LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- So if Giancarlo Stanton has a teensy chip on his shoulder, that's a good thing for the New York Yankees. Can you imagine what he'll do with additional motivation? Fifty-nine home runs again? Sixty? Seventy? Dare we consider the possibility?
That's the silver lining from the mini-drama that unfolded Monday after the Yankees and Marlins formalized a trade sending the 2017 National League Most Valuable Player Award winner to New York for second baseman Starlin Castro and two Minor Leaguers.
Stanton appeared to be the happiest man on the planet as he pulled a Yankees cap onto his head for the first time and slipped into a No. 27 jersey with the famous pinstripes. He's 28 years old and coming off a spectacular offensive season -- 59 home runs, 32 doubles, 123 RBIs, 85 walks, a 1.007 OPS. Now after eight seasons in South Florida, Stanton turns a professional page.
"Just want to say I'm glad to be here and part of the New York Yankees," Stanton said. "This has been quite the experience, quite the road to get here."
Now about the other stuff. Stanton was less than thrilled about how the trade played out, particularly his belief that new Marlins CEO Derek Jeter -- who has a bit of history with the Yanks -- was out of line in attempting to persuade him to accept a trade to the Giants or Cardinals.
"I mean, it was said, so it was definitely a thought I had to be ready to deal with," Stanton said. "But I was, like I said, 'I'm not going to be forced to do that.'"
Stanton said the matter was simple. He had veto power over any deal and gave the Marlins a list of four teams to which he would consider a trade: the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs and Astros.
Stanton confirmed that Miami worked out trades with San Francisco and St. Louis anyway and then told him he might spend the rest of his career with the Marlins if he didn't agree to play for one of those teams.
Stanton said he had nothing against the Giants and Cards -- their fans might see it differently -- but the Yanks were at the top of his list. And this was going to be his call.
"You're not going to force me to do anything, regardless of what the situation is," Stanton said.
Meanwhile, Jeter said he had no regrets about how things played out.
• Jeter, Hill talk Stanton trade, moving forward
"There isn't anything I would have done differently," Jeter said. "There's been constant communication between [Marlins president of baseball operations] Michael Hill and Giancarlo, Michael Hill and Giancarlo's agent throughout this process.
"Prior to us acquiring the organization [on Oct. 2], we had heard Giancarlo had said he would not be part of a rebuild. Those sentiments were relayed to us after we took over the organization. One thing that I understand is you don't want to have someone that does not want to be with your organization."
Here's the bottom line in all of this: No one is at fault. And there is no perfect way to finalize a divorce between a team and an iconic star.
In the end, the trade might be good for everyone. Miami moves its reconstruction along, while New York has someone to put alongside right fielder Aaron Judge in what is now the most feared lineup in baseball.
The Yankees, without Stanton, led the Majors with 241 home runs and were second with 858 runs. Add to that mix -- a lineup with, not just Judge, but also Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, etc. -- there Stanton's 6-foot-6 presence.
If the Marlins preferred the deals offered by the Giants and Cardinals, they were well within their rights to ask Stanton to consider those teams. They may have been pushing things a tad if they really did threaten to let him ride out another reconstruction in South Florida.
In the end, it did not matter. Miami needed to get out from under as much of Stanton's $295 million contract as it could. Reports indicate New York will pay all but $30 million of the deal.
Stanton may have guessed right that the Marlins eventually were going to trade him somewhere, and if that was the case, why not insist it be one of those four teams? He said the Yanks had been his first choice all along, and that after having never played a postseason game, he looks forward to being part of a team that missed the World Series by one game in 2017.
Stanton said it's no problem that he and Judge are both right fielders. He will play wherever he's asked to play. He just wants to be on a competitive team.
"That's what I've always dreamed of," Stanton said. "You always want to be in competitive games that mean something, and your performance means something to the team and the city. It's going to be a fun challenge, and I'm looking forward to it."