According to widespread reports, Giancarlo Stanton has anointed the Yankees as one of the teams he would accept a trade to. Say it ain’t so, Brian.
Let’s get one thing straight from the get-go. The only one who is destined to win the Giancarlo Stanton Sweepstakes is Giancarlo Stanton.
Ken Rosenthal, a respected writer and baseball spelunker, is cited in a San Francisco Gate story as saying Stanton has cooled on both the Giants and Cardinals, the only teams who have made a formal offer to the Marlins for Stanton’s services. Rosenthal goes on to add that Stanton has now moved the Yankees and Dodgers from the back burner to the front burner, where I would guess they’ve probably been during this dance since day one.
Another Steinbrenner would be all-in, ready to unload a good portion of the Yankees farm system on a moment’s notice, to capture the headliner of this year’s baseball offseason. Hopefully, though, Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman don’t so much as take a nibble of the cheese for the New York Yankees.
The reasons are myriad and so distasteful, I don’t know where to begin. But, let’s start with money, where everything begins and ends even in baseball. The Yankees are promising to decrease their payroll to be beneath the $197 million luxury tax threshold in 2018. Brian Cashman is jumping through hoops to make it happen.
While adding Stanton and the roughly $200 million owed to him over the next decade doesn’t make it impossible for the Yankees to meet that margin, it sure throws a wrench into the team’s current plans and roster for the upcoming season and beyond.
It’s simple math. If you add players, you then have to subtract players. Why would the Yankees want to upset the trend heading toward a World Championship when they’ve worked so hard to get where they are now?
Here’s another question. Where would Stanton play? We know where he has played and that’s right field. Who occupies right field at Yankee Stadium now? So, with Stanton on board, one of the first things Aaron Boone will need to do is convince Aaron Judge to move to left field in favor of Stanton. Why would the Yankees want to begin the year when they get to Florida in February with this distraction?
Giancarlo Stanton reminds us in so many ways of Alex Rodriguez. Both are in the top echelon of ballplayers in their era. They both ooze “stardom” and they’re both costly investments which is bound to have diminishing returns as the years move on. Once bitten, twice shy? We’ll see.
On a broader scale, this is not about Stanton. Instead, it’s about baseball and the teams which are desperate to capture lightning in a bottle through greediness and short-sightedness. The Cardinals and Giants are prime examples, and it’s likely Stanton noticed this in evaluating both franchises.
Put yourself in Stanton’s shoes and the position he’s earned himself at the moment. He has Derek Jeter‘s hands tied behind his back, which is no small accomplishment. He has a full no-trade clause, which is probably the last one that will ever be granted to a player in the sport. And, he happens to also be a superior talent with proven major league skills and accomplishments (aka last year’s 59 home run performance).
With ten years remaining on his contract, he could even doom all of Jeter’s plans to reduce payroll, deciding he’ll stick around for a couple more years and see what the landscape looks like then. By that time, Los Angeles maybe will have fallen into the ocean as predicted by some scientists.
As indicated before, there was a time when the Yankees would have been the first to step up to the plate, outbidding everyone as George Steinbrenner did the offseason before the 2009 World Championship. You’ll recall the spending spree that brought in Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett.
And if you remember that, you also will painfully recall that is the last championship the Yankees have won, nine seasons ago.
The Yankees are on the precipice of success that will extend beyond one season with the players they have now and the ones who are percolating in their farm system. Let it be.