Things just got interesting for the Major League leader in home runs and highest paid player in baseball. 27 year-old Giancarlo Stanton has cleared waivers. Before we get into how the Yankees fit into this, let’s quickly go over what exactly clearing waivers means.
There is no risk involved for a player to be put on waivers. A good portion of players clear waivers past the non-waiver trade deadline, which is why you see trades in August.
There is a three step process when a player is put on waivers. When a player is put on waivers, if more than one team claims him, the team in the same league gets priority. If they are both in the same league, the team with the worse record gets priority over the other. Here is what happens when a player is claimed.
1, The team the player is on has the right to pull back and keep him.
2. Negotiate a trade with the claiming team.
3. Let the player go, forcing the claiming team to take full responsibility for the remaining contract.
None of these options are available for the Miami Marlins and Stanton, so they are free to trade him to whichever team they like. Stanton has a no-trade clause in his contract, but Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports says there is 0% chance of that being an obstacle.
Stanton has a whopping 10 years, $295 million left on his contract. Here’s some quick cold hard facts about the Marlins:
- They are 28th in the majors this year in home average attendance. They finished 27th in 2016 and 28th again in 2015. Stars like Stanton want to play for contenders with big crowds.
- They have never finished over .500 with him on the team.
- 2010: 80-82
- 2011: 72-90
- 2012: 69-93
- 2013: 62-100
- 2014: 77-85
- 2015: 71-91
- 2016: 79-82
- 2017: 57-60 (as of August 15th)
- The Marlins have one of the worst farm systems in all of baseball. They aren’t getting better anytime soon.
With the team about to be under new ownership control by Derek Jeter and friends, in addition to Giancarlo playing the best baseball of his career, it makes for the perfect opportunity to trade him now. Historically, he is an injury-prone player whose value will never he higher than it is now. If ownership wants to tear it down to build it back up in their own way, then moving Stanton and his $295 million remaining contract could be the first item on their to-do list, besides taking down that stupid fish fountain in center field.
Enter the New York Yankees.
Realistically, how many teams can afford to take on Stanton’s entire contract? Probably five: New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Los Angeles Angels.
The Yankees do not have have much tied up in contracts in the future. The only players they have signed past 2018 are Jacoby Ellsbury, Masahiro Tanaka, Aroldis Chapman, and Starlin Castro. Players like Didi Gregorius, Sonny Gray, Dellin Betances, and Tommy Kahnle will cost more but will be under team control at a very good price. Young stars like Luis Severino, Gary Sanchez, and Aaron Judge have years until they can break the bank.
There are two major IFs when it comes to Stanton becoming a Yankee. Are the Marlins really going to move the face of the franchise and a guy who is showing this season how special he can be? Then on the other side, do the Yankees want to take over a $300 million contract overnight? Especially when they have been making it clear that they are being very cautious on how they spend their money.
If the Steinbrenners and Cashman can’t avoid the temptation of creating a powerful middle of the order that features Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez, then they will pay the price. They are the Yankees. When they want to spend their money, there is no stopping them,
This is where it becomes a balancing act. In a perfect world for the Marlins, they trade Stanton and his entire deal as well as receiving top prospects in return. With little leverage, they won’t get both. If they want better prospects, they will have to take a bad contact in return or still eat some of the Stanton deal.
For the Yankees, their perfect world might include a scenario where the Marlins take Ellsbury’s remaining three-year, $63 million contract, and in return they will throw in more prospects than they would other wise. Here’s a few packages:
- Jacoby Ellsbury, Clint Frazier, Miguel Andujar, Dillion Tate, Tyler Wade, Albert Abreu
- Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, Miguel Andujar
- Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield, Dillion Tate, Tyler Wade
- Clint Frazier, Miguel Andujar, Chance Adams
This could be a complete fantasy scenario, but if the Marlins are really going to move Stanton, then the Yankees are very much in play to add the best home run hitter in the major leagues today. What will that cost them? That is the $295 million question.