Giancarlo Stanton is not tradeable. That much we know. But there is an alternate strategy the Yankees can try to relieve his weight on the payroll.
When Giancarlo Stanton gave his okay on a trade to the Bronx in December 2017, the Yankees were flying high, and the inheritance of a gargantuan $325 million contract was an afterthought buried in dreams of another 1990s run of championships.
Greg Bird was still the “best pure hitter on the team” according to Brian Cashman, CC Sabathia was still a young 36, coming off a 2017 season in which he won 14 of 19 decisions, and Gary Sanchez was living up to the hype smacking 33 home runs and driving in 90 runs.
Aaron Judge and his 52 home runs owned New York City, and there was already talk of him as the next team captain of the Yankees.
In short, the Baby Bombers were in full bloom, and Giancarlo Stanton‘s presence seemed to many to be a case of overkill.
Some dreams become nightmares, though, and before you know it, you wake up in a startled sweat as the Yankees are today – wondering – what the hell happened here?
Giancarlo Stanton And The Wilting Of A Dream
We know what happened and so do the Yankees and Stanton himself. Injuries and the ensuing loss of playing time killed the dream, and today the weight of Giancarlo Stanton’s contract is an albatross the team must endure for the rest of this decade.
There are no villains in this tale. A delirious and out-of-control Jeffrey Lorie offered Giancarlo Stanton a generous contract as the Miami Marlins owner, and Stanton, as any of us would, jumped at the chance to sign his name to it.
For the Yankees, well, what is there to say about adding the reigning National League Most Valuable Player to your team?
The time is now, though, the world is different, and baseball is not immune to the negative financial impact of the COVID-19 virus.
Believe it or not, and I’ve challenged it here before, it doesn’t really matter, though, as Hal Steinbrenner slammed on the payroll brakes in the name of losses last year “greater than any team in baseball.”
With that backdrop, the $36 million due to Gerrit Cole in 2021, plus the $29 million owed to Giancarlo Stanton, translates into about thirty percent of the team’s payroll – figured at the maximum amount of $210 million before this year’s luxury tax kicks in.
Put that against the Yankees’ relentless pursuit of DJ LeMahieu, no matter what the cost, and the team’s obvious need for starting pitching, an expensive commodity no matter where you look, and the conundrum (ultimately) facing Brian Cashman becomes all too apparent.
Stanton And The Yankees – A Possible Compromise
All right, enough foreplay, let’s get to the point.
If we accept what virtually everyone says is true – Giancarlo Stanton is untradeable, and the Yankees are “stuck” with him until his contract expires at the age of 39 – is that really the end of options available to the Yankees?
Here’s a clue, though, as to a possible solution.
In Spotrac’s detailed account of Stanton’s contract, we find that there is a deferred $10 million applied to his yearly salary in the last three years.
This indicates Giancarlo Stanton is not only familiar with, but he has already agreed to the concept of deferred salaries.
To state the obvious, Stanton will be a young man when he “retires” from baseball. With life expectancy for males pushing eighty, the so-called best years of his life will lay before him.
Therefore, is deferred income, not a hook the Yankees can pursue as a win-win for both sides?
Giancarlo Stanton – Character Counts
Before we go there, though, let’s make an important assumption about Giancarlo Stanton and his lifestyle, meaning that with the $99,487,630 he has earned to date, he has invested a good portion of it wisely, collecting dividends and interest yearly.
So, he is not and will never join the ranks of players like Curt Schilling (right), Lenny Dykstra, Jack Clark, and so many more who squandered and lost everything the millions earned during their playing days.
Second, we assume that Giancarlo Stanton bears some level of responsibility – short of the word guilt – for his inability to show up ready to play due to injuries that happen with any player.
Crossing that threshold, isn’t it fair to assume that Giancarlo Stanton will be open to deferring a good portion of the (estimated) $200 million remaining on his contract.
Pick a number, any number – they’ll negotiate the real one – let’s say $10 million as a yearly salary for Stanton beginning today, a reduction of about $20 million from the money owed to him.
A Giancarlo Stanton Payment Plan That Can Work
I don’t want to get carried away with numbers here, the terms are negotiable, and I am certainly not an investment banker, but you can see the concept we are building, leaving plenty of money still on the table to be played with.
And by the way, the Barry Bonilla thing with the Mets is overplayed, and it should not be a deterrent for the Yankees and Giancarlo Stanton to pursue a settlement of their own, screw the ignorant souls who will boo him on Old Timer’s Day in 2054.
The Yankees are in deep doo-do, facing an inflated payroll they inflicted on themselves.
But it’s not as if they don’t have the money to pay Stanton. Rather, it only pertains to the strain that his salary puts on team payroll related to the luxury tax threshold.
As an experiment, and you can see the results for yourself here, if the Yankees, with the lure to Giancarlo Stanton of the team winning championships, were to purchase a modest $5 million annuity against his 2021 salary today, adding a million more each year for the next ten years, interest (profit) earned will have totaled almost twenty million dollars – and the principal would still be there!
Stanton – “I Want To Win Championships” – Prove It!
Critics will say, and they are correct – why can’t Stanton do it himself – reaping the profits alone?
But that’s the wrong take if we assume that Stanton’s stated goal is to win as many team championships as possible on many occasions as a professional ballplayer.
If we don’t assume that, and Stanton is not interested in making a relatively small sacrifice for the team, he should be barred from Yankee Stadium.
Acceding to the whim that Giancarlo Stanton is untradeable, and therefore the Yankees may as well fold their tent for the remainder of this decade is unacceptable.
The worst the Yankees can do is to approach Stanton in a sitdown, with his agent in tow if necessary, to ask a simple question – what can we do to make this better?
They’ll never know if they don’t ask.