Just when Orioles fans may have been breathing a sigh of relief that two-way player Shohei Ohtani was not going to become a Yankee, yesterday’s news came.
National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton is going to be a Yankee. He joins a lineup that already featured Aaron Judge and a lineup that helped the Yankees produce a major league-leading 241 homers last year.
I guess it was fun while it lasted, but New York and Boston are back on top of the American League East and don’t look ready to relinquish those perches anytime soon.
But from 2008 to 2015 - an eight-year run - New York and Boston won only four of eight American League East division titles. Four of eight is still a good amount, but there was a time they won every year it seemed. But during that time, Tampa Bay won twice while Baltimore and Toronto each won the division championship once.
But now the Blue Jays, Rays and Orioles must feel like they’ve gone back in a time machine. The Yankees got Stanton, which probably means the Red Sox are now going to counter with getting a big hitter of its own. And on it goes. The rich get richer in talent, and they already have deep pockets, strong management and solid farm systems. But other than that ...
Even when you go beyond the division right now, the Orioles see teams like the Indians and Astros that look to have passed them by. The Angels got Ohtani. The Orioles have their work cut out for them both inside and outside of the division.
I guess O’s fans could hope that the addition of Stanton creates Yankees payroll problems in the future or that Stanton has injury issues as he has in the past. He played just 193 combined games over the 2015-16 seasons, hitting a total of 54 homers.
But then he won the league MVP in 2017, batting .281/.376/.631 with 59 homers, 132 RBIs and a 1.007 OPS. His OPS has been above .950 in three of the past four seasons.
Will yesterday’s news have an impact in the Warehouse? Does it make the Orioles more likely to re-sign Manny Machado? On the other hand, it could make them more likely to look at rebuilding and trade off some players before their contracts are up at the end of 2018.
In the American League East, the rich usually do get richer and the rest have to cope with that. For a while, Boston and New York were not dominant. But that is not the case anymore.