The Yankees may not be the Evil Empire after all. With details emerging, the Stanton trade might well turn into another Cashman coup d’etat.
Attention Yankees fans. Without any further ado, here he is, Giancarlo Stanton in Pinstripes.
For the past 18 months, the Yankees have brainwashed and shown us with their actions they were throwing out their old ways of doing business and rushing in with a new youth-based formula designed to set the team on a path towards another 1990’s “Run”.
Nearly all of us had no issues saying goodbye to Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann, Mark Teixeria, and even future Hall of Famer, Carlos Beltran. The transition was facilitated by the surprises in store for us during the 2017 season, leading everyone to the present with visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads.
So when the Yankees stunned the world of baseball this past weekend by acquiring Giancarlo Stanton, the initial reaction, at least within the media, was immediate, emotional, and largely negative.
Now, with some detail and background emerging, the deal is coming into focus as a complete no-brainer for the Yankees. With this writer included (here’s just one sample), let’s take a look at a few of those misconceptions with an eye towards cleaning them up with something more factual.
But first, let’s hear it from Stanton himself as to what it’s like to be a New York Yankee.
The most glaring misconception about the deal was that Brian Cashman had gone off the reservation and, all the noise about the Yankees remaining under the $197 million luxury tax threshold, was being kicked down the road and fueled by Cashman’s ever-expanding ego.
Brian Hoch, writing for MLB.com, reports that Hal Steinbrenner, the principal driver behind the luxury tax edict, approved the deal only when Cashman convinced, and presumably showed him, the Yankees could and would fall under the threshold. Details as to how Cashman will meet his promise have yet to emerge, but it can be assumed Cashman has a firm, but adjustable, plan in mind to meet a very worthy goal of the Yankees.
Second, many of us leaped to the conclusion that the arrival of Stanton would combust an already combustible quagmire in the Yankees outfield. Turns out, it doesn’t look likely that will occur either.
Lost in the initial digestion of the deal is that Stanton doesn’t have to play anywhere because he’s moving to the American League where he can spend the bulk of his time DH’ing. And given Stanton’s tendency to miss some games over the course of a season with annoying injuries, this may prove to be a long-range blessing in disguise for both Stanton and the Yankees.
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The DH is a spot Cashman needed to fill anyway, with Matt Holliday drawing no interest from the Yankees for a one-year renewal of his contract. And who better to fill the role than Stanton, the home run machine?
Moreover, it means Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge can stay where they are in left and right, with Aaron Hicks penciled in as the everyday center fielder. The plan is still in the early stages of development and we could see tweaks here and there before Opening Day, but it’s good to know there was a plan before the Stanton deal was executed.
And finally, it’s becoming ever more apparent that Derek Jeter was a far better ballplayer than he is an owner. Jeter’s arrogance in ordering the firing of Jeff Conine (AKA Mr. Marlin), former Marlins manager Jack McKeon, and Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Tony Perez came within a week of his tenure. Adding to his disapproval rating, he ordered underlings to enact the executions, rather than do it himself. Note: a good read can be found in Christopher Carrelli’s piece for the Sporting News.
Of even greater consequence though are emerging details about how Jeter handled the Stanton episode from the get-go. Numerous reports indicate Jeter never took the time to sit down with Stanton in an attempt to find out his star player’s thinking, especially with regards to the teams he would seriously consider being traded to.
Operating in his own darkness, Jeter mistakenly entertained offers from the Cardinals and Giants, succeeding only in wasting time and muddying the water. Backed into a corner when Stanton’s group opened the door for a trade to the Yankees, Brian Cashman walked straight in without a care in the world, literally stealing Stanton away from Jeter, even to the point of getting Jeter to pay roughly one year of Stanton’s salary ($30 million).
More details will likely be revealed over the coming days and weeks, and it’s also likely all of them will point to another coup by Cashman.
The Yankees remain on the move
But for now, the Winter Meetings are underway and as usual, things are moving fast. Stories ESNY will be following include reports the Yankees will indeed eat a major portion of Jacoby Ellsbury’s salary and trade him if they can find a team he will go to, given the full no-trade clause in the contract. The salary detail, though, is new.
There are reports also that the Yankees have competition now for the services of CC Sabathia with the Angels wishing to pad their signing of Shohei Ohtani. While Sabathia has indicated he would like to finish his career in pinstripes, the Yankees might find themselves in a position where time is no longer on the side.