The New York Yankees have traded for Giancarlo Stanton to add to their already formidable lineup. Damian Dydyn looks at other options the Yankees have to create a juggernaut in the AL East.
The New York Yankees have traded for Giancarlo Stanton. The package reportedly has Starlin Castro headed to Miami to offset some of Stanton’s 2018 salary, plus two lesser prospects in Jorge Guzman (number 7 in Baseball America’s recently updated Yankees Top 10) and Jose Devers (who was unranked). The Yankees will be absorbing $265M of the $295M left on Stanton’s contract. As written about near the end of October, the Yankees had enough money coming off the books this winter to absorb Stanton’s salary in a trade and still get under the Collective Bargaining Tax threshold of $197M. The Yankees were starting at around $155M in 2018 according to Cot’s, which included an estimate of around $35M in arbitration awards. Adding Stanton’s AAV (25) and then subtracting Castro’s salary (10.85) and the $30M the Marlins are eating spread out over 10 years (3) leaves the Yankees in the neighborhood of $165M.
So what’s next? There is plenty of smoke around the possibility of C.C. Sabathia returning to New York for another season. He made $25M last season, but he wouldn’t be in line for such a lucrative AAV given his decline from the ace he was when he signed his last contract, even though MLBTradeRumors.com estimates he will make only one million less than that.
Sabathia, who will turn 38 next season, posted a 4.49 FIP in 2017, which would have ranked 14th worst among qualified starters had he pitched enough innings to qualify in the first place. He only threw 148.2 innings in 2018, the second-lowest of his career. And while he has out-pitched his peripherals in each of the last two seasons, it would be a bad idea to bet he can do it again, even if you think he can stay healthy for most of the year. Given the trouble he has had with his knees, that would also seem to be a poor wager to make. So I’d bet on the under with MLB Trade Rumors figure, and guess that the Yankees end up offering something closer to $17M,.
And since the Yankees aren’t eating the entire Stanton contract, does that open the door to another high profile move?
Enter Manny Machado. The Orioles are reportedly listening to offers for their stud third baseman as they ponder hitting the reset button. Machado is only under control for one more season (he is a third year arbitration eligible player), but he is one of the names thrown around most when people discuss the Yankees and the 2018-2019 offseason since Bronx Bombers have a long-term need at third base.
Machado made $11.5M last year in arbitration in 2017. The Yankees might be able to squeeze that into their payroll without going back over the threshold, but arbitration awards typically increase year to year. Even though Machado had a down year, he’s likely in line for at least $15M this winter. But fear not, dear Yankees fans readers, the Hollerin’ Hals could package a contract with a prospect or two to go to Baltimore to offset some additional salary. Baltimore’s impetus for moving Machado would, unlike Miami, be stocking their farm, not salary relief. With just one year of control, they wouldn’t be able to pry away Gleyber Torres, but Clint Frazier just became very redundant and would be a great young talent for the O’s to build around.
The Yankees also have plenty of pitching prospect depth and could build a compelling offer around Frazier and someone like Luis Medina (ranked 8th on Baseball America’s listrecently updated Yankees top 10), with some lower levels lotto ticket types to round it out. Perhaps they include Chase Headley, which gives Baltimore a third baseman for the 2018 season and would make Machado’s addition almost salary-neutral. Or maybe it’s Brett Gardner, who is due the same amount. Getting that much talent back might mean the Yankees would have to be given a window to work out an extension before agreeing, but even if the Orioles are just getting Frazier and a lotto ticket or two, that’s probably enough.
And all of this is assuming the Yankees are truly dedicated to getting under that $197M threshold. If history tells us anything, it’s that the Yankees rarely stick to plans for fiscal responsibility. And with the team making it to within one game of the World Series last year, at least a full year ahead of schedule, they clearly smell blood in the water and are intent on maximizing their chances of winning for the foreseeable future. October’s run changed everything, leading to the team preempting the 2018-2019 winter market and landing their corner-outfield slugger right now, so why not jump at a chance to lock up Machado early?
The idea of adding Machado may, at first glance, seem nuts. But so did trading for Stanton a month ago. Cashman has one of the best teams in baseball right now. It’s young, it’s incredibly talented, and it’s hungry. The slow build toward the next great Yankees team is over. Time to put the finishing touches on the next run at a dynasty.
The only question left here at SoSH is: Would the White Sox help us kick off our rebuild by trading us Moncada and Kopech for Sale? (Just kidding… Bring it on Evil Empire!)
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