In the echelons of Major League Baseball, exceeding a .500 season is often a mark of success. However, this standard scarcely applies to the storied New York Yankees, where such a performance is seen not as a triumph but a disappointment.
This was the stark reality in 2023, as the Yankees concluded with an 82-80 record, their poorest showing in nearly three decades, and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2016. This is a stark contrast to the celebrated history of the Bronx Bombers.
Stanton's Underwhelming Tenure
Central to the Yankees' struggles was the underwhelming performance of Giancarlo Stanton. Acquired from the Miami Marlins after his 2017 NL MVP season, Stanton arrived in New York amidst high expectations.
His 2017 highlight? Playing 159 games, signaling a durability that the Yankees were eager to harness. However, Stanton's tenure in New York has been marred by inconsistent availability. Of the 708 games since his arrival, Stanton has appeared in just 391, raising questions about his reliability.
General Manager Brian Cashman's recent comments at the winter meetings underscored this sentiment. Acknowledging Stanton's injury-prone nature, Cashman expressed little hope for a full-season appearance from Stanton in the future.
This candid admission aligns with Stanton's recent performances, including a career-low season well below the Mendoza line, intensifying frustrations within the Yankees' leadership. Adding complexity to the scenario is Joel Wolfe, Stanton's agent, openly criticizing the Yankees' management.
Wolfe's comments, highlighting the mental and physical resilience required to play in New York, hinted at potential implications for foreign players considering joining the team, like his other client, Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
With four years remaining on Stanton's substantial contract, his future with the Yankees remains uncertain. Tensions are simmering within and around the organization, particularly given Stanton's likely absence due to injuries.
This situation and increasing dissatisfaction from fans and media sets the stage for potential upheaval within one of baseball's most iconic franchises. As the 2024 season approaches, the Yankees, Stanton, and their global fanbase brace for what could be a defining period in the team's recent history.