The New York Yankees somehow pulled off the impossible Saturday with the trade for Miami Marlins’ slugger Giancarlo Stanton. While this news has Yankees fans doing cartwheels, Stanton’s decision had to be based on baseball and not the heart like Ken Griffey Jr. did in 2000. At the time, Griffey was the king of the diamond and his anger with losing led him to his hometown Cincinnati Reds and not a big market team where winning was a tradition. The Yankees are getting a bargain, much like the Reds did with Griffey according to the New York Times.
When Griffey hit the market, he had a league-wide list of suitors for his talents. But for Griffey, it came to matters of the heart. Instead of going to the Yankees and playing with the likes of Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Roger Clemons, and Mariano Rivera, he wanted to bring a championship home. While that 2000 Yankees team would go on to win 87 games in the regular season, they would also end the year with their third straight World Series championship. The next year they would go on to lose the World Series, but maybe the outcome would’ve been different had Griffey chose NY as one of his top four destinations instead of Cincinnati, Mets, Atlanta, and Astros.
This is where Stanton had to do some soul-searching. It was clear from his list of teams that he wanted to win. Not only that, but he had a desire to do so with a certain kind of ballclub. His list included the Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Of course, the Dodgers would be there as Los Angeles is home, but the other teams all provide youth and a winning atmosphere.
The Astors are fresh off their first World Series win while the Cubs won their first title last season. The Yankees were one game away from the World Series in 2017 and the Dodgers were right on the brink as well. Stanton had a chance to change the dynamic of a single team by waiving his NTC and many expected that team who resides in the Bronx.
While Didi Gregorius is no Jeter and Brett Gardner is no Williams, the Yankees still have one of the best power hitting lineups in MLB. Pairing Stanton with Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge will be like paring Griffey with Williams and Jorge Posada. The question is, will it end better for Stanton then it did for Griffey? Coming from the Marlins where he’s never tasted the postseason to the Yankees is an entirely different animal. Maybe Griffey didn’t want that spotlight or the added pressure to perform. The jury is still out on Stanton.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) December 11, 2017
Trading for Stanton could very well be the missing link or this could all backfire. While people will throw the word “fluke” around for Judge, the same might be said for Stanton. Truth be told, no one knows what Stanton has in store for 2018, much like MLB was clueless when Griffey decided to go to the Reds in 2000.
Catch Ken Griffey Jr. and that sweet, sweet swing in Inning 9 of Ken Burns’s “Baseball” at 9pm ET! pic.twitter.com/XtuUCGwUZD
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) December 6, 2017
With Griffey in tow, the Reds were set to get back to respectability, however, it never panned out that way due to injuries. It’s easy to say that he made the wrong decision by passing on the Yankees and maybe he would have stayed healthy if he came to NY or maybe not. While the Yankees have been known to go after the big fish in the pond, this is one of those rare occasions that they caught one at the height of his career. They didn’t get Griffey but they may have the next best thing.