Scorched Giancarlo Stanton 2-run double vs Rays keeps Yankees offseason dream alive

Any Stanton progress is helpful, for one of two reasons.
New York Yankees v Chicago White Sox
New York Yankees v Chicago White Sox / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

Giancarlo Stanton will likely be stuck on the New York Yankees for a long, long time, with a contract lasting through 2027 (and, if the Yankees are feelin' crazy, they can even pick up his club option for 2028).

Therefore, if the Bombers want to avoid complete and utter disaster moving forward, it would be beneficial for his still-sterling exit velocity to result in a few more doubles and homers through August and September.

The Yankees are essentially playing a devilish combination of spoiler and spring training baseball down the stretch, and no matter how you feel about Stanton as he ages, the bottom line is that if he takes a star turn, that'll be both tremendously helpful and unexpected.

The only chance the Yankees have to get out from under the Stanton contract -- which should be a top priority this offseason, whether he ignites down the stretch or not -- is a turn-back-the-clock hot streak from the 2017 NL MVP. It's still unlikely, but ... the Angels, who play in Stanton's home state, have certainly done crazier things than absorb his contract (and a top prospect) for some box office bonafides.

Regrettably, Stanton's August swoon was even more pronounced than normal this year. Entering play on Thursday afternoon in the Bronx, he stood 12-for-67 in the month (.179), which would've qualified as generationally cold if he hadn't hit .145 in June and .198 in July. The Yankees were preparing to go to market with the frigid sales pitch of, "Hey ... he could run into one!"

Then, in Thursday's matinee, Stanton perked up, going 4-for-5 with four batted balls over 109 MPH, a nearly unheard-of feat done five other times in the Statcast Era (once by Stanton himself in 2015). It might've been a mirage against Patrick Corbin and his Anonymous Bullpen Mates, but it represented a glimmer of hope. For good measure, Stanton clutched up and produced another laser on Friday in Tampa, driving in two crucial runners (for offseason narrative purposes).

Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton looking more like former self vs Rays, Nationals

Again ... it's a real longshot. Yankee fans have become well aware of Stanton's hot and cold stretches, and the only thing the aging process is likely to bring is fewer hot streaks with more distance between them. He's more likely to circle the bases at the speed of glue than put together an All-Star campaign.

Fans in the Bronx need a reason -- any reason -- to hope right now, though, and Vintage Stanton arriving, especially in AL East showdowns, would brighten the future significantly. Even if Stanton's future isn't in pinstripes.