The Yankees’ concern about the inability of Giancarlo Stanton to stay on the playing field is mushrooming. If not corrected, pay for play feeler is coming.
The Yankees continue to publicly support Giancarlo Stanton’s ongoing bout with injuries that keep him on the sidelines. But internally, they have to be fuming. Perhaps they’re too proud to say it, but this is – and should be – all about the money.
You bought it, so you own it.
Yes, but if the car you purchased yesterday started only eighteen times last year, and you can only wonder how many times it’ll start this year – you might be thinking about looking up The Lemon Law in your state seeking retribution. No?
Can The Yankees Cry Foul?
The Yankees, because they are the New York Yankees, walk a fine line when it comes to disputes with their players about money.
Recall, for instance, the public furor that was raised when team President Randy Levine humiliated Dellin Betances following their win in a 2017 arbitration case – a dispute that cost the Yankees far more in the lousy press than the $2 million they “won” with Betances.
Back to Giancarlo Stanton. Last year, he was paid one-and-a-half million dollars for each of his at-bats. Injury-riddled all season, Stanton managed to step on the field only eighteen times.
See the light At The End Of The Tunnel?
This year, he is already sidelined in Spring Training with something new going on in his calf and is not likely to answer the bell on Opening Day.
Stanton is now 30, and he is due to haul down another $26 million for his services in 2020. Overall, the Yankees are on the hook for the remaining portion of a contract that will take Stanton to the ripe old age of 38, and an additional $200 million.
There’s no Lemon Law in Major League Baseball. There’s almost no law.
In law, that’s called precedent, and as such, that scenario can be applied to future similar cases.
Stanton, unlike Cespedes, who insisted he fell in a hole because he was chased by a wild boar causing an injury, has played by all the rules a professional athlete is expected to abide by to take care of his body (as far as we know).
Yankees: No Lemon Law? Get Creative
But the results are the same. Neither car starts regularly. And the consumer, in this case, the Yankees, should be entitled to reparations for services not rendered.
Insurance, the Yankees, have on Stanton is not likely to apply since it hasn’t been one or two significant injuries that have kept him out of action.
For instance, the injury he has now is a brand spanking new one in a series dating back to Stanton’s days with the Marlins.
Which, by the way, bears more than a mention. Because Stanton’s career is littered with injury and lost time.
First, it was a knee injury and then an abdomen strain that sucked 39 games from his 2012 season. In 2013, it was the shoulder, thigh, and ankle injuries that cost him 46 games.
In 2015, Stanton incurred a broken hamate bone that caused him to miss 4-6 weeks. Overall, he played 150 games in a season just once in his six years with the Marlins. He’s batting one for two with the Yankees in the same regard.
Is Giancarlo Stanton the unluckiest ballplayer on the face of the planet? Should we, as fans, feel some empathy toward him? Perhaps.
And after all, Stanton himself is as frustrated as the rest of us. Yesterday, he told the New York Daily News: “I mean it makes it seem like I didn’t take care of myself, you know? Which makes it more frustrating. I don’t have much more for you guys.”
Yes, But The Car Is Still Sitting In The Driveway
Still, that doesn’t excuse the car that sits in the driveway because it won’t start.
And so it is that the Yankees may need to cross a bridge they never saw coming. Their approach with Stanton need not be filled with anger. Instead, a simple question to open up a dialog – “Giancarlo, any chance we can work out something more equitable here?”
Yankees: We Can Work It Out
Stanton is not Jacoby Ellsbury, who (literally) robbed the Yankees blind. And you don’t win an MVP as Stanton did the year before he came to the Yankees – and lose that feeling of pride and achievement overnight.
Options within a reworked contract can perhaps include deferred monies that would allow the Yankees to invest (and earn a substantial interest on) the amount of Stanton’s salary that is deferred.
The Mets, for instance, pay Bobby Bonilla, who last appeared in a game in 2001, $1.1 million a year until 2035.
But it barely costs the team anything because they wisely invested the money long ago.
The significance of deferred money is it is applied differently and to the advantage of a team towards its luxury tax threshold.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
The solution everyone wishes for is that Giancarlo Stanton stays healthy and can help the Yankees win a few Championships. But more and more, it’s looking like that is but a dream.