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Giants knew challenge of wooing Stanton

Slugger felt LCS teams were closer to winning it all than San Francisco
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Giancarlo Stanton followed his heart as well as his mind in respectfully deciding the Giants weren't the ballclub for him.

Stanton, the National League's reigning Most Valuable Player who was officially introduced as a New York Yankee as baseball's Winter Meetings began Monday, prompted legitimate trade proposals from the Giants and Cardinals.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Giancarlo Stanton followed his heart as well as his mind in respectfully deciding the Giants weren't the ballclub for him.

Stanton, the National League's reigning Most Valuable Player who was officially introduced as a New York Yankee as baseball's Winter Meetings began Monday, prompted legitimate trade proposals from the Giants and Cardinals.

Both teams hoped to pry Stanton from the cost-conscious Miami Marlins, who wanted to rid themselves of the $295 million they owed Stanton over the next 10 years. Stanton and his agent, Joel Wolfe, met with Giants officials in Los Angeles on Nov. 30.

But Stanton, who has a no-trade clause in his contract that gave him veto power over any deal, didn't name the Giants on his initial offseason list of clubs that he would accept joining in a trade. That list, Wolfe said, consisted of the four League Championship Series contestants -- the Dodgers, Cubs, Astros and Yankees.

After pondering the state of the Giants, including their last-place NL West finish that accompanied a 64-98 record, Stanton wasn't overly impressed. According to Wolfe, Stanton's analysis included an examination of most of the Giants' Minor League affiliates.

"I felt like I would have been putting them over the hump rather than jumping into a team already prepared to be there," Stanton said, referring to the Giants.

Video: Stanton on why he decided to join the Yankees

Stanton, who grew up rooting for the Dodgers while growing up in Southern California, acknowledged their rivalry with the Giants influenced his outlook "a little bit."

Said Stanton, "I wouldn't base the decision off that, but also I wouldn't want to go to the team that they dislike the most and wasn't sure if [the Giants] were going to beat that team, either."

Giants general manager Bobby Evans comprehended Stanton's mindset.

"It's reality," Evans said. "We understand the challenges. Ninety-eight losses is 98 losses."

Brian Sabean, the Giants' vice president of baseball operations, noted that Stanton should have been at least mildly acquainted with San Francisco's successes.

"We weren't overly put back by his scratching his head why we lost 98 games," Sabean said. "He did come to the big leagues in 2010 and watched us win World Series in '10, '12 and '14. So he knows how we do business."

So why did Stanton bother meeting with the Giants?

"I wanted to learn what another organization was like," said Stanton, whose migration to the Yankees ended a career-long affiliation with the Marlins.

Wolfe said Stanton's drive to win "really turned the corner" after he joined Team USA in this year's World Baseball Classic with a pair of Giants, shortstop Brandon Crawford and catcher Buster Posey.

Crawford and Posey, Wolfe said, "would sit around and joke, 'Oh, we win World Series in even-numbered years.' [Stanton] wanted to have that arrogance, to be able to talk about winning like that."

In this matter, the last word belonged to Stanton. And it wasn't the word the Giants wanted to hear.

"Bobby Evans told me, 'All we're trying to do here is do whatever we can to get to yes,'" Wolfe said.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants, Giancarlo Stanton