TAMPA, Fla. -- Asked for the biggest takeaway of his first season in Yankees pinstripes, Giancarlo Stanton offered a not-so-veiled swipe at his former employer, noting how his new expectation is to keep the Yankee Stadium lights burning throughout the month of October."It's more just playing games that matter; games
TAMPA, Fla. -- Asked for the biggest takeaway of his first season in Yankees pinstripes, Giancarlo Stanton offered a not-so-veiled swipe at his former employer, noting how his new expectation is to keep the Yankee Stadium lights burning throughout the month of October.
"It's more just playing games that matter; games when you're in it past May 7, which I'd never done," Stanton said. "That's the biggest difference.
"Every single game, win or loss, is huge -- for a season."
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As his Marlins tenure fades into the rear-view mirror, the 29-year-old said that he has grown more comfortable in terms of knowing the landscape and preparing to face the opposing hurlers in the American League East. Manager Aaron Boone expects that to pay huge dividends this season.
"One thing with Giancarlo that we noticed, when he sees a pitcher, he's one of those guys that really benefits from that," Boone said. "He gets a pretty significant spike across the board as he starts to see guys, more so than your normal person."
Stanton batted .266/.343/.509 with 102 runs scored, 38 home runs and 100 RBIs in his first season with the Yankees, numbers that he believes could have improved had he not been playing through a tight left hamstring for a sizable portion of the campaign.
"That wasn't the best for me, my hamstring," said Stanton, who added that the leg felt healthy by season's end. "But I wasn't worried about that. If I could go out and produce or help us the slightest bit, I was going to be out there. But it was quite the factor."
With Didi Gregorius, Aaron Judge and Gary Sánchez all out of commission for extended stretches of the summer, Stanton told Boone that he felt a responsibility to keep playing, insisting that he remain in the lineup.
"That's one of those things we loved about him last year, his ability to post when he wasn't perfect, knowing, 'Hey, we're a little bit beat up right now, but I'm good enough to go,'" Boone said. "I still thought he ran the bases well. He just was very much under control and was able to kind of play through it."
Stanton served as the Yankees' designated hitter 86 times in 2018, playing 36 games in left field and 37 in right field. Thanks in part to a crowded outfield that will feature Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks and Judge, a similar breakdown is probable for 2019.
"I really told Boonie, whatever he needs," Stanton said. "If I've got to be out there for five days a week in a row, I'll DH five days a week in a row. It'll be similar. He's always good at letting me know the next couple of days' plan. As long as I have that, I can prepare and be ready for whatever they need."
There had been talk entering the offseason that Bryce Harper and Manny Machado could challenge the landmark 13-year, $325 million contract that Stanton signed with the Marlins in November 2014. On Tuesday, Machado agreed to a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres, according to sources. The agreement will be the biggest free-agent contract in the history of American sports.
Before Machado agreed, Stanton said that he was surprised to see both players remaining on the free-agent market.
"It's nothing like what I've seen since I've played, an offseason like this," Stanton said. "I think there's some issues there that need to be addressed. In terms of the contract, if they break it, cool. I'll be happy for them. Hopefully they can get signed [soon]. I don't know what the deal is."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.