Giancarlo Stanton wanted Derek Jeter to try to compete, even for a bit.
The Marlins could have built a competitive team this winter with just a few additions, and Giancarlo Stanton knew it.
Sports Illustrated’s Ben Reiter writes in his new behind-the-scenes look at the blockbuster trade that landed Stanton in New York that Stanton attempted to convince Jeter to abandon his plan to strip the Marlins to the studs. If they just had a few more pitchers, Stanton argued, Miami could be a contender.
First, he made one final plea to Jeter to invest in a club that, with him and [Dee] Gordon and [Marcell] Ozuna and [Christian] Yelich, had finished fifth in the National League in runs, and second after the All-Star break. Lacking [Jose] Fernández, they might only need a couple of free-agent pitchers to contend. “Give it one half of the season,” Stanton said. “If we aren’t right there with the Nationals, or right there in the wild-card race, then you can deal everybody.”
Jeter and [general manager Mike] Hill weren’t buying it. They told Stanton he had two options. They had worked hard to come to terms with the Cardinals and the Giants. He could pick one of them, and soon, or he could stay in Miami as they traded away all of his friends and teammates. They had no other choice, and it wasn’t personal. It was business.
“This is not going to go how you guys think it will go,” Stanton said. “I’m not going to be forced somewhere, on a deadline, just because it’s convenient for you guys. I’ve put up with enough here. Derek, I know you don’t fully understand where I’m coming from. But Mike does. He’s been here. He can fill you in. This may not go exactly how I planned. But it’s definitely not going to go how you have planned.”
After half an hour in the manager’s office, the trio emerged. Jeter and Hill still hoped that Stanton would agree to go to San Francisco or St. Louis. But Hill also figured that he had better get on the phone with the man who had tapped him on the shoulder back in Orlando.
The man who tapped Hill on the shoulder was Brian Cashman, GM of the Yankees, and we all know what happened next.
There were plenty of free-agent pitchers on the market this winter for Stanton’s plan to work—including affordable options like Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn—but Jeter went along with the plan of slashing payroll. The core of Stanton, Gordon, Ozuna and Yelich was sold off piece by piece for prospects.