Yankees’ $98 million outfielder trying something new to stay healthy

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Giancarlo Stanton has not been able to stay on the field for the New York Yankees in his six seasons with the ballclub. After coming under fire by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, Stanton is taking a new approach to caring for his body.

According to Greg Joyce of the New York Post, Yankees head coach Aaron Boone said this about Stanton’s progress through the early stages of the offseason and how a lighter frame can help him improve from a down year:

“I think you’re going to see a leaner Giancarlo – he’s always in great shape, but being at this point in his career, being a little lighter is gonna be something that serves him well,” Aaron Boone said last week at the winter meetings. “I think it’s something he knows and wants to do. I think we’ll probably see an even little lighter Big G. Hopefully that leads to him being more athletic on the bases and … not just an option in the outfield but a good option in the outfield. That’s, I think, something important to him.”

Yankees: Stanton Looking to Put Injuries & Down Year Behind Him

Stanton, 34, missed 61 games in 2023 and sported a career-worst .191/.275/.420 slash line. His power was still present, as he clocked in 24 home runs and scored 70 runs on the season.

While his punch at the plate has not taken a backseat, his efficiency has, and that can be attributed to more than just age.

Stanton has only suited up in 549 of 972 possible games during his tenure in the Bronx. He’s sustained a “strained right biceps and strained posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee (2019), strained left hamstring (2020), strained left quadriceps (2021) and right ankle inflammation and left Achilles tendinitis (2022),” as NBC Sports laid out.

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Cashman’s Criticism of Stanton Came With Precedence

The Yankees made a power play in trading for the former 2017 NL MVP on Dec. 11 of that year and absorbed the remaining 10 years of his 13-year, $325 million megadeal signed with the Miami Marlins in 2014.

In hopes he would carry the franchise to a World Series next to fellow former MVP Aaron Judge, Stanton’s unavailability has deferred that dream. Cashman came out and said that he expected Stanton to get injured again in the upcoming seasons ahead, prompting Stanton, his manager, and the Yankees fanbase to clap back at the long-time GM.

An Improved Body Will Increase Stanton’s Chances of Avoiding the IL and Fielding More in 2024

Now, Stanton cutting weight will aim to take pressure off of his joints. The exact amount of weight that the 6-6, 245-pound slugger lost has not been specified as of yet. However, carrying less weight has paid dividends for many injury-prone stars not only in the MLB but across all sports.

If the Yankees want to return to World Series contention and improve upon their 82-80 record, they’ll need Stanton at his best to complement Judge and newly acquired star OF Juan Soto along with the rest of the Yankees’ offensive talent.