No higher sports activities drama ever existed than Alex Rodriguez’s 12 seasons (over 13 years) enjoying for the Yankees, which gave us thrills, spills, suspensions, lawsuits, breakups, makeups, brawls, feuds and sufficient Page Six mentions to satiate a small nation’s yearly urge for food for gossip.
Giancarlo Stanton, the man to whom the Yankees dedicated $265 million only a few months after they wrote A-Rod his last examine of his $275 million contract (which received minimize by about $22 million because of his 2014 ban), is extremely boring in comparison with his nine-figured forefather. Yet the 31-year-old brings ample drama to his pinstriped existence, and it’s the type that imperils his group’s possibilities of success in a means that A-Rod virtually by no means did.
For Stanton, signed by 2027, the drama considerations his availability and his productiveness, or lack thereof on each fronts. It is appreciable.
The designated hitter didn’t begin Sunday evening’s sequence finale in opposition to the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, as the Yankees strived to keep away from a sweep, and his supervisor Aaron Boone made clear that Stanton nonetheless isn’t all the means again from the left quad pressure that sidelined him for 2 weeks. Of course, we might have guessed as a lot, provided that the behemoth had slashed .087/.222/.087, placing out 11 occasions in 23 at-bats, in the seven video games since his return.
“I think there’s some residual stuff,” Boone stated earlier than the recreation, “and I think there’s more of building strength and building that endurance up to play at a level he obviously needs to play at.”
We’ve seen that degree, solely in spurts. We witnessed it final fall when he went deep in every of the Yankees’ first 5 postseason video games, a complete of six homers, and we skilled it from April 23 to May 13 of this season, when he slashed an excellent .378/.432/.689 with six homers over 18 video games, crushing the ball constantly at an exit velocity (98.6 miles per hour) that no different ballplayer, actually, can match.
It’s no coincidence the Yankees pulled themselves again into relevance throughout that scalding streak, but right here’s what’s additionally telling: The group went 9-4 throughout Stanton’s time on the injured record. Hot Stanton, you very a lot need in your squad. Cold Stanton can carry out so poorly — he slashed .158/.238/.333 in 15 video games as the membership stumbled out to that 6-11 begin, besides — that you simply would possibly want Absent Stanton. He has by no means and sure by no means shall be a Machine like his teammate DJ LeMahieu was. Trading him for any significant expertise or aid looks like a fantasy.
Boone initially professed a hope that Stanton, after resting for Thursday’s sequence finale in opposition to the Rays, might play in all three video games this weekend. On Sunday, the supervisor stated, “We feel like he’s making steady progress to getting there, but don’t want to go the other way, too. With the off day tomorrow, [we’re] trying to get him there. We know how important he is to what we do and our offense.”
Asked whether or not the “get[ting] him there” referred to Stanton’s efficiency or his health, Boone replied, “I think they go hand in hand. I think getting to that place where he feels really good and strong and at his best physically translates probably into really good results as well.”
Sure. Nevertheless, in spite of everything of his work with Yankees second-year director of participant well being and efficiency Eric Cressey, Stanton couldn’t make it upright to mid-May, and after a brief stint (for him) of inactivity, Hot Stanton seems farther away than Masahiro Tanaka in Japan.
The irony is that Stanton has confirmed himself a high-quality Yankee citizen, rolling up his sleeves and serving to individuals considerably throughout the pandemic and serving as a powerful, revered voice for social justice. No divorces, no slap performs, no controversies of any type moreover that of the low return on the Yankees’ funding.
A-Rod after all gave the Yankees two American League Most Valuable Player awards, a championship and numerous milestones in return for his theatrics. Reality being what it is, the Yankees most likely would settle for that trade-off over the Stanton conundrum, which retains trending in an undesired route for each the participant and his employer.