Giancarlo Stanton is a New York Yankee. Wonderful. But what now? Turns out, Brian Cashman has more heavy lifting to do.
Brian Cashman pulled the trigger and Giancarlo Stanton will be wearing the pinstripes in 2018 and beyond. I get that, and I look forward to all that will come when he steps into the on-deck circle as Aaron Judge is taking his practice swings just outside the batter’s box, with Gary Sanchez selecting his bat in the New York Yankees’ dugout.
But I thought, or at least I was led to believe, we had a Dream Team in the Bronx before this. The Dream Team was here and poised to make a mark on baseball that would remind many of, and perhaps even surpass, the run we experienced with Derek Jeter, Joe Torre and company in the late 1990s.
To me, it’s like peeking on Christmas Eve when Mom and Dad are asleep after having set everything up for the next morning when presents would be opened. Except I’ve already seen the bike in the corner and now I have to feign my surprise.
Just three days ago, Brian Cashman spoke to the YES Network about the upcoming Winter Meetings in Florida. His comments are filled with irony, especially when he talks about the development of his Baby Bombers. Give a listen; you’ll get the gist quickly.
But that’s only the tip of the problem facing the Yankees, and more particularly the five-year, $25 million man, Brian Cashman. All of a sudden, Cashman has more heavy lifting to do, despite the fact that prior to Stanton’s acquisition, he stated most of it had been done.
And most of it has to do with Hal Steinbrenner’s edict from the top that the Yankees would get under the $197 million luxury tax threshold before Opening Day 2018.
A worthy goal, especially when you consider it won’t be long before the Yankees are dealing with arbitration cases involving budding stars like Sanchez, Judge, Luis Severino, plus one currently with Didi Gregorius and the opportunity to lock him up with a long-term deal. At the same time, they’ll be on the books owing Stanton an annual salary averaging more than $28 million.
But if you are Cashman, it’s likely the first thought coming to mind is, “Holy crap, I did it! Stanton is now mine!” The next, more sobering thought is likely to be, “Damn, what am I supposed to do with Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, and Chase Headley, with their luxury tax-busting salaries for this year?”
In all likelihood, Stanton realized or was told that he would be moving to left field. This reminds of the distraction that occurred when Alex Rodriguez came on board from Texas, and he was forced to move to third base due to a certain All-Star at shortstop.
After that brouhaha, the relationship between the two superstars never reached the stage of becoming warm, despite all the nice things said about each other. Even as recently as May 2017, Tim Daniels of Bleacher Report quoted Jeter as “beside himself with anger” when he arrived for an interview and Rodriguez was sitting in a chair next to his reserved one.
Fortunately, Judge and Stanton appear to be at this point point (yet).
Still, it’s accurate to say that when February arrives and the Yankees report to spring training, the whole focus of the team will have changed, with the media erupting about the A-G Boys (somebody’s got to come up with a nickname). One of them, I guarantee, will be titled, “Which of the A-G Boys will be the first to hit a ball out of Yankee Stadium?” As if that matters. But just in case, expect to see a ton of videos produced like this one…
Yes, those kinds of stories. And not stories about the arrival of Gleyber Torres in a Yankees uniform – for good. Plus stories about the development of Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery as mainstays in the Yankees rotation for the next decade. Or the battle between Tyler Austin and Clint Frazier for that fifth spot in the outfield. Or, more stories on the Yankees perennial whipping boy, Jacoby Ellsbury.
There’s a myriad of layers to the Stanton story. They all have a trickle-down and long-lasting effect on the team. Brian Cashman blindsided many with this one.
And more than anything, I believe King Cashman and his bursting ego was crushed when Shohei Ohtani shunned the Yankees. Because I’m afraid the Stanton thing looks more and more like an “I’ll show them” moment of misjudgment by Cashman.
Well, you’re standing alone in the spotlight now, Brian. Forget the risk you took when you hired Aaron Boone. That’s kindergarten compared to this one. The good news is you have the next ten years to figure it out. The bad news, though, is Hal only gave you five and Yankees fans are giving you zero.