Giancarlo Stanton To The Yankees?

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Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Damian Dydyn runs through the different scenarios that the New York Yankees could employ to bring Giancarlo Stanton to the Bronx.

The rumors will continue to swirl about Giancarlo Stanton going to Boston. Even Jimmy Kimmel got in on the action (Red Sox talk starts at 4:50). It seems like an obvious fit from 10,000 feet. When you look more closely, that idea starts to unravel quickly, however. That said, the Marlins are going to shop him and teams are going to line up to make their offers. One team not really getting much attention on this front is the New York Yankees.

Again, from afar, it makes sense that they wouldn’t be a bidder for Stanton’s services. They are hell-bent on getting under the luxury tax threshold to prep for the massive free agent class due to hit the market in the winter of 2018-2019 winter with Bryce Harper as their most obvious target.

But there isn’t any guarantee that Harper will actually hit the market next winter, or that he’d sign with the Yankees if he did. Plenty of teams will have money to spend and all of them would like slotting Harper into their lineupsoutfields. Sure, the Yankees would be one of the favorites to win the bidding, but what if they could preempt that market by trading for Stanton this winter? Stanton is every bit the hitter Harper is. And he’s no slouch with the glove either, so you’re getting a very similar player (perhaps even a slightly better one) only you’d be paying about $10M less in AAV on the contract.

A lot can happen between now and next winter, but with the commonly held belief being that he’s headed for at least a 10 year $40M contract, you have to think that general manager Brian Cashman would be tempted by the 10 years and $295M left on Stanton’s contract. Yes, Stanton is an injury risk, but so is Harper averaging just 125.8 games per season over the course of the last five years, as compared to 122.6 for Stanton over the same span.

So how likely is it that the Yankees swoop in and land the game’s premier power bat to slot in next to the game’s other premier power bat, Aaron Judge? The first question we have to ask is: Can the Yankees afford Stanton’s contract while staying under the threshold? Yes, they’d no longer need to pay Harper next winter, but they may want to bid on Machado or Kershaw, who has an opt-out.

Cot’s Baseball Contracts has the Yankees at about $156M next year with the Luxury Tax Threshold increasing to $197M. Stanton’s contract will have an AAV of $29.5M if he is traded. That puts the Yankees at around $186M while still having a full rotation (Chance Adams replaces C.C. Sabathia), one of the game’s best bullpens, and no holes in the lineup to fill. Masahiro Tanaka has an opt-out, but even if he exercises it, he’s likely looking for more years, not more money, and a slight raise doesn’t change the calculus all that much.

Plus, the Yankees have a few options for shedding some payroll if they need to. Chase Headley could be traded in a salary dump with Ronald Torreyes or Miguel Andujar handling third base until Gleyber Torres is ready and. Greg Bird has solidified his claim on first base. Headley is very expendable and is being paid $13M. They could shop Brett Gardner, as well, whose salary is the same as Headley’s. With Clint Frazier ready and Aaron Hicks breaking out, there are plenty of options to fill in around Judge and Stanton in the outfield. Even if Frazier has to be part of the package heading to Miami, Stanton, Hicks, and Judge going from left to right is a terrifying outfield for the rest of the league to have to worry about.

So money isn’t really a problem. What about the cost in prospects?

The Yankees have one of the deepest and highest quality farm systems in the game. Even after graduating as much talent as they have, they are still looking at likely having at least 5 top 100 prospects. The Marlins are looking to seed their next core, so players with 6 years of control are going to be incredibly valuable to them. Derek Jeter is likely to covet names like Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier, but chances are the Yankees won’t have to include both if they are taking on Stanton’s entire contract.

Building around Frazier makes more sense since you are bringing an outfielder back. After that, it’s just a matter of supplementing him with two or three prospects from the Yankees’ top 10. They can afford the cost in chips without breaking a sweat.

So dollars aren’t really a concern and neither are trade chips. The only major hurdle that exists is the possibility that Cashman likes Harper a lot more than he likes Stanton. If that’s not the case, getting out ahead of the free agent market where they would be dropping at least $400M for their new stud outfielder makes all the sense in the world. And it would be a very Brian Cashman move to swoop in against the presumed front-runner Boston Red Sox to snatch him away at the last second.

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Damian grew up smack dab in the middle of Connecticut and was indoctrinated into the culture of Red Sox fandom from the moment he was old enough to start swinging a bat. A number of trips to Fenway park and meeting Ellis Burks at his dad's bar cemented what would become a life long obsession that would pay off in spades in both the recent run of post season success and the extra bit of connection he would have with his father throughout the years. After a brief three year stint living in the Bronx with his wife where he enjoyed leisurely strolls through the neighborhood with a Red Sox t-shirt on to provoke the natives, he settled in Roanoke, Virginia where he can fall out of bed and land at a Salem Red Sox game. Damian is a co-host for SoSHCast (the Sons of Sam Horn podcast) along with Justin Gorman.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Aaron Judge’s breakout season makes the idea that the Yankees need to take on 300-400m in salaries for either Harper or Stanton increasingly unlikely. All three are right fielders who pretty much excel at the same things. And you can’t play more than one right fielder at a time.

    If one costs 500K, another 29M and the third costing up to 40M, who would you choose?

  2. You can move Stanton to left. And the whole push to get under the LT threshold is so they can spend big next winter with the consensus target being Harper. So the more relevant question is Stanton at 30 million AAV or Harper at 40?

    Cashman isn’t working to get under the LT threshold for the sake of being under.

  3. let’s trade for Stanton and sign Harper, cuz why tf not. Another 40 mill comes off the books after next season. Harper prefers CF, his numbers are better there defensively and offensively.

  4. D:

    Harper is signing with the Yankees. Is it cocky to say this? Yes. But there’s a whole Mickey Mantle and pinstripe infatuation that has been well-publicized. He might even do it for a couple mil less/year.

    Good piece though, man.

    AJT

    • I don’t think he’d take less to sign in NY, but even if he did, he’ll still have a higher AAV than Stanton. I think Harper signing is more likely than a Stanton trade, but I (obviously by virtue of having written this, heh) think swooping in and nabbing Stanton from the clutches of Dave Dombrowski would be a thoroughly Cashman move.

      Thanks for the comment.

  5. The Yankees can get rid of Gardner, Elsberry , and go for Harper. I think Stanton would be a distraction to the organization, even though he is good, Judge is better. I feel they should get rid of Batancis also.

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