Giancarlo Stanton played in the postseason for the first time in his career last season, going 5-for-21 with one home run and one RBI in five October games before the Boston Red Sox eliminated his New York Yankees in the American League Division Series.
Stanton, who was traded to New York from the Miami Marlins last offseason, never had played in a meaningful late-season game until last season, a point he made sure to note while throwing shade at his old team during his spring training press conference Monday.
Well, he’s not wrong.
During his time in Miami, the Marlins were an annual laughing stock in the National League, never winning more than 80 games in a season. The losing culture in Miami is something that new part-owner Derek Jeter is trying to turn around, but it’s going to take some time after the Marlins went 63-98 in 2018.
As for the Yankees and Stanton, New York will need the slugger to perform better when the lights are brightest if it plans to overtake the Sox. Stanton hit 38 home runs and notched 100 RBIs in his first season in pinstripes, but he also struck out 211 times and only managed to hit a meager .266 in hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium and was a relative non-factor in the postseason.
While the $325 million star had more fun in New York than he ever did in South Beach (at least on the baseball field), he’ll need to take it up a level if the Yankees plan to win their first World Series title since 2009.