A day after Aaron Judge went in on the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing fiasco, the other half of the Yankees’ potential “Bash Brothers” took a swing at Major League Baseball’s largest scandal in 100 years.
Outfielder and designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton hit 59 home runs on his way to a National League MVP award with the Miami Marlins in 2017 — the same year that the Astros illegally stole signs to aid their first and only World Series title.
“If I knew what was coming in ’17 I probably would have hit 80 home runs,” Stanton said (h/t New York Post).
The 30-year-old was sent to the Yankees — who lost to the Astros in the 2017 ALCS — following that season where he posted 38 home runs and 100 RBI. Injuries limited his 2019 season to just 18 games.
Now back on track to restore the middle of the Yankees’ lineup, Stanton didn’t hold his tongue in analyzing MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s part in his governing of the Astros’ situation.
“I don’t think the punishments were harsh enough player-wise,” Stanton said. “At the end of the day, it gives more incentive [to cheat].”
Manfred suspended manager AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow for a year, though both were quickly fired by owner Jim Crane. He also fined the team $5 million and took away four draft picks.
While he considered stripping the Astros of their World Series title, he opted not to, which is becoming another talking point.
“They did their investigation and it was clear cut that they cheated that year which means [their title] should be taken away,” Stanton said.
Players escaped punishment after Manfred cut a deal with the MLB Player’s Association, swapping amnesty for honest testimony about what happened in 2017.
Now as Astros players embark on a less-than-convincing apology tour, it’s bringing out plenty of reactions from stars across the league.
“I think they did a very poor job of bringing their side to it,” Stanton said. “They didn’t have a problem being in front of the cameras and enjoying all the lights when they were doing it in 2017. Now they have to explain themselves and point fingers and own up to it.”
The Yankees won’t play the Astros until May 15-17, with those games coming in Houston. The Astros visit the Bronx for a four-game set from Sept. 21-24.