With the Giancarlo Stanton saga ending in the 2017 NL MVP heading to the Big Apple to play for the Yankees, one can only wonder what exactly happened that lead to him being so adamant to reject playing for the St. Louis Cardinals. Here are 3 possible reasons why.
When Giancarlo Stanton‘s final (only) four teams came out, it wasn’t all that surprising based on how everything unfolded. The Marlins had trades with the Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals in place for several days, but the way Stanton wielded his no trade clause halted any move from happening, because he preferred to go to the Dodgers, Cubs, Astros, or Yankees.
So why these teams, and why not St. Louis? Well, there are some glaring similarities between the four teams that really show exactly what Giancarlo wanted. Here are the things that these four teams have (or don’t have) that made Stanton decide to completely reject St. Louis despite the intense commitment that they showed to him and his success.
1. Immediate Success
This is probably the biggest factor, and it’s a short-sighted one. The four teams that Stanton picked were the four finalists of last season, but they aren’t teams that have had consistent success in the recent past and have shown the ability to be consistently competitive like the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Astros just made it to their first World Series, the Dodgers hadn’t been for over 20 years before this season, and the Yankees haven’t made the playoffs in 3 of the past 5 seasons after getting swept out of the 2012 ALCS. Of course, there’s also the Cubs, whose couple of seasons of success does not overshadow the reputation of losers in misery that they carried for over a century.
However, because of their success last season and the positioning of their rosters, Stanton felt like those cities would give him the best chance of winning. St. Louis, on the other hand, has missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons, and do not possess the same star power that the other teams currently have.
In this regard, Stanton is simply buying into the “super team” philosophy that has worked in other sports in recent years.
In baseball, with all of the variables and general lack of offensive success in that someone hitting 30% of the time is considered successful makes building an offensive juggernaut less foolproof than in other sports.
Considering that both Stanton and Yankees OF Aaron Judge are strikeout machines (Stanton in a career best year this season struck out 23.6% of the time. He had never been below 25% prior to 2017), Yankees fans can only hope it doesn’t become an Achilles heel.
2. Cardinal’s hitting struggles
This is a more specific point branching off from the lack of immediate success, but I think its just as important. Seeing guys like Matt Adams succeed after leaving the Cardinals while also seeing bright young prospects such as Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty playing way below their talent levels over the past several years with the Cardinals.
This is a problem that has extended several years, and the Cardinals have been towards the bottom of the league in home runs for the past couple of seasons. This was enough to change Matt Carpenter from a great lead off hitter to a mediocre power hitter, and I am sure that did not appeal too much to Stanton.
While Cardinals fans are expecting to see many prospects impact the team next season, there is no telling exactly how many of them will become impact players, and how much of a difference they can actually make. While we can be reasonably sure that there will be several impact prospects, there’s no guarantee that they will provide the hitting prowess or pedigree to protect Stanton in a line-up.
Stanton doesn’t want to be the man and have to carry the team’s offense: he wanted other big hitters around him that will help him get the production that he wants, and the Cardinals simply don’t have that in particular to provide.
3. Big Market Presence
Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Houston. All of these teams have a large market and are part of a big city.
St. Louis? Not so much.
Living in a big city has seemed like Stanton’s motivation from the start, and it was displayed in his specific choices of teams. While there were plenty of great teams lined up ready to win and prepared to make a huge commitment to him, he had to pick these teams in these large cities.
He simply couldn’t stay away from the nightlife and the potential celebrity status that one can obtain by being an icon in a big city. The fame, fortune, and promises of a glamorous lifestyle called to him over the city far less glamorous, but far more dedicated to baseball and the team.
Stanton instead went where winning is done more through using big market resources to purchase established players than developing homegrown, loyal ball players.
Some athletes prefer to stay in the low light and focus on their craft. They don’t care about the big lights or the fame or the party life that goes with being a star athlete in a big city. They simply care about being the best player they can be, and finding victories and success on the field.
Giancarlo Stanton is not that kind of athlete.
Were you hurt by the Stanton news or do you believe the St. Louis Cardinals will rebound and will build a winning team? Thanks for reading!