The tweet from Steiner Sports went out a little after 11 a.m. Saturday. (Now former) Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro would not be appearing with his (now former) double-play mate Didi Gregorius at their autograph signing at the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City.
But, as fans lined up to get balls, bats, and photos signed by the shortstop, they didn’t seem upset by who wasn’t there, mainly because they knew who was coming to the Bronx.
Castro was the principal Yankee involved in the deal with the Miami Marlins that will bring reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton to New York. Stanton hit 59 home runs last season, the most in the majors since 2001.
Although the trade was not official yet, with Stanton needing to agree to terms stipulated in his no-trade clause and pass a physical, fans at the mall were giddy thinking about a lineup that could feature Stanton and Aaron Judge, two of the premier home run hitters in the game, not to mention All-Star catcher Gary Sanchez.
“I love it. I’m excited for it,” Nick Demonte, 29, of North Babylon said. “I think it’s a good deal for the Yankees. I think right now is the time for them to win. They were only one game from the World Series [last season]. If they want to put themselves over the top, I think it’s a good deal to make.”
“They’re a lot of big bats in the lineup, and hopefully this will be the team that takes it,” Jake Gross, 18, a business student at Molloy College, added.
Gross, who got a baseball signed by Gregorius, said that he was disappointed that Castro wasn’t in attendance, but he understood the business of baseball. Gregorius was not made available to the media.
While many were surprised when trade talk heated up Friday night, Gross said he had a feeling that the superstar would find his way to the Bronx. That feeling got even stronger after trades with the Cardinals and Giants broke down earlier this week.
“I think I was one of the few people that actually saw it,” Gross said. “I didn’t think that San Francisco or the Cardinals really had anything to offer. The Yankees had a tremendous farm system and a lot of major-league talent. I’ve been saying for a long time that I was hoping they would make a move, and I’m just happy that they did.”
Anthony Franco, 32, of Farmingdale, said the move was like the Yankees acquiring Alex Rodriguez in 2004.
“I’m excited for it. Having him and Judge being the bash brothers, I think it will be pretty fun. Hopefully, it results in a World Series,” Franco said. “ . . . I didn’t see it coming at all. I thought they were trying to go with the young guys and no more high-priced guys. But, I guess that changed.”
With the reported trade only a few hours old, fans were just beginning to process the powerful lineup that new manager Aaron Boone will be sending to the plate each night.
“It’s going to be pretty scary,” Gross said. “There’s going to be home runs going out of the ballpark every single day.