Stanton ready to move forward with Marlins
FEB 15, 2013 1:42p ET
JUPITER, Fla. – Giancarlo Stanton stepped in to face the South Florida media on Friday for the first time since the Miami Marlins’ controversial November trade of several prominent players.
Would the slugger take some cuts, as he did on Twitter following the team’s deal with the Toronto Blue Jays? “Alright, I'm pissed off!!! Plain & Simple,” he wrote on Nov. 13.
Or would the slugger foul off question after question until taking a walk?
The result was a nearly 13-minute session with reporters, who received mostly straightforward, diplomatic answers.
Asked about his “pissed off” Tweet, Stanton said, “You’re not going to linger on something and cry all day. So you let it be known how you feel and you push forward.”
Nice words, but will he really be able to move on?
“People who know me really and not just assume things, they know how I am,” Stanton said. “And it’s not going to be pouty or any of that stuff. We’re good.”
Stanton was among several position players who arrived at spring training with pitchers and catchers earlier in the week. He waited until Friday to discuss the Marlins’ past and present and his future.
The past mostly involved the just-concluded offseason, during which Miami dealt shortstop Jose Reyes, pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buerhle, utility man Emilio Bonifacio and catcher John Buck to Toronto. Closer Heath Bell was traded to Arizona. Reyes, Buerhle and Bell were high-priced free-agent signees last winter.
Understandably, Stanton was not happy with breaking up a team that, although it finished last in the NL East, had entered 2012 with preseason World Series expectations.
“I got what little words were out there to let it be known, and that was that,” he said. “We’re here now and turn page.”
As for the future, Stanton was asked how he would react if the Marlins offered to discuss a long-term deal.
“Well, I haven’t been offered one, so that decision isn’t ready yet,” he said.
But would it even be possible to repair what appeared to be a fractured relationship between Stanton and the Marlins organization?
“Yeah, there’s always ways to look past things,” Stanton said. “It’s not like you fall out once and there’s nothing to ever come from it. It can be rebuilt and there’s time.”
As for this season, Stanton will be the face of a rebuilding team filled with young players.
In Dunedin, Fla., on Friday, Reyes told people he felt sorry for Stanton.
"He’s talking from a personal standpoint and what happened to all of them [going to Toronto]," Stanton said. "I don’t know how I can relate in that aspect; I’m not on the outside looking in."
But Reyes was not the first to offer Stanton condolences on being left behind in Miami.
“A lot of people have, but I’m not one [to say], ‘Hey everyone, feel sorry for me.’ What is there to feel sorry for me about?” Stanton said. “I’m in the big leagues. I play a game for a living.”
He plays it very well, too. In 123 games last year, Stanton hit 37 homers (2nd in the NL) and 86 RBI.
Stanton likely will be pitched around a great deal in 2013, unless several Marlins show they can be dangerous offensively. The right fielder had 46 walks and 143 strikeouts last year.
And while he’s the biggest name on Miami’s roster, the 23-year-old Stanton might not be a team leader just yet.
“In the big leagues, it’s tough. It takes a certain amount of experience, a certain amount of time for guys to feel comfortable in the big leagues,” manager Mike Redmond said.
“I know coming from Minnesota when I was playing, the [Joe] Mauers and [Justin] Morneaus and [Michael] Cuddyers … those guys are all leaders, but it took a few years to get comfortable to where they felt like they could step out and maybe say something in the leadership role.”
Redmond said he’s considering batting Stanton third, not fourth, to guarantee he bats in the first inning. That’s something Stanton prefers.
“I’m here to win,” Stanton said. “My competitive level has not changed at all.”
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