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Stanton praises St. Louis' 'winning-first culture'

Slugger explains reason for agreeing to trade to Yankees
MLB.com @LangoschMLB

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After monopolizing Hot Stove headlines for weeks, Giancarlo Stanton commanded one last wave of winter attention on Monday as he slipped on a pinstripe jersey while being officially introduced as a Yankee on the first day of Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings.

The image created one final sting for the Cardinals, who, until three days ago, were holding out hope that a similar scene would play out under the shadow of the Gateway Arch. But Monday's press conference offered some answers and insight, particularly as it applied to Stanton's decision to decline trades that would have sent him to the Cardinals or Giants.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After monopolizing Hot Stove headlines for weeks, Giancarlo Stanton commanded one last wave of winter attention on Monday as he slipped on a pinstripe jersey while being officially introduced as a Yankee on the first day of Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings.

The image created one final sting for the Cardinals, who, until three days ago, were holding out hope that a similar scene would play out under the shadow of the Gateway Arch. But Monday's press conference offered some answers and insight, particularly as it applied to Stanton's decision to decline trades that would have sent him to the Cardinals or Giants.

Most notably, Stanton revealed that the Marlins engaged both teams in trade talks despite knowing all along that they were not one of his preferred destinations.

Stanton confirmed that he met with Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter early in the offseason to discuss his future with the organization. He first tried to persuade Jeter to add pieces to Miami's big league team. Once it was clear that new Marlins ownership had different plans, Stanton provided Miami with a list of clubs for which he would waive his no-trade clause. Neither the Cardinals nor Giants were on it.

The Marlins spoke extensively to both organizations anyway, and they went deep enough into the process that they had the framework for trades in place with both clubs. At that point, Stanton agreed to meet with members from both clubs.

"I really just wanted to learn what another organization is like," Stanton said. "All I've experienced is the Marlins and basically one way of going about things. So I wanted to see how other organizations went about their business and how the city and everything would appeal to me if that were a way I wanted to go."

Video: Morosi discusses Cardinals moving on from Stanton

Stanton's meeting with the Cardinals was held on Dec. 1, with Cards chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., president of baseball operations John Mozeliak and general manager Michael Girsch in attendance. Though the Cardinals arrived in Los Angeles knowing that Stanton was still not ready to waive his no-trade clause, they welcomed the chance to try sell him on the city and its proud franchise.

Hot Stove Tracker

"I don't think we had the sense that it was a non-starter," Mozeliak said on Monday. "I think we went out there with optimism. We thought what we were selling or trying to explain to him was an exciting place to play. Even leading up to it, you would hear player comments on playing in St. Louis, so it wasn't as if we were making this up. We still feel like it's a desirable place to be, and unfortunately, it wasn't a place he wanted.

"I think in hindsight we were under the impression that it was still something where he would give us real consideration. I definitely felt like after that meeting that it was sincere. But perhaps it was just not meant to be and maybe it was never meant to be."

Stanton praised St. Louis' pitch -- "It's a winning-first culture… a great organization," he said on Monday -- but that didn't change his mind. Pressed further about why the Cardinals lacked appeal, Stanton said the he felt other clubs were positioned to win sooner.

That was further validated by the fact that the four clubs Stanton told the Marlins he would consider (the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs and Astros) were also the last four teams playing in October.

"Historically, we've been a part of that group," Mozeliak said. "But for two years we haven't made the postseason, and perhaps that's how he views it."

A week after their face-to-face meeting, the Cardinals received final word that Stanton would not accept a trade to St. Louis. The National League's reigning Most Valuable Player Award winner declined the Giants' offer on the same day. Within 24 hours, a deal was in place to send Stanton to the Yankees.

"I was open to listening to [the Cardinals and Giants], but those were not my teams," Stanton said. "Those are great people. They were great meetings [with] great organizations and culture there. But that just wasn't the fit for me."

Though disappointed by the slugger's decision, Mozeliak said he did not regret the pursuit.

"I think you're frustrated that you didn't get it done, but I think the effort and the energy was well worth it," Mozeliak said. "I think it shows that ownership is willing, for the right player, to show that kind of commitment. In a lot of ways, I take a lot of pride that we were able to get that far. But in the end, we didn't get it done, so nobody is patting me on the back for it."

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

St. Louis Cardinals, Giancarlo Stanton