Even among his peers, Giancarlo Stanton stands out. In layman’s terms, he’s huge. His 6-6, 245-pound frame glided across the Marlins’ clubhouse Friday afternoon at Citi Field, headphones on, gaze pinpoint, his focus an example of what modern power can look like.
It’s hard, by any standard, to be as locked in as Stanton has been lately. His streak of consecutive games with a home run ended at six on Wednesday, two short of the record shared by Dale Long, Ken Griffey Jr. and Don Mattingly, Stanton’s manager.
“I was hoping he’d get to, like, 15,” Mattingly said before the Marlins’ 3-1 victory over the Mets on Friday night. “If he’s hitting homers, we usually have a pretty good chance of winning. I’m not one of those guys who sits back and says, ‘I hope nobody ever breaks it.’ I’m all for anyone doing it, especially when he’s on my club. It would have been nice to see it continue.”
If history is any guide, success will continue for Stanton. Wheth er that success will continue in Miami is a different story, though.
The slugger, who cleared waivers last week, has been the subject of trade rumors, with the Marlins reportedly willing to listen to offers either before the end of the month or this offseason.
With a new ownership group headlined by Derek Jeter whose bid of $1.2 billion was accepted last week by Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, the possibility of shedding a contract that has 10 years and nearly $300 million remaining is attractive.
“You have to look at who we are,” Mattingly said. “Each team is individual in what their payroll is and what they can afford. If one guy is going to be 50 percent of your payroll, you’re not going to be able to put a team on the field.”
The Marlins’ payroll this year is $118.7 million, according to spotrac.com. Loria watched batting practice with Mattingly but would not comment on the team sale, saying only that his reasons are “very personal.”
Loria did talk about his All-Star slugger. “It’s spectacular,” he said. “It’s a result of all the hard work he puts in. There aren’t a lot of guys that work as hard as he does, both during the year and in the offseason, and you’ve seen the results.”
Stanton, who did not speak to the media yesterday or Friday, is having a season worth talking about. He walked three times Saturday night and is hitting .285 with 94 RBIs and a major league-leading 44 homers.
“He found a little groove,” Mattingly said. “I know he’s been working on some things with his swing . . . . I think the biggest thing with Giancarlo is getting good pitches to hit.”
Health also is a major factor in Stanton’s success. Last season, he played only 119 games, a number he will match today if Mattingly puts him in the lineup. Two seasons ago, he played in only 74. Stanton played in at least 145 games only twice in his previous seven seasons. As technical as baseball analysis can get, sometimes it’s as simple as “is he on the field?’’
“If he’s out there every year, playing 150 games or 148, he’s going to hit 50,” Mattingly said. “That’s just the way it is . . . If he fell asleep the rest of the year, he’s going to hit 50.”