The Yankees are at .500 in August and just got one-hit by the MLB-best Braves. Last place in the AL East feels more like the new normal every day and the final AL wild card is drifting farther out of sight.
That means it’s offseason mode in August, and we’re getting started with a big name: Giancarlo Stanton.
Fans lament the Yankees not pursuing either Bryce Harper nor Manny Machado in free agency. Things might have been different had Stanton not been available at Sam’s Club pricing in December 2017. And let’s be clear, it was the right move. Starlin Castro and
a bucket of balls prospects for a reigning MVP is officially “But it’s Zava” territory.
And as expected, Stanton’s Bronx tenure has been ruled by injuries and underperformance. He’s Dave Winfield all over again, but without the benefit of durability. Four years, $118 million, and an option remaining, and with the Marlins kicking in a healthy $20 million.
The Yankees need to get younger and finding a way to offload Stanton and his albatross contract would be a good start. The catch, he has a full no-trade clause and would need to approve any deal.
However, if general manager Brian Cashman makes the right pitch, perhaps Stanton could be talked into joining any of the following teams.
Dodgers. The Boys in Blue make sense for Stanton, as do most if not all of the California teams. He’s from nearby Sherman Oaks and may relish the chance to go home. With how aggressive the Dodgers have been with money, currently housing nearly $240 in payroll, they can probably be talked into taking Stanton.
Cashman would also want some prospects coming back and the Dodgers have always had strong player development. Better yet, there’s tons of talented pitching down on the farm. If both sides can agree on compensation and hammering out the money, Stanton has no reason to void the trade. Especially if the Dodgers are also serious about landing Shohei Ohtani.
Padres. Similarly, Los Angeles’ NL West rival Padres could be a fit for the former MVP. They already have a stacked lineup with Machado and Xander Bogaerts. Ownership also doesn’t seem overly concerned about payroll and won’t balk at taking on some of Stanton’s contract.
San Diego also has some intriguing young prospects. Righty Adam Mazur throws five pitches and has just 13 walks in 70.2 innings at Double-A this year. Recent draftee Homer Bush Jr. is batting .377 in his young pro career and already has a Yankees connection. His father was a speedy infielder on the legendary 1998 team.
Making a trade with San Diego might be tougher, but it’s certainly worth exploring. And no, the Yankees are unlikely to be able to get Juan Soto in return. Keep dreaming.
Mets. This isn’t a very realistic option, especially considering the crosstown rivals rarely do business. However, this is more about getting Stanton to both waive this no-trade clause and also stay in New York. Add the Mets rebuilding and Cashman has an opening.
What if the veteran GM approached Mets owner Steve Cohen and offered up Stanton in exchange for offloading some payroll in Queens? For argument’s sake, we’ll say Jeff McNeil. The odds of the trade actually happening are a hair above zero, but Cashman should still call Cohen and ask.
Angels. Ohtani’s inevitable departure from Orange County leaves the Halos without a real draw beside Mike Trout. At least until Mickey Moniak proves he’s here to stay. Here, Stanton gets to come home and also potentially play for former Yankees coach Phil Nevin.
More importantly, Cashman should pursue trading Giancarlo Stanton to the Angels for one reason: owner Arte Moreno might be crazy enough to cover all remaining salary. As to a return, Cashman can just pick who he likes from the scrap heap that is the Angels’ farm system.
Phillies. This deal would be a big gamble but Cashman can at least ask Phils president Dave Dombrowski. The Yankees should offer Giancarlo Stanton for Kyle Schwarber. Nothing more, nothing less. The deal helps both teams.
The Phillies get Stanton, who essentially provides what Schwarber does but also hits above the Mendoza Line. New York gets a big lefty bat, not to mention a former Cashman trade target. Schwarber won’t hit pretty and will essentially be another Joey Gallo. He will, however, be the opposite of his big lefty predecessor and at least hit consistent home runs.
Dombrowski might also want prospects to offset the cost of an aging veteran. So long as he’s not asking for the whole farm, both sides should hammer out a deal.
Rangers. 20 years after the A-Rod trade, what if the Yankees swung another deal with Texas involving Stanton? Money is no object, what with management spending close to $1 billion in free agency the last two years. One more big bat in the lineup also puts the Rangers over the top in the AL West.
It also helps that Texas has some intriguing prospects, namely pitcher and former college star Jack Leiter. He’s struggled with walks and might benefit from a change of scenery, preferably one involving pitching coach Matt Blake. Leiter is also no stranger to New York, having grown up in North Jersey. His father Al also played for both the Yankees and Mets.
Texas might not be at the top of Stanton’s list location-wise, but the Rangers have something special brewing in Arlington. Just sell him on the chance to win.
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