Stanton: Joining Yanks 'a great new chapter'

Yankees introduce slugger at Winter Meetings

December 11th, 2017

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- pinched at the shoulders of a pinstriped jersey with his No. 27 stitched on the back, holding it up for public consumption while a broad grin spread across his face. It might soon constitute a nightmare for American League pitchers, but this was the outcome the slugger had dreamed of, being introduced as the newest member of the Yankees' imposing lineup.

Stanton tried on his new uniform top for the first time on Monday afternoon as the Yankees interrupted the relative quiet of the Winter Meetings' first day to show off their prized acquisition. Flanked by managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone, Stanton is the first reigning Most Valuable Player Award winner to be traded since Alex Rodriguez landed in New York prior to the 2004 season.

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"I'm glad to be here and part of the New York Yankees. It's going to be a great new chapter in my life and my career," Stanton said. "I think it's going to be a fun new dynamic, but at the same time, it's baseball. So I understand there will be some ups and downs, and I'll have to deal with that on a bigger scale. But it's the same game I played down in Miami -- just a bigger scale, brighter lights."

Three months removed from a season in which he led the Majors in home runs (59), RBIs (132) and slugging percentage (.631), the 28-year-old Stanton was acquired from the Marlins with cash considerations in exchange for second baseman and a pair of Minor League prospects: right-handed pitcher Jorge Guzman and infielder Jose Devers.

Stanton's Winter Meetings news conference

Though a big-swinging outfielder hadn't been on the shopping list, Cashman said that he touched base with Miami during the General Managers Meetings. Those talks picked up steam after Shohei Ohtani eliminated the Yankees from competition for his services, but Cashman had doubts that the Yanks could land Stanton when the Cardinals and Giants worked out separate trade agreements with the Marlins.

"Maybe Wednesday of last week, I thought it was not going to happen," Cashman said. "They had already cut deals, which is very public, with two other franchises. But nothing had been consummated in terms of approval."

Stanton said that he was told that if he did not approve the trade, he would remain a Marlin for life, a statement that frayed what had become a testy relationship with the organization that drafted him in 2007. He declined to waive his no-trade clause for both St. Louis and San Francisco, effectively calling the Marlins' bluff.

"You can't say that and expect me to jump at what's there if that's not the right situation for me," Stanton said.

Apprised of the developments, Steinbrenner authorized the trade, in which the Yankees will assume $265 million of the $295 million remaining on Stanton's contract over the next 10 seasons.

"I've always said New York's a marquee town, and I think it's important to have some marquee players," Steinbrenner said. "But more important than that, I think it's important to have veteran players that could be mentors for the young kids. We've got a lot of young kids, and they all have things to learn, even at this level."

Despite Stanton's massive salary, which will count for about $22 million toward the Yankees' upcoming luxury tax bill, Steinbrenner said that there is still a path for the Yanks to reset their penalty rate by fielding a payroll below $197 million.

"I always said that is absolutely my goal, but again, my main goal is to field a championship-caliber team -- which I do believe we have," Steinbrenner said.

For Stanton, the chief concern was having the opportunity to play for a winning club, leaving the 77-win Marlins as they prepare to enter a rebuilding phase. Stanton told Miami that he would approve trades to only the Astros, Cubs, Dodgers and Yankees.

"They're winners," Stanton said. "They're young and they're in a good position to win for a long time, and I lost for a long time. So I want to change that dynamic and be a winner."

Though Stanton's contract permits him to opt out following the 2020 season, agent Joel Wolfe said his client intends to stay in New York through the entire deal, which expires after the '28 season.

"He wants to be sure, because this is probably it," Wolfe said. "He has no desire to opt out. We fought for that. It was meant to be a shield, not a sword. We're not planning to use it just to get more money. That's been taken care of. It's an escape clause in the event it's not working out."

Cashman said that as talks progressed, he called AL Rookie of the Year Award winner and AL MVP Award runner-up to explain what was happening and to lay out one potential way a rotation could work, with Judge and Stanton both seeing time in right field and at designated hitter.

"He said, 'Hey, I'm pumped. This is exciting. If could you pull that off that would be amazing,'" Cashman said. "I didn't talk about who we would be giving up, so he didn't know that aspect. But I did want to reach out to him and get a feel from his perspective, and I was excited even more so by his response."

With Stanton and Judge (52 homers in 2017), the Yankees will be just the second team ever to have two players who hit 50 or more homers the previous season, a feat accomplished after Roger Maris (61) and Mickey Mantle (54) enjoyed a memorable summer of 1961 in the heart of the Yanks' lineup.

"He obviously brings a whole new dimension," Steinbrenner said. "He's a league MVP and a really good guy, and it's going to be exciting. He's going to produce some runs for us, and seeing him and Judge and Sanchez and [Greg] Bird and Didi [Gregorius], it's going to be exciting for our fans. They're excited."