Yankees: Is Giancarlo Stanton’s return to defense a good thing?


Three times a game, he saunters his 6-6 frame into the batter’s box and positions himself diagonally into a comfortable position.

For the children in the crowd wearing their No. 27 jerseys, these at-bats are their only opportunities to witness the greatness that may or may not be Giancarlo Stanton.

He’s an incredibly streaky hitter, possibly the streakiest hitter with clothes on.

Stanton’s either in the midst of a full-blown slump or he’s the most feared man on the planet with a piece of lumber in his hands.

Over the last three seasons, due to caution of injury and questions of fragility, these short moments were our only glimpse at the costly former most valuable player.

A few weeks ago, Aaron Boone shocked the world and penciled his slugger in on defense for the very first time since 2019…finally.

Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton is finally in the outfield.

What Giancarlo Stanton is expected to do is hit baseballs very far, and with any bit of luck or grace of God, he hits those baseballs both very far and very often. A resounding chorus of Yankees fans would shout in agreement he doesn’t hit baseballs nearly as far or nearly as often as he used to, but nevertheless, Brian Cashman hands over every cent of his $29 million salary knowing that he is an offensive priority player.

In 2021, when Stanton is NOT hitting, how is he benefiting this team? What is he doing to help the Yankees win games if he’s in the middle of a fifteen-game strikeout binge?

What makes this situation even more frustrating is the Yankees HAVE struggled with outfield injuries. Aaron Hicks, Tim Locastro, Clint Frazier, and Miguel Andújar have all missed time. In total, 16 different players have found themselves in the outfield this season.

Jonathan Davis has suddenly appeared in the Yankees outfield and he’s a career pinch-runner. Brett Gardner is practically a daily starter and he’s flirting with the Mendoza line. Nobody expects Stanton to rival Kevin Kiermaier on defense, but when do we say enough is enough and start expecting him to contribute when the team needs him?

It would free up the DH spot for someone like Luke Voit, who might be out of a job with Anthony Rizzo taking over New York City by storm. I’m positive these pros and cons were weighed by Boonie when he decided to finally make the change, or maybe it was just too late to start one of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

On a warm night in Miami, Aaron Boone sent Stanton into the familiar Marlins outfield he once patrolled — the outfield where he used to brandish a red light throwing arm.

Was his glove broken in? Did he have trouble finding it? Does he miss his comfortable seat in the dugout next to the bubble gum bucket? We may never know, because reporters are too afraid to ask hard-hitting questions to such a scary man.

He made four total outfield appearances in the first 10 games since the experiment began, and has yet to make a mistake. Not only was he a perfect 10/10 on putouts, but he has looked comfortable and capable at every and each opportunity.

If the Yankees are going to function at full efficiency, Stanton will have to play defense to some degree. But if he should twist an ankle or pull a muscle chasing after a gap shot double, if he should find his way back to the IL for yet another frustrating stint…Aaron Boone and I will both feel very stupid.