Alex Rodriguez was especially busy on Monday, March 23rd, hosting a baseball clinic on Instagram and then appearing on Facebook in a Fox at Home segment with Kevin Burkhardt and Frank Thomas talking baseball.
One of the players A-Rod talked about was Giancarlo Stanton, who, as the $325 million dollar player, should perform at an MVP level, with the reality being that he has been hampered by injuries from reaching that goal.
If you look beyond the dollars, beyond fan expectations, what has Stanton done for the Yankees? What has he done for us lately?
Unfortunately, injuries scuttled the 2019 season for Stanton; he suffered a biceps strain and no sooner had he returned from that, but he incurred a right knee sprain that sidelined him for most of the middle of the season. He played in only 18 games.
But in 2018, he played in 158 games, with 38 homers, 100 RBIs, .266/.343/.509 slash line with an .852 OPS and 130 OPS+. While these are certainly respectable numbers, they don’t come close to his 2017 MVP year.
In ’17 while with the Miami Marlins, Stanton had the kind of year a player can only dream of without winning the World Series. His slash line was .281/.376/.631 with a 1.007 OPS and 169 OPS+. He had 132 RBI, and 59 homers. He won not only the MVP, but also the Silver Slugger award.
In 2020 Stanton came to camp apparently healthy – we have all seen the pictures of him bench pressing Adriana Lima – but he strained his right calf during fielding practice and was doubtful for opening day.
Because of his contract and the size of the fans’ expectations, Stanton has been a polarizing. He has ardent supporters, such as Alex Rodriguez, who said yesterday on Fox at Home live on Facebook that “it’s really up to Stanton” to carry the Yankees on his shoulders in the absence of Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino.
Stanton’s detractors, for the most part, believe the Yankees didn’t need Stanton or his enormous contract, in the first place, and, in the second place, he didn’t come close to his MVP performance with the Yankees. Then came the injuries, which have only further disappointed fans, who are especially vocal on social media.
Yankee manager Aaron Boone, gave an update on Stanton’s health which was reported by Brian Hoch of MLB.com:
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) March 23, 2020
A fully healthy Stanton would certainly improve the lineup, particularly with the stoppage of baseball giving Judge the opportunity to heal by the time baseball returns. The question remains, could Stanton, as A-Rod suggests, carry the Yankees on his shoulders to a World Series?
A healthy Stanton, capable of staying in the game over a season, however shortened, would be welcome to any Yankee fan. Stanton should be a significant contributor to any World Series run the Yankees make, after all that’s what the Yankees were counting on when they acquired him. Could he carry the team? He could be a team leader in many ways, but I don’t believe he could carry the team, but I am willing to be proven wrong.