The trade for Giancarlo Stanton always seemed to be “off”. With no timetable to return from injury, THIS Yankees team is better without him…
When Giancarlo Stanton came to the Yankees in a trade with the dismantling Miami Marlins, the consensus was that Brian Cashman had pulled off yet another of his magical deals with an unsuspecting partner.
Fresh off an MVP season, adding Stanton to Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez in the Yankees lineup brought wild anticipation to the team and their fans for the upcoming 2018 season. Talk about the Evil Empire resurfaced as Yankee haters cried foul.
As it turned out, Aaron Judge missed a good portion of the season due to a wrist injury, and Gary Sanchez had a nightmare season not only defensively but with the bat as well. For his part, Stanton appeared in 158 games, hit 38 home runs and drove in an even 100.
But over the course of the season, it seemed that Stanton had an unnerving propensity to emerge as the rally killer in the lineup. Striking out one of every three at-bats in which he didn’t walk, Stanton amassed 211 strikeouts, and every one of them appeared to come when the Yankees needed most to put the ball in play.
While The Cat’s Away, Other Yankees Are Excelling
Fast forwarding to this season finds Stanton appearing in only nine games while the Yankees have taken off without him. Stanton’s aborted attempt to return to the field lasted only a week before he was put back on the shelf on June 25, where he remains today with no timetable given by Aaron Boone for his return.
Brian Cashman gave us a peek into his thinking about Stanton when he obtained Edwin Encarnacion. On the surface, that deal appeared to be another of those, “What the hell, if he’s available who not take him”, and eerily reminded of the Stanton trade. And the jury is still out on Encarnacion and his .145 batting average over 17 games with the Yankees.
But the point about Giancarlo Stanton remains, and it is this. The 2019 version of the Yankees is far different from the team they fielded last season when Stanton was viewed as an integral part of the team’s offense.
DJ LeMahieu, together with Gio Urshela and Luke Voit have given the Yankees a new look offensively. They put the ball in play consistently and they can be counted on to be in the regular lineup every day. Plus, the regeneration of Gary Sanchez has all but replaced the need for another power bat.
On THIS team, Stanton Is Surplus
So, what am I getting at if you haven’t already guessed? Giancarlo Stanton is, and you can argue always has been, surplus as a Yankee. Moreover, while not approaching the territory of Sonny Gray and his deer in the headlights demeanor as a Yankee, Stanton does not appear comfortable in his transition from nowheresville in Miami to the bright lights of New York.
The next question, of course, is who might be a suitor for Stanton if the Yankees decide to move him? Before we go there, it’s more than possible the Yankees may not need to make the move. Stanton has an opt-out following the 2020 season, which if he’d like out of New York is a perfect time to make it happen.
That aside though, the elephant in the room is that big contract. You know, the one that guarantees Stanton an average salary of around $29 million per year through the 2028 season, when Stanton will be 38. (Source: Baseball Reference)
Turn the clock back a bit to when Stanton was the daily topic of trade talks before Derek Jeter hooked up with Brian Cashman. Where was Stanton rumored to be going back then? The Dodgers, the Angels, and the Giants – all West Coast teams with deep pockets – were all in play on Stanton. And there’s no reason to believe they wouldn’t be in again.
Coming Up – Trout, Stanton, and Ohtani Back To Back
Of the three teams, the Angels need to find a partner for Mike Trout, who is playing his prime years in obscurity on a team going nowhere. If need be, Trout can be approached to defer some of the big money owed to him, in return for a chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2014.
For the Yankees, any trade involving Stanton is all about money and relieving payroll. The players received are of little consequence. With Austin Romine due to hit free agency at the end of this season, Cashman could target either Kevan Smith (preferred) or Dustin Garneau to replace Romine if the Yankees can’t or decide not to re-sign him.
To reiterate, the Yankees are having an outstanding season without Giancarlo Stanton. It’s not an accident. I’ll listen to any coherent argument explaining why the Yankees shouldn’t do everything possible during the offseason to trade Stanton, or at the latest at the trade deadline next season.
Surplus inventory is never a good thing for any business…