Phillies have an owner who last year vowed to spend “insanely” to improve his team. He did so by adding Bryce Harper and is willing to go further. The Cardinals need a masher, and so do the three million fans they draw every year.
Reportedly, the Dodgers, having failed again this year, are desperate to improve and are in on Stanton. And so on.
The truth is Brian Cashman was smitten by the IDEA of Giancarlo Stanton. The experiment is failing, and it is destined to continue that way.
End the drama. File for divorce due to irreconcilable differences, and move on.