While Giancarlo Stanton’s contract is guaranteed, nothing prevents a restructuring of the agreement – if Stanton says okay…
Giancarlo Stanton, without argument and through no fault of his, has the Yankees in a team payroll bind that forces them to navigate this offseason with one arm tied behind their back.
Update: 12/26/20 11:35 EST
Comments are rolling in objecting and pointing specifically to a time when Alex Rodriguez worked out a deal with the Red Sox to be traded to the team. The Player’s Union vetoed the trade, as within their rights, but only because A-Rod agreed to accept less money than the value of his original contract. (Reference Here)
Stanton’s deal, if agreed to, would be for the same money – but reformatted in a different manner. Steve Contursi, Author
To alleviate the problem, I proposed in an article published yesterday that the Yankees attempt to engage Stanton to defer a substantial amount of the estimated $218 million, the amount left from the original $325 million agreement that he signed when still a member of the Miami Marlins.
The article was generally well-received, if only from the standpoint of being something the Yankees should put on the table in discussion with Stanton and his agent Joel Wolfe, who negotiated the original deal with the Marlins.
Can Giancarlo Stanton‘s Contract Be Restructured
However, several comments came asking me – are you sure a restructuring can be done within the confines of MLB and the Major League Baseball Player’s Association (MLBPA)?
It turns out I wasn’t sure, so I decided to do some research to clarify what can and cannot be done. Here are those findings.
- While the NBA and NFL routinely agree to restructure their higher-paid players’ contracts as a means of exercising a league-imposed salary cap to their advantage, the practice is not as widespread in baseball.
Still, there is legal precedence in baseball, allowing the practice. (examples follow)
- An MLB team cannot, however, reduce the value of a player’s contract unilaterally. For instance, the Yankees cannot threaten Giancarlo Stanton or any of their players with a demotion to the minor leagues unless they agree to reduce their salary.
- The crux of the matter is this. A player such as Stanton can negotiate a restructuring of their contract – if he agrees and with the proviso, MLB and the MLBPA will have input and tacit approval.
Clearly, if the Yankees were to pursue anything of this nature with Stanton at this point, it cannot be done in the public domain. Giancarlo Stanton’s standing in the Yankee’s fan base and generally with the public places him in the crosshairs of a sticky situation.
Stanton: Clearly, The Ball Is In His Court
But the point, actually a question, is this. To what degree does a ballplayer have an obligation to do anything he can to help his team win, and in this case, to continue the Yankee’s tradition of earning World Series Championships?
With nearly $100 million deposited in his bank account to date, is it fair to say that Giancarlo Stanton is a wealthy young man, who by most measurements, is “set for life”?
And if that is true, is it not also fair to suggest that Stanton, who is entering the waning years of a career that shows not a single ring earned, is ready and eager to do something that increases the chances of his team earning that elusive #28, and many more?
Who can know (certainly not me) the inner thoughts of Giancarlo Stanton as a young man with the genuine chance of living on this planet for the next half-century? Or, for that matter, what the inner workings of the Yankees have in store for the team for the remainder of this decade?
MLB Precedent For Deferred Money Is There
What we do know is this. There is precedent for a player agreeing to a restructuring of a previously agreed to deal – in an effort designed to approve the team.
Dempster, a right-hander, slated to earn $12.5 million for 2010, agreed to defer $3 million of his salary, with the Cubs paying him the money in three installments each February from 2011-13.
When the Reds added two years to Rolen’s existing deal, the third baseman agreed to convert his $11 million salaries for 2010 to a $6 million salary and a $5 million signing bonus paid over three years without interest.
More recently, the contract signed by Christian Yelich with the small-market but still trying hard to make it Milwaukee Brewers has provisions that will deposit a check into his account every year until 2042.
That’s the way it’s done when you have two parties on the same page.
Stanton And The Yankees Contractual Quagmire
Between Gerrit Cole and Stanton, their annual salary consumes thirty-percent of the team’s overall payroll based on this year’s luxury tax limit of $210 million. For two players, that is not manageable.
Now go ahead and say it – the Yankees did it to themselves – so too bad. At least concerning Stanton, there is merit to that argument.
But that was yesterday, and this is now. Point fingers and blame, but what does that change?
Let’s back up for a moment to last year when Brian Cashman led a contingent of Yankee front office personnel to the home of Gerrit Cole, whereupon they walked in with a case of previously researched wine as his favorite – just talking and simultaneously wooing Cole and his spouse to the benefits of being a New York Yankee.
It can be said that Cole was probably leaning in their direction, to begin with, based on his life-long devotion to the Yankees as a fan, but it was the nature of the effort made by the Yankees that sealed the deal.
The Power Of – They Want Me
They want me says a lot about the way players look at things in the long run. For example, James McCann could have signed with any number of teams this year, but he chose the Mets. Why? – because he knew he would be an instrumental part of a franchise that was on a trajectory of winning – not just today but tomorrow as well.
Sorry if the pressure is too much on you to make this decision Giancarlo Stanton. Given your inability to stay on the playing field consistently, you are an integral part of this Yankees team – but you are also a hindrance to their success no matter how many home runs you hit this year or next.
Just Putting It Out There…
In yesterdays’ article, we outlined the math that overwhelmingly supports deferring a significant portion of your guaranteed salary to the days when grandchildren will be sitting on your knee. At the same time, you reminisce about the glory days of being a New York Yankee, with the rings to prove it.
Charge me with being naive, and I don’t care. But if the Yankees have any assurance that Stanton will play in at least 130 games, coming at or near the numbers he produced as an MVP with the Marlins and his first year with the Yankees, this conversation becomes moot.
But if your money is worth the bookmakers’ odds in Las Vegas, a sucker bets that Giancarlo Stanton will even appear on the lengthy list of candidates for the 2021 MVP in the American League.
Something has to give between Stanton and the Yankees because otherwise, the chances of ongoing playoff appearances with no trophy in hand will continue.
After the holidays, Brian should consider getting on a plane to California to discuss the future with Giancarlo Stanton.
Keep it under the radar where it belongs. Yankee fans and the team itself are owed at least that much.