Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton looks completely different with wild weight loss, new swing

Sep 16, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton
Sep 16, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As he reports to Yankees spring training, Giancarlo Stanton appears to have taken Brian Cashman's comments on his injury history in the best way possible: as motivation.

The only benefit to having a boss who fumbles and badmouths his stars with escalating contracts is that, occasionally, the message gets through and leads a player to a healthier place (while chipping his shoulder). Stanton, who has four years left on the contract the Yankees inherited from the Miami Marlins, could barely run as 2023 wrapped. His numbers, post-2022 All-Star break, haven't been befitting of a superstar. Instead, he's looked like an aging bodybuilder, unable to coerce his creaky joints into performing the function of a big-league swing with rapid speed.

Instead of running from the problem (slowly), Stanton used the 2023-24 offseason to tone his previously gargantuan frame and attempt to harness his once elite athleticism. Cashman's offseason comments, indicating that injuries will always be part of Stanton's total package, appear to have been the final straw.

An offseason of turmoil, and a year and a half of struggles, culminated with Stanton showing up on Monday looking lithe. In comparison to Aaron Judge, the once-feared slugger appeared to have been in a different weight class entirely. Maybe it's not time to close the door on left field work after all?

Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton has slimmed down, working on new swing

Now, the hard part begins. Shedding the weight will bring with it entirely new durability challenges. Stanton toning his frame might mess with his calling-card power. No one will know what he sacrificed to get back into the positive WAR column until we see him in action.

But the body represents a complete -- and necessary, at this juncture -- transformation. And, according to Stanton, there's a new swing coming, too.

Stanton's swing has always been carefully designed to clobber fastballs and mistake pitches, but has always left him susceptible to breaking balls low and away, leading to plenty of poor optics. If you were an aggrieved fan looking for a reason to be "out" on Stanton, his bad swings were often bad enough to outweigh the positive impression of the good ones.

As ugly as it may have sometimes seemed, his swing was always workable, though, until he began to slow down and miss fastballs, rendering its design moot. That's how a bat-first player winds up stiffly accruing a negative 0.8 bWAR, declining three or four years sooner than an athletic marvel of this variety should've.

Stanton's a Yankee with a no-trade clause, for better or worse, as he marches down he potential final alleyways of a Hall of Fame path (seriously). Whether it works or not, some change was undoubtedly necessary entering this season. Instead of making a few tweaks, Stanton went bold, opting for the wholesale makeover.

His alterations might be the story of this spring's early games -- and that's saying plenty, considering Juan Soto just showed up, too.