Young, exciting, hungry Giancarlo Stanton a natural fit for the young, exciting, and hungry Yankees
Reigning NL MVP looks forward to competing for championships in the Big Apple
BAY LAKE, Fla. -- Giancarlo Stanton made his Major League debut in 2010 and has never been on a team that has finished with a winning record. The then-Florida Marlins went 87-75 in 2009, but their 80-82 mark in Stanton's rookie campaign of 2010 is the closest they've come to .500 since.
And, as Stanton revealed in his introductory Yankees press conference Monday, that fact, added to the prospect of adding to the streak, is much of the reason why he's in pinstripes now.
"We had a meeting where we spoke about the direction of the team," Stanton said, referencing a discussion with Marlins COO Derek Jeter and team brass. "I wanted us to go forward, because I thought our lineup was legit and we needed to focus on pitching and add rather than subtract. They wanted to subtract, and so I let it be known that I didn't want to be part of another rebuild."
Stanton has a full no-trade clause in the massive 13-year, $325 million contract he signed three winters ago, so if he was to be dealt as part of that Marlins overhaul, he would at least be able to help choose his next destination. Miami reportedly struck deals with both the Cardinals and Giants to send Stanton elsewhere in the National League, but he refused them both.
"I gave my list of teams prior to (any talks). They went to San Francisco and St. Louis and struck deals with them. I was open to listening to them, but those were not my teams, and it just wasn't a fit for me," Stanton said, before adding specifically of the Cardinals: "We've shared the same Spring Training facilities (as the Cardinals), so I know their culture is winning first, but I wanted to keep my options to the teams I originally chose."
The reported list, in addition to the Yankees, definitely included the Dodgers and Astros, who met in the World Series weeks ago, and possibly the Cubs, who, with the Yankees, rounded out the final four teams that were alive this past postseason.
But it was New York atop that list all along, and now it's a wish come true as of Monday morning.
"The atmosphere, the history of the franchise ... there's not much to say as to why you wouldn't want to be here," Stanton smiled, "but watching them from afar, seeing this young, dynamic group and how they flow together, New York was definitely on top of the list, and we were able to get a deal done."
That deal, Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner noted, is one that came together just as suddenly as it seemed. General manager Brian Cashman admitted that he first laid some possible groundwork at last month's GM meetings, but it wasn't until the calendar turned to December that the fire in the hot stove reached a boiling point and eventually ended in a new No. 27 in pinstripes.
"Cash has been maybe working on this for a week or two, but really the last few days got pretty hectic," Steinbrenner said. "There were ups and downs trying to come to an agreement, and it came together quickly. He's a very special player and human being, and I think he's going to fit right in."
Stanton has already spoken to slugger Aaron Judge, and as excited as Yankees fans are to see those two in the same lineup, the pair is just as excited to be hitting right next to each other.
"We met during the All-Star festivities, and had fun there," Stanton said. "We respect each other's game, and excited to get better together and use our talents together. We're very similar, so we're going to learn from each other and make each other better. It's going to be fun hitting together."
Don't count out the other seven in the lineup, though, because part of what made New York Stanton's top choice was the way anyone could beat you from one to nine.
"This team is dynamic and well-balanced, able to strike from everywhere," Stanton said. "I saw how I could fit into the lineup, but I noticed they were plenty stacked without me, too; it's a good company of names to be part of, and when I realized they were in play, I was really excited."
The entire Yankees Universe was, too, and that excitement is only going to grow come Opening Day and beyond -- for them, and for Stanton.
"This is what I've always wanted and dreamed of, to be in competitive games where they matter and your performance matters to the team and to the city," Stanton said. "It's going to be a fun challenge, and I'm looking forward to it."