Giancarlo Stanton: Little to lose much to gain with opt out from Yankees

Giancarlo Stanton - Man with a decision (USA Today)

Giancarlo Stanton gets one shot only at free agency, and it comes this year via an opt-out clause in his contract. It’s not a reach he may take the gamble.

Giancarlo Stanton is the poster child for a superstar ballplayer who said yes to a long-term contract (13 years at $325 million), and all the ramifications that came with it.

Every penny is guaranteed, and he also has a full no-trade clause that requires his approval before the Yankees or any other team can swap him to another club.
Jeffrey Loria, Former Owner Miami Marlins

That’s the right side of the choice Giancarlo Stanton made when it looked like Miami Owner Jeffrey Loria was serious about owning a baseball club and was willing to invest in a winning team.

But for all the financial freedom and security that Stanton gained, he also lost a good amount of his identity and liberty.

The no-trade clause turned out to be useless when Brian Cashman and the Yankees came calling in 2017 with an offer to acquire Stanton from the Marlins and its newly enshrined owner, Derek Jeter.

Giancarlo Stanton, no dummy with regards to the business of baseball, recognized full and well that Jeter was in the process of stripping his payroll, and that soon he would be the last man standing if he did not okay the trade to the Yankees.

In short order, a potential playoff team that included Christian Yelich, Sergio Romo, J.T. Realmuto, Marcell Ozuna, Justin Bour, and Dee Gordon would all be sent elsewhere.

Meanwhile, for the Yankees, the trade for Giancarlo Stanton was met with a variety of reactions ranging from:

  • How can you turn down a deal for the current Most Valuable Player in the National League to:
  • Don’t we already have enough outfielders? To:
  • What are you crazy, Brian? All that money imprisons the Yankees for years. To:
  • What the hell, we haven’t won anything for a decade – let’s see what he can do.

In truth, Giancarlo Stanton has meant little to the success or failure of the Yankees since his arrival.

Giancarlo Stanton - too much muscle for baseball? (Photo:
Giancarlo Stanton – too much muscle for baseball? (Photo:

His marquee year with the Yankees yielded 38 home runs and 100 RBI, but nothing in the postseason where it all matters (BOS zero HR’s, zero RBI, with six strikeouts in eighteen at-bats).

In sum, it’s fair to say that the marriage between Giancarlo Stanton and the Yankees has been a rocky road,

Especially, when you factor in the rash of injuries he suffered, limiting him to a cameo appearance in 2019.

Giancarlo Stanton: Should I Stay Or Should I Go

All of which brings us back to where we started and Stanton’s future decision to stay or go.

As an oft-injured player, together with decreasing chances, he will be allowed to show he can remain healthy and produce in a shortened 2020 season, Giancarlo Stanton is mostly on his own.

Aaron Judge - Face of the New York Yankees (Photo: CBS Sports)
Aaron Judge – Face of the New York Yankees (Photo: CBS Sports)

What matters to him? If he’s looking for the spotlight on a team, forget it with the Yankees. That seat is and will always be occupied by the fan and front-office favorite, Aaron Judge.

To what degree is his pedigree motivated to win, accumulating World Titles along the way?

And if he leaves the Yankees who always will be there in it to win it, what are Giancarlo Stanton’s remaining choices among teams?

But superseding all is the reality that this is Stanton’s last chance to determine the future course of his career. He is not eligible for free agency again until 2028 when he will be 38 years old – with how much if anything left in the tank?

Giancarlo Stanton: Getting The Feelers Out

It is a violation of league rules for Giancarlo Stanton or another major league team to engage in “talks” about the future while he is under contract with the Yankees.

But that does not negate “emissaries” sent from the stable of his agent, Joel Wolfe, having a quiet dinner with team reps.

Giancarlo Stanton: Before it all began (High School, California)
Giancarlo Stanton: Before it, all began (High School, California)

First things first, though – roots. Giancarlo Stanton is a California born and raised as a favorite son who was drafted out of high school by the Marlins. He is the youngest of three children born to Michael Stanton and Jacinta Garay.

His siblings are Egidio Carlos Moacir Garay Stanton (ten years older) and Kyrice Valivia (two years older). He was raised in the Tujunga area of Los Angeles and grew up a Los Angeles Dodgers fan.

California boasts five major league teams, all of whom would place Stanton in closer proximity to his family and his roots. But – his choice is not that wide if he opts out.

And by the way, we’re assuming he has no interest in playing for the Tigers, Orioles, or any team going nowhere for several years.

While the Dodgers seem to be the most logical destination for Stanton, and he was a topic of much discussion during the trade rumors before the Yankees grabbed him, the door closes pretty quickly unless one thing happens.

A Universal Designated Hitter Changes Everything

Giancarlo Stanton, at 31, is only going to get older. This will increasingly limit his ability to play in the field, relegating him to a role as Designated Hitter.

A universal DH is an experiment MLB will embark on to accommodate the coronavirus restrictions this season. If it proves to be popular, the DH will gain traction to become permanent in the National League – thus offering a lifeline to players like Stanton.

Otherwise, Giancarlo Stanton, if he chooses to opt-out, has only one (realistic) destination – the Los Angeles Angels.

Angels Owner Arte Moreno giving a small fortune to Josh Hamilton (Photo: SB Nation)
Angels Owner Arte Moreno giving a small fortune to Josh Hamilton (Photo: SB Nation)

The Angels, under the direction of their principal owner, Arte Moreno, have been on the cusp of making a splash in the AL West for several years.

Only to fall short due to the lack of the one or two players capable of putting them over the top, Stanton can be the difference.

Already armed with Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton, Albert Pujols, and newly acquired Anthony Rendon, Moreno and the Angels are dangerous, and they have the money to absorb most or even all of Stanton’s contract.

The Marriage Was A Good Try – Bur Sometimes…

Giancarlo Stanton fell into the lap of the New York Yankees. Brian Cashman woke up one morning, and Derek Jeter was on the line saying – “You want him, you got him.”

But the Yankees never had a genuine need for Stanton. Their lineup of position players was and still is something other teams can only drool over. Judge, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, Aaron Hicks, and Miguel Andujar will produce more than enough runs.

Still, the Yankees do not want to create the impression they are pushing Giancarlo Stanton out the door. And if he chooses not to opt-out, it won’t be the end of the world for the financially robust franchise.

Giancarlo Stanton: A Baseball Story Worth Following

The story attached to the imminent decision by Giancarlo Stanton to opt-out of his contract with the Yankees is more than a baseball story because it reaches into the humanity of the men who play this game for a living.

Where does Stanton belong, and more significantly, where does he think he belongs?

Crossroads (Photo: istock)
Crossroads (Photo: istock)

The money is big, and he is most likely the last of a dying breed of major league ballplayers who will be offered a long-term contract of his kind.

With it comes complications, however, and Giancarlo Stanton is facing one of the biggest.

The opt-out is the only chance he will have to control his fate, even with a no-trade clause, which already has proven once to be a charade when faced with reality.

My instincts suggest Giancarlo Stanton is meant to play elsewhere – not because he, like others, can’t survive in New York – but because he can never thrive there. Opt-out and move on.

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.