If it pains Marlins fans to see Giancarlo Stanton wearing Yankee pinstripes, just imagine the thought of the late Jose Fernandez doing the same if he were still alive.
Stanton, speaking Sunday at a black-tie event in the Big Apple, said Fernandez once predicted that the two former stars for the Marlins would one day end up playing together for the Bronx Bombers.
“He said, ‘If this doesn’t work out down here, I’m going to be a free agent, and I’m going to be with the Yankees, and I’m taking you with me,’” Stanton said of a conversation he had with Fernandez at the 2016 All-Star Game. “Now that I’m here, I’m going to take a little piece of him and bring it with me.”
One can only speculate with regard to Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident late in the 2016 season. Fernandez, if he were still alive, would have been eligible for free agency after the upcoming season.
Ralph Fernandez, an attorney and close family friend, told the Miami Herald in September that the pitcher had every intention of signing a contract extension with the Marlins to remain in Miami.
“It was top secret,” Ralph Fernandez said. “He knew the fact that it would shave off a significant sum [of earnings] by staying. But he wasn’t leaving Miami. The decision had already been made. We just couldn’t leak it out.”
Stanton, of course, was traded to the Yankees in December.
On Sunday, the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America presented the slugger with the National League MVP award he won as a member of the Marlins. Stanton used the opportunity to pay tribute to the late pitcher and former teammate.
“This has been an amazing ride,” he said. “I’m excited to be here in New York and experience the big city and bright lights … [Fernandez] was a big factor in achieving this and doing something special for him, that was a big part of this season.”