Yankees: Why Can’t Giancarlo Stanton Play At First Base?

Yankees Giancarlo Stanton - Strong And Healthy (NY Times)

The Yankees have seemingly relegated Giancarlo Stanton to the DH spot. Is his body so brittle he can’t learn to play a little first base?

The Yankees seem to have lost the will to challenge Giancarlo Stanton in the same way they went to Aaron Judge, asking him to feel a need on the team in centerfield. Judge, a consummate pro, immediately said yes.

Oft-injured Yankees first baseman Luke Voit (NY Post)
Oft-injured Yankees first baseman Luke Voit (NY Post)

Coincidentally, the Yankees also have a need at first base where Luke Voit has been sidelined for most of the season. This has forced Aaron Boone to use Mike Ford, who has since been released, and DJ LeMahieu there, instead of at second base, forcing Rougned Odor to be in the lineup at second base.

I can’t explain why the Yankees haven’t approached Stanton to learn to play some first base for the life of me. For one thing, there is no guarantee that Voit will complete the season once he returns without sustaining another injury.

And second, how about asking Stanton to earn his keep with the Yankees and that $29 Million he’ll be hauling down until 2028?

Often assumed to be the easiest position to play, first base is not that.

The position requires sudden starts and stops, with movements to and from the bag when a runner is on. The toss to the pitcher covering is not automatic, and it requires hours of practice, as does fielding a sacrifice bunt.

But, c’mon. What are the Yankees afraid of – that Stanton will get injured if he plays at first? That’s what it’s come to?

Subway series on the way...
Subway series on the way…

If I were Giancarlo Stanton, I’d be embarrassed by having to accept a role as a pinch-hitter during the weekend series against the Phillies (both losses, by the way) because there is no DH in the National League.

Presumably, the same thing will happen during the Subway Series against the Mets when the Yankees travel to Citi Field, plus dates at Miami (7/30-8/1), Atlanta (8/23-24).

The absurdity of benching Stanton for all of these games should be a wake-up call for Aaron Boone, and if it’s not, he is, as many are saying, not the right man for this Yankees job.

Stanton had been one of the Yankees’ hottest hitters before this weekend’s benching, with three home runs and eight driven home over the last ten days.

Even when Stanton is not hot, his presence in the Yankees’ lineup gives the team a different look when teamed with Judge and an improving Gary Sanchez.

Now, Giancarlo Stanton is human, and he has feelings. They’re usually guarded, but they did come out a bit last August:

“This is my life; this is what I do,” Stanton said in a revealing interview with ESPN.

Stanton is not Jacoby Ellsbury, who seemed to relish coasting through the remaining portion of his career, collecting a considerably heavy paycheck every two weeks.

Aaron Boone Under The Gun
Aaron Boone Under The Gun

Stanton is 31, and he wants to play, so let him.

If the Yankee’s current plunge into fourth place is to be negated, the team needs more offense. Stanton can give them all the offense they need, but he can’t do sitting on the bench.

Brian Cashman is asleep at the wheel, but Aaron Boone is not. He feels the pain and his players at how this season is going – or more aptly – not going.

Do something novel, something not tried before. Stanton will do anything the Yankees ask from him because he knows he owes the Yankees.

Give Giancarlo Stanton a chance at first base, and more importantly, give the Yankees a chance…

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

John Kaniuk He looks like Garvey and the Rock but plays Tartabull and MO Vaughn.

Rainer Hienerwadel He just came off the DL and he is the only one destroying baseballs….you want to risk that for first base? Voit will be back in a week

Lindsay Zurla He would be great to play first base I have no problem why he should but he should. He needs to stay healthy!! 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

Justin Anthony Chimento You can’t just throw a guy at first base and expect him to fit. He played outfield his whole career. 1st base is an underrated position. Having a shit 1st basement hurts your defense tremendously. If he can’t pay outfield then keep him at DH.

Tim Busse Why can’t Torres learn 1st so DJ and play 2nd Author’s Note: Who’s your shortstop then?

Adam Chaplin Why we haven’t given him a shot in the OF to begin with is beyond me. I wouldn’t think he’d have a hard time learning first either

Bob Intini He can’t even DH without breaking down and you think he should play the field too? Author’s Note: This is what annoys me. Why can’t Stanton learn to play so he reduces the chance of injury?

Mike Harrington I don’t think his body is that brittle, but I think the organization thinks so, and that’s all that matters in the end.

I think they’re desperately trying to salvage whatever they can over the length of this deal they’re stuck with. Personally, though, I think getting some defense out of him, especially sometimes at 1B would be ideal.
Odds are they have insurance on his injury stints, so they might as well get the most they can out of him when he’s with the team. Author’s Note: Mike Harrington gets it.
William MichaelIf someone can prove me wrong, please do so. From my point of view, his injury issues really seemed to take off when they made him DH. Honestly think if he played the outfield he would be more stretched out causing fewer injuries. Andujar LF, Judge center, Stanton RF. Could ease in Voit as DH or gives guys a breather. Stanton is streaky as hell but when he is on, he really is on.
Bruce ChesterHe has been a DH now for a few years. He is apparently a big fragile guy who needs to be babied. He needs to be able to play RF once in a while or if by some miracle the Yankees make a WS in the next 5 years then he can’t ride the bench for 3-4 games. But 1B is not his position and he would get hurt just putting his glove on😥
Mitch Bondo BandalanYes!!! Been saying this for a while now. Hell, even Miggy played first base a few times. For what they pay him, especially since he doesn’t play the outfield anymore, 1st base is a no-brainer.

Author’s Postscript 6:05 pm ET 6/14/2021

Okay, I get it as with few exceptions you disagree. Perhaps, it’s just an expression of my complete exasperation with this Yankee’s team. With that though…

Regretfully and due only to volume, I’m closing off published comments for this post. Keep ‘em coming though – after all – that’s what this is all about.

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.