Big fish, meet big city.
Giancarlo Stanton was the big fish in a small Miami pond when new bigwigs took over the Marlins and wanted to move his big contract to another franchise. But who would have thought that franchise would be the Yankees?
With the Stanton trade saga mercifully coming to a reported end, it leaves the reigning NL MVP in rare company, as he’ll become one of the few reigning MVPs to be traded following the year in which he won the award.
But before Stanton trades his Miami teal (and orange and silver and white) for Yankee pinstripes, there’s a few questions and scenarios to play out.
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What could be
Only one team in MLB history has had a pair of 50-plus home run hitters, and that was the fabled 1961 Yankees. Obviously, Stanton flirted with that prestigious 61-homer milestone in 2017, only to come up two dingers short.
In New York, Aaron Judge had a rookie season for the ages, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award — and SN’s AL Rookie of the Year award — in a season which saw him bash 52 home runs and a bunch of other numbers you already know about.
The fact that the Yankees were a 91-win team last year and are adding more firepower to their lineup?
One hundred home runs? Two hundred home runs? All the home runs? Two words: Bombs away.
Optimism says this team is ready to take the next step and seriously contend for a World Series appearance in 2018. It’s a team with minimal holes, lots of depth, and lots of ready-to-play kids: Gleyber Torres leads the charge, while infielder Tyler Wade and outfielder Clint Frazier could vie for playing time. It’s arguably the most complete team in the American League.
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What should be
Here’s where it gets tricky. It’s hard to envision the Yankee lineup being any better than it was in 2017. They were top three in the AL in most major offensive categories. They won’t be losing a lot when it comes to position players, either, considering Starlin Castro is reportedly the only major leaguer heading back to Miami.
As it stands, here’s what the Yankee lineup in 2018 should be:
- Brett Gardner, LF
- Aaron Judge, RF
- Giancarlo Stanton, DH
- Greg Bird, 1B
- Gary Sanchez, C
- Chase Headley, 3B
- Didi Gregorius, SS
- Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
- Gleyber Torres, 2B
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That’s a scary lineup that can be adjusted any number of ways by new Yankees manager Aaron Boone. It will also benefit the oft-injured Stanton to play DH more often than not, to really keep him fresh. You should see a healthy rotation of outfielders (Judge, Stanton, Gardner) between corner outfield spots and DH to give everyone rest and days off.
Then, there’s the rotation:
- Luis Severino, RHP
- Masahiro Tanaka, RHP
- Sonny Gray, RHP
- CC Sabathia, LHP (?)
- Jordan Montgomery, LHP (?)
The rotation still has some question marks. And you could go with the conclusion that CC Sabathia will re-sign with the team and the fifth spot could be a rotating door of young starters, unless someone grabs hold of the job in spring training 2018.
Not to mention, Stanton’s power may be even more potent in the confines of Yankee Stadium.
#Yankees Giancarlo Stanton 2017 adjusted to Yankee Stadium per @baseball_ref conversions:
134 runs scored
62 home runs
143 runs batted in
— Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) December 9, 2017
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You have reached the cold water proceedings on this column.
— The Yankees hired Aaron Boone to steer the ship in 2018. They’re likely good enough to win in spite of who their manager will be (because managing in baseball is a bit overstated in today’s game anyway), but we’ve seen how bad managing can cost teams games, despite how good a roster can be.
— Judge is coming off a historic season, but who knows what he could be in 2018? We saw a lot of good: The home runs, the No. 2 finish in the MVP voting, the spectacular finish to the season. But we also saw the bad: The strikeouts, the epic slump following the All-Star break. He also underwent shoulder surgery, albeit minor, during the offseason.
It’s unfair to expect the 25-year-old to replicate the success he had in 2017 to the upcoming season.
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— Greg Bird hasn’t been able to stay on the field for the Yankees, which is an unfortunate trait that marred Stanton’s tenure with the Marlins. Bird has missed most of the last two seasons with injuries, while Stanton has played in over 120 games in four seasons of his eight-year career.
— With veteran starter CC Sabathia still on the free agent market, the Yankees still have some question marks in the back end of the rotation. The Yankees could stick with up-and-down rookie Jordan Montgomery in one of the two spots, but who else? Chance Adams at Triple-A? Re-signing Sabathia? Some questions still remain.
— It’s a righty dominant lineup that — oh man, I’m reaching, aren’t I? Let’s be real: On paper, this is Murderers’ Row 2.0. This is the return of the Evil Empire, the Bronx Bombers, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria.
Get your popcorn ready.