Dan's Dugout: There's Something Fishy in Florida • Latino Sports


Dan’s Dugout: There’s Something Fishy in Florida


LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – Something fishy is happening here.

Not only are the Baseball Winter Meetings media gathering in a hotel called The Dolphin but all eyes are on the Marlins, based just a few hours south in the Florida peninsula.

Giancarlo Stanton brings his righthanded power to Yankee Stadium

The Yankees have already swooped in for the first bite of the floundering Fish carcass, landing National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton, with the rest of the pack circling like a flock of seagulls.

Derek Jeter, who teamed with Bruce Sherman to buy the Marlins from Jeffrey Loria in August, says he’ll chop $100 million off the team’s payroll.

Unloading Stanton, who signed a 13-year, $325 million deal just two years ago, was simply the first step. More will follow.

Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich, who teamed with Stanton to form a fine outfield in Florida, could follow Stanton out the door before this week is over.

In the meantime, an undercurrent of criticism has engulfed the club, which received precious little return for Stanton – just second baseman Starlin Castro and two fringe prospects. That’s how desperate the Marlins were to poke their nose out from the slugger’s massive contract.

In fairness, the Fish were limited by Stanton’s refusal to waive his no-trade clause to all but a handful of clubs. But trading him for such a paltry return makes Jeter look guilty of collusion, conflict of interest, or both – even though he says he has no interest in helping his former team.

The fact remains that the new Marlins CEO had the longest playing career (20 years) in the history of the Yankees.

Marlins CEO Derek Jeter has a lot of explaining to do

Commission of Baseball Rob Manfred could veto the trade, using his “best interests of baseball” clause. There’s plenty of precedent too.

At the dawn of the free-agent era, Oakland owner Charlie Finley sold Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers to the Boston Red Sox for a million dollars apiece. The players actually donned Bosox uniforms but never played for the team because Bowie Kuhn did then when Rob Manfred should do now – kill trades with large sums of money involved.

A million dollars, tip change for players now, went a long way 40 years ago.

As for Stanton himself, he will have to move to left, spend time as a DH, or share right field with newly-minted American League Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge.

Judge is a better defender with a stronger arm but Stanton is no slouch with a glove. Judge, an inch or too taller than the newcomer, also stands taller in the personality department. He’s friendly and forthcoming, almost like Roy Hobbs in The Natural, and more media-friendly than the veteran Stanton.

If the deal stands – and there are no early indications otherwise – the Yankees should have no trouble leading the majors in home runs again. They hit 241 as a team in 2017 and that was before adding Stanton, whose 59 led the majors.

The 1-2 punch of Judge and Stanton would be the best power tandem in pinstripes since the 1961 peak of Roger Maris (61) and Mickey Mantle (54).

2003 ALCS hero Aaron Boone has another reason to whoop it up

New manager Aaron Boone, jumping from the ESPN booth into the Yankees dugout, knows he can bomb opponents into submission – even if the club fails to strengthen a pitching staff that needs another starter. The Yanks also need a second baseman to replace Castro but could sign veteran Brandon Phillips as a short-term fix before dipping into their minor-league system.

Fans may have to spend more for hot dogs and parking but they also could see the first World Series at Yankee Stadium since 2009.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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