TAMPA, Fla. — The expectations for the 2018 Yankees are through the roof.
And Giancarlo Stanton is good with that.
“The fans expect a lot,” Stanton said Wednesday afternoon. “I expect a lot, too. So we’re in the same boat.”
Stanton, acquired over the winter in a deal with the Marlins that shook the sport, entered uncharted waters this spring.
Stanton went from a franchise used to losing — the best record the Marlins had in his eight seasons there was 80-82 in 2010 — to one that hasn’t had a losing season since 1992. And for many, anything short of a World Series appearance will be considered to be a failure.
Again, that’s all good with Stanton, who said being on losing teams year after year wore on him “a lot.”
“That part wasn’t fun,” he said. “But my focus has always been there. I always wanted more than that. Now I’ve set myself up for the opportunity to do it.”
But there’s scrutiny the 28-year-old, who won last year’s NL MVP after leading the league in homers (59), RBIs (132) and slugging percentage (.631), will face with that opportunity, scrutiny that comes with playing in the country’s No. 1 media market.
Joining a lineup that already includes Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez means the spotlight won’t be completely on Stanton, but there will be no escaping it, either.
“It’ll be fine,” said Stanton, who entered Wednesday night’s game against the Orioles hitting .205/.295/.385 with one homer and four doubles this spring (he singled in his first at-bat). “There will be good times and bad times but it will be fine.”
Stanton pointed out that ultimately it was up to him to OK a deal to the Yankees. He had a full-no trade clause in his contract, which he used to nix deals to the Giants and Cardinals.
“I had to waive my [no-trade] to come here so that would include thinking about everything that goes into it,” Stanton said. “There’s stuff you have to experience by experiencing it and there’s things you have an idea of what it’s going to be like. Those I’ve prepped myself [for] and I’ll just be ready to play.”
Stanton said New York was always a city he enjoyed playing in as a visitor.
“New York is a little something special when you go there,” Stanton said. “Just being in that city is a different feel. That’s what you enjoy. Greatest city in the world.”
Stanton will live in the city during the season — he’ll room with Mets pitcher A.J. Ramos. The pair, who are close friends, roomed together when they were Marlins teammates.
Stanton smiled when asked if he might take the subway to the Stadium during the season.
“You never know,” he said. “Could be some of my off the field adventures.” His focus, however, remains on the field and the potential of what he can do. And his teammates, too.
Stanton met Judge, who led the AL in 2017 with 52 homers, in Miami last season during the Home Run Derby but has gotten to know him more this spring.
His impressions of the 25-year-old?
“He’s not satisfied with last year, you can tell that,” Stanton said. “He wants more and more and to get better, which is exactly what you need after a season like that, that it’s-not-enough attitude. You need 25 of those attitudes [in a clubhouse].”
Stanton doesn’t see any trouble ahead with Judge handling the expectations.
“He has a good grip on the outside noise compared to inside the clubhouse and [focusing] between the lines,” Stanton said. “I think he’ll be fine.”