Stanton relishing Yankees role as deal completed


New York (AFP)

National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton completed his blockbuster move to the New York Yankees on Monday and revealed the iconic franchise had always been his preferred destination.

Stanton said he had been impressed by the way the Yankees developed last season, where they fell just short of a place in the World Series after losing out to eventual winners the Houston Astros.

The 28-year-old Los Angeles native had been linked with moves to several clubs, with the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers among several teams in the hunt for his signature.

But Stanton said the Yankees had been "on top of my list" that he gave to his former employers at the Miami Marlins when he made it clear he wanted to leave Florida.

"Watching them from afar, their young, dynamic group and the way they flow together," Stanton told a press conference. "The atmosphere, storied franchise. There's not much reason why I wouldn?t want to be there.

"The team, the dynamic. They strike from everywhere, they are well-balanced, hungry. They got close enough this year, but hopefully with my addition we will be a better team. We are going to perform. I want to make this team better."

Stanton will now team up in a formidable looking Yankees batting line-up with American League rookie of the year Aaron Judge.

Stanton blasted 59 home runs for the Marlins last season while Judge smashed 52 in 2017.

It means the Yankees will field a line-up with two 50-homer players for only the second time in major league history. The last team to do it were the Yankees in 1961, when Roger Maris (61) and Mickey Mantle (54) chased down Babe Ruth's record.

Stanton said Monday he had already spoken to Judge over the weekend once his move was set in motion.

"We respect each other's game and had fun at the Home Run Derby," Stanton said.

"We spoke a couple of days ago, excited to work together, learn from each other and make each other better."

Judge meanwhile was similarly enthused about what Stanton's arrival means for the Yankees already impressive batting line-up.

"I feel sorry for the baseballs," Judge said on the YES Network. "It'll be a good dynamic. We are going to be tough, it's going to be hard to get through us all. They are going to have their work cut out for them."