LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The Yankees, who a year ago were thought of as a rebuilding club, officially introduced Giancarlo Stanton, the National League MVP in 2017, as a member of their team.
“This is a great new chapter in my life,’’ Stanton said at a press conference Monday as baseball’s Winter Meetings opened in the Magic Kingdom.
Stanton, who led the majors with 59 home runs for the Marlins, also led with 132 RBIs and a .631 slugging percentage. His 1.007 OPS ranked fourth by the Angels’ Mike Trout (1.071), the Yankees’ Aaron Judge (1.049) and the Reds’ Joey Votto (1.032).
Stanton is a four-time All-Star and joins Judge, the American League’s Rookie of the Year, in the Yankees lineup. Judge led the AL with 52 home runs. Both are right fielders, but Stanton isn’t going to worry about his position.
Stanton said he’ll do whatever the Yankees need. Stanton and Judge met each other for the first time at the All-Star home run derby.
Stanton had a full no-trade clause in his contract, and so he held all the chips in determining where he would go in a trade - if one were completed. The Marlins had deals worked out with the Giants and Cardinals, but Stanton declined each of those teams and then told the Marlins he would go only to the Yankees, Cubs, Astros or Dodgers.
Stanton and Derek Jeter, the former Yankees shortstop now an owner of the Marlins, had different ideas of the team’s direction.
Stanton told Jeter in a meeting that the team was ready to contend if the Marlins added to their pitching staff. Jeter wanted to rebuild.
“I thought our lineup was legit,’’ Stanton said. “We needed help with the pitching. I didn’t want to be part of a rebuild.’‘
The Marlins had no direction and Stanton said he was tired of playing for a non-contending team: “There’s no structure, no stamp on how things are going to be. You’ve seen what goes on down there.’‘
He said the Yankees are a “young, dynamic group” and “will strike from everywhere,’’ Stanton said.
This was the second time a player has been traded in the offseason after winning an MVP award. The Yankees acquired Alex Rodriguez from Texas after he won the AL MVP award in 2003.
The Yankees will pay $265 million of the $295 million left on Stanton’s 10-year contract.
HALL CALL FOR TWO TIGERS: After trading pitcher Justin Verlander last season, the Tigers’ hope for 2018 isn’t good, especially since the team is in the process of rebuilding the roster.
But with former Tigers Jack Morris and Alan Trammell being elected into the Hall of Fame by the Modern Era committee, there will be some reasons to celebrate next summer.
Morris, a pitcher, and Trammell, a shortstop, signed with the Tigers in 1976. They played together with the Tigers and in 1984, the team started 35-5 en route to a World Series win against the Padres.
A year before that, the Morris, Trammell and the Tigers had 92 wins, but finished second to the 98-win Orioles in what was the original AL East.
“The Orioles were a great team, but we thought we could beat them,’’ Morris said. “But we didn’t.’‘
Morris and Trammell each spent 15 years on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot and neither got in.
The Modern Era committee of 16 that included Hall of Famers Bobby Cox, Dave Winfield, Rod Carew, George Brett and Robin Yount voted them into the Hall. Cox was the manager of the Braves in 1991, the team that lost to Morris when he pitched the Twins to a 1-0 10-inning win in Game 7 of the World Series in Minnesota’s Metrodome.
Morris was in his hotel room at the Winter Meetings when he got the news late Sunday afternoon from the Hall of Fame’s Jane Forbes Clark on his cell phone. Morris was so sure he wasn’t getting in that he began thinking about what he would say about the rejection.
“I was starting to think that I would have to learn to live with the idea that I came close to getting into the Hall,’’ Morris said.
When the call finally came, Morris said, “I needed time for myself. Good or bad, I needed time to breathe.’‘
The first call went to his wife. Then he called his dad.
“My dad is 93 and he said, ‘It’s about time they get it right,’ ‘’ Morris said. “Calling my family was the most emotional part. I was a wreck.’‘
Trammell, who works for the Tigers as advisor in the front office, was waiting to get off an airplane that had just landed in Orlando after a flight from San Diego when Clark called with the news.
“My flight landed at approximately 5:50,’’ Trammell said. “I was deplaning, trying to get off the plane when I got the call from Jane. That is a true story.
“There were numerous kids. I wanted to be emotional and jump and down and do something, but I think it was a little bit out of place to do that. So I had to kind of keep it in check a little bit. Say, really? Unbelievable.
“And then it took a while to get off the plane.’‘