TAMPA, Florida (CBSNewYork) — In perhaps a sign of how hungry he is to finally play for a winner, Giancarlo Stanton arrived to Yankees spring training two days early Friday.
The Herculean slugger spent the last eight seasons with the Marlins but never tasted the postseason. Now he joins a Yankees team that is pretty much hollering World Series or bust.
“That’s why we’re here,” Stanton told reporters. “That’s why we work. That’s what the offseason is about. From where (the Yankees) got last year, so close. … We’ve had new additions, me included, so that’s definitely the goal.”
In what was initially thought to be a rebuilding year, the Yankees fell one win short of the Fall Classic last season. Had they mostly stood pat in the offseason, they still would have likely been considered World Series contenders. But instead, they went and traded for Stanton, a superstar who led the majors with 59 homers won the National League MVP in 2017.
“It’s a fresh start, a new learning experience,” Stanton said. “I’ve got all new teammates, all new opponents really. It’s going to be fun.
“I’m going to do the best that I can and be the best version of me. That’s grilled to mesh with the focus of this team.”
A four-time All-Star and two-time home run champ, there’s not a whole lot for Stanton to prove individually. He says he’s more focused on just doing his part on a winning organization.
“I’ve never been able to experience that at this level,” he said. “This is the level I’ve worked towards my whole life, and I’ve never been able to experience that, so I’m real excited for that aspect.”
Of course, Stanton and Aaron Judge, last year’s AL home run champ and Rookie of the Year, will pack a lot of ballparks for games as well as batting practices. Stanton said he’s excited to work with the young, also behemoth power hitter, which starts with comparing notes.
“We’re pretty much identical in terms of how people pitch us, what it’s like when we step in the box,” Stanton said. “So that knowledge for both of us is going to be huge. He’s younger to the (American) League. … He’s been here (with the Yankees), he knows how things work here, and (he knows) the pitchers that we’re going to face, so it’s going to be a good learning curve for the both of us.”