Nearly two years after trading for outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, the New York Yankees should be second-guessing their decision to bring the veteran slugger to the Bronx.
After missing the majority of the 2019 season due to multiple injuries, it’s time to debate the question of whether the New York Yankees made the right decision in acquiring outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.
Before we dive deep into Stanton, it’s worth stating that there’s absolutely zero chance of the Yankees trading away the 29-year-old this winter. With Stanton owning a full no-trade clause throughout the remainder of his contract, it would be nearly impossible to part ways with him right now.
So, that means the Yankees are stuck with the injury-prone slugger for many more seasons to come.
Following his latest injury, manager Aaron Boone and the Yankees fear that Stanton may be forced to miss the remainder of the postseason, or at least miss the rest of the ALCS. Stanton injured his quad running down the first baseline in game one of the ALCS against the Astros. After missing Game 2 and now Game 3 of the series as well, the New York media hasn’t held back with its criticism of Stanton.
If Stanton indeed misses the rest of the playoffs, it’s unimaginable to think of the rath that general manager Brian Cashman will have to face this offseason. To make matters worse for Cashman, Stanton hasn’t actually performed all that well in his two seasons with the Yankees.
In his first season with the Yankees, Stanton played in 158 games and recorded 38 home runs, 100 RBI’s, a respectable 129 wRC+ and a 4.3 fWAR along with a slashing line of .266/.343/.509/.852.
Despite those respectable numbers from Stanton, he also created very concerning numbers in his first season after winning the NL MVP. The veteran slugger decreased his walk rate by 2.4% and increased his strikeout rate by 6.3% from his 2017 totals. It was also a little troubling to witness Stanton struggle to hit for more power going from slugging 59 home runs in Marlins Park to just 38 in the small confines of Yankee Stadium.
Then came Stanton’s issue of staying on the field during this season. Thanks to a PCL strain in his right knee, along with a left biceps injury that later turned into a shoulder strain and the multiple calves injuries he suffered throughout the season as well, led to Stanton only playing in 18 regular-season games. That game total definitely isn’t ideal for a guy who still has $285 million left on his contract.
When Cashman acquired Stanton from the Marlins, very few people worried over the players the Yankees were surrendering to Miami. With the emergence of infielder Gleyber Torres, the Yankees definitely don’t regret sending away Starlin Castro.
While both right-hander Jorge Guzman and shortstop Jose Devers remain intriguing prospects for the Marlins, neither of them is close to debuting or project to be All-Stars at the major league level. So, that means the Yankees shouldn’t and likely don’t regret trading away those players to get Stanton, but they should regret only acquiring minor financial relief for his 13-year $325-million contract. If Stanton doesn’t opt-out of his current deal after the 2020 season, the Marlins will owe $30 million of Stanton’s remaining contract.
Obviously, money has never been an issue for a franchise like the Yankees. However, that doesn’t mean that Cashman and the Yankees won’t be concerned over a gradual drop in production from Stanton over the remaining nine years of his deal. Stanton will also be turning 30-years-old next month, which means he’s about to transition over to the wrong side of 30. Plus, his injury concerns are also only going to get worse with age as well.
We’ve already started seeing a decline in offensive production from Stanton, which doesn’t bode well for his contract situation. After this season, Stanton is still owed an AAV of $31.7 million over the remaining nine years of his contract. In addition, Stanton is also signed through his age-38 season.
Now, Stanton does have a club option for $25 million that comes with a $10 million buyout during the final season of his deal. So, the Yankees will very likely decide to part ways with Stanton prior to the 2028 season.
Until then, the Yankees are stuck with the injury-prone and declining slugger. All of these injuries to Stanton will also cause the Yankees to compromise the designated hitter spot in their lineup. If by some miracle Stanton regains his health this season, then the Yankees won’t dare to play him in left field, which means they’ll have to choose between Edwin Encarnacion and Stanton for playing time in the DH spot.
If not next season, it’ll come in the next few seasons, as Stanton will rarely ever play in left field for the Yankees. With the amount of money left on his contract, the Yankees just can’t afford Stanton to continue to miss a significant number of games due to injury.
Despite Stanton’s age and massive contract, it’s very likely that Cashman would still execute the trade if he was ever given a do-over. Although the Yankees’ GM would probably make a few adjustments to the trade, that would involve the Marlins being responsible for more than just $30 million of Stanton’s contract.
While in theory trading for Stanton was a good idea, it has yet to benefit the Yankees and it’s only going to get worse for the aging former-MVP.