Early this morning, amidst the fury over the team’s latest disappointing performance, potentially devastating news for the Yankees quietly surfaced. According to Lindsey Adler of The Athletic, Giancarlo Stanton is experiencing left-hamstring tightness.
“Stanton is dealing with tightness in his left hamstring and has had it wrapped up with ice after games Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. Presumably, with Aaron Judge and Gary Sánchez already on the disabled list, Boone has not wanted to take the risk of losing his final power bat as any chance at winning the division to avoid the one-game wild-card berth slips further away.”
The 28-year-old stands out as the lone slugger remaining in the Yankees’ once-dreaded lineup. He’s hit .280/.342/.512 with 25 home runs in pinstripes, working out to a 127 wRC+. That gets weighed down, however, by an anemic April and a pedestrian May. Since June 1st, Stanton has torn the cover off the ball, slashing .313/.363/.554 with 14 home runs. His 143 wRC+ over that span fits right in with his career norms.
With Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge sidelined for the foreseeable future, losing Stanton would represent an utter collapse in terms of the club’s offense. Not many teams can bounce back from simultaneous injuries to the entire heart of their lineup down the stretch. The Yankees have struggled to produce runs as it is. Subtracting the best player remaining would create a batting order eerily reminiscent of its 2013-2014 counterparts.
At this time of year, it’s safe to assume all players are banged up. That’s what happens when you make it to August. That said, hamstrings are finicky. They take a lot longer to heal than one would think. It’s a minor miracle that Masahiro Tanaka returned from his double-strain without setbacks. The Yankees should exert caution to make sure they don’t lose Stanton for the rest of the year.
This report also brings the trade deadline back into conversation. Why didn’t Brian Cashman add another bat? The team knew that Judge and Sanchez weren’t going to be immediate options. Nobody has a clear estimate on when Clint Frazier can safely resume baseball activities. Was Luke Voit the best they could come up with? I guess it makes sense if the price tags proved exorbitant, but judging from the Cameron Maybin trade, they probably weren’t. If Stanton has to miss time, the reluctance to add a bat will hurt.
When the Yankees placed Judge on the disabled list, they had a ready-made replacement in Stanton. Heck, he’s basically a carbon copy. They were uniquely positioned to absorb that blow. The situation, however, has now changed. The team has been in a tailspin for the better part of a week, nearly losing the division in the process. The Wild Card could become tenuous if Stanton goes down. They just cannot afford another significant injury.