TAMPA, Fla. -- After leading the Major Leagues in home runs and being crowned as a Most Valuable Player, the sport's highest-paid slugger was dealt to the Yankees in the blockbuster move of the offseason, expected to put his new team over the top after an October exit.Sound familiar? Sure,
TAMPA, Fla. -- After leading the Major Leagues in home runs and being crowned as a Most Valuable Player, the sport's highest-paid slugger was dealt to the Yankees in the blockbuster move of the offseason, expected to put his new team over the top after an October exit.
Sound familiar? Sure, Alex Rodriguez and Giancarlo Stanton might have something to talk about.
Returning to his role as a special advisor, A-Rod put the pinstripes back on prior to Monday's 4-2 Grapefruit League loss to the Rays at George M. Steinbrenner Field, saying that he looks forward to spending time with the newest Bombers superstar.
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"There's always a place for helping players get adjusted to New York," Rodriguez said. "No matter which generation you're talking about, that is probably the most challenging thing I've ever had to do. Having players come from secondary or tertiary markets to the No. 1 market in the world, it's something that is very difficult."
The parallels are impossible to miss. In 2004, the Yankees acquired Rodriguez from a struggling Rangers club eager to clear his salary from their books. That move was made to replace Aaron Boone, the hero of the previous American League Championship Series, following his offseason injury.
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With Derek Jeter entrenched at shortstop, Rodriguez agreed to move to third base -- just as Stanton has taken on the challenge of playing left field this spring, permitting Aaron Judge to spend most of his defensive innings in right field.
Boone believes that Stanton, after eight losing seasons with the Marlins, has reached the point of his career where winning is the only goal.
"I think that's why he's so excited to be here, and I think that's why he's been embraced so well in that room," Boone said. "They see the work ethic and they see the unselfishness he's shown of being willing to come over here and go learn another position.
"He's willing to do anything, whatever makes the most sense from a lineup standpoint. That kind of unselfishness that we've seen in these initial days for an MVP, I think he understands where he's at and all that comes with it. He's in such a good place from a focus standpoint of it really being about winning. I believe that will carry him."
With Stanton joining Judge, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and others, Rodriguez is eager to see the Yankees' batting order up close.
"[The lineup] has an opportunity to be record-breaking and put up numbers that we have not seen in a really long time," Rodriguez said. "I can't remember seeing this type of lineup, one through nine."
Rodriguez should be a frequent presence around big league ballparks this season, including his work as an analyst for ESPN.
When Rodriguez played his final game, in August 2016, the Yankees announced that he would serve as a special advisor to managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner through the final day of 2017. Rodriguez and the Yankees renewed that relationship in February.
"I told Hal, I would love to spend the entire rest of my life as a Yankee," Rodriguez said. "I love it here. I'm grateful for what he did for me in '14, gave me an opportunity to get back into baseball. I'm just happy to be back and see so much talent. It's breathtaking."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.