In Brian Cashman We Trust.
Christmas came early for New York Yankees fans, as the Yankees finalized a deal for 28 year old superstar Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton signed the biggest contract in sports history in 2014 with a 13-year, $325 million extension. Just three years later, Giancarlo Stanton is a New York Yankee. Here is what you need to know.
His Contract Breakdown
Yes Stanton still has a huge contract, but for the Yankees, it’s still pretty team-friendly considering their situation.
Here’s Stanton’s contract broken down.
2018: (28 years old): $25 million
2019: $26 million
2020: $26 million***
2021: $29 million
2022: $29 million
2023: $32 million
2024: $32 million
2025: $32 million
2026: $29 million
2027: $25 million
2028: $25 million team option/$10 million buyout.
One key here that is going under the radar is that Stanton has an opt-out after the 2020 season. Will he opt-out and leave $233 million on the table? At age 30, probably not, but if he sees the likes of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado getting $35-$40 million a year, he might think he can get that as well.
The Yankees Payroll
This is the only reason why this trade makes financial sense for the Yankees. Yes I know it’s the Yankees and it seems like they have Monopoly money, but they have made a conscious effort to not just throw money around these past few seasons. Three offseasons ago, they didn’t make one free agent signing (they did however trade for Aroldis Chapman). With Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, and Luis Severino all making pre-arbitration money, they will all make under $1 million next season. Aaron Judge may make a little over $1 million, as Kris Bryant got $1.05 million after his two seasons of being the Rookie of the Year, MVP, and World Series MVP. So if Judge gets around $1 million, I don’t think the Yankees will be crying poor.
The Yankees only have three players making above $20 million next season: Masahiro Tanaka ($22M), Jacoby Ellsbury ($21.1), and Aroldis Chapman ($20M). Before arbitration starts, the rest of the Yankees guaranteed rosters looks like this:
Chase Headley $13 million
David Robertson $13 million
Brett Gardner $11.5 million
Gardner, Robertson, and Headley are all free agents after this season, so they will be off the books. The only post-arbitration players on the books for 2019 are Stanton, Tanaka, Ellsbury, and Chapman. The only player’s contract you can see going up by a large margin in arbitration would be Didi Gregorius.
Starlin Castro, who was sent to Miami, was due to make $10.8, 43% of Stanton’s $25 million. So financially, this trade is an absolutely no brainer when it comes to finances.
When you then add the fact that Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier, two more minimum salary players, will be probably playing huge roles in 2018 and on, it only makes more and more sense. You have to think Torres will be the starting second baseman sooner rather than later. If I had to guess it would be in May or June, so that the Yankees get one more year of control for the #1 prospect in baseball.
So the Yankees could be adding the reigning NL MVP and the #1 prospect in baseball by May.
I’d hate to start comparing this to Kevin Durant and the Warriors, because there’s very little comparison in terms of winning, but it is financially comparable. The only reason why the Warriors were able to sign Kevin Durant was because Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green were all on extremely team-friendly deals, giving the Warriors the cap room to sign KD. Why were they on such great deals? Because they drafted them, just like the Yankees have with Judge, Bird, Sanchez, and Severino (I know Severino and Sanchez weren’t drafted). I only say there’s no comparison with KD and Stanton because in basketball, one player can change your entire franchise. Basketball, that player could have the ball in his for the entire game, mean while in baseball, a player can only do so much in his five at-bats.
Giancarlo Stanton’s Production
Giancarlo Stanton is a generational talent. The one big knock on his has been his injuries. It must be brought up that one of his injuries was a fastball to the face, a freak injury that isn’t going to follow him his entire career. His other injuries include a left groin strain and a left wrist fracture. With Stanton most likely being the Yankees DH, his risk of injury should significantly cut down.
Stanton showed in 2017 what he can do when he’s healthy: 59 home runs, 132 RBIs, 85 walks, .281 average, .631 OBP, and a .631 slugging percentage. He now gets the protection of Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius, and Greg Bird. Aaron Judge now gets the protection of Giancarlo Stanton.
Here is how Stanton is projected to produce as a New York Yankee.
— River Ave. Blues (@RiverAveBlues) December 9, 2017
The Present and Future
Poor Joe Girardi, am I right? Aaron Boone will get the pleasure of batting Judge, Stanton, and Sanchez in any order he wants (whatever Cashman’s analytics say). One little comment people are going to make is how do you break up the righties. My response would be: A) what a great problem to have, and B) Didi can easily break them up, as he batted 4th in the playoffs. Those three also can strike out a lot, but that is also the nature of the game.
In his last three full seasons, Mike Trout has struck out 137, 158, and 184 times. Stanton struck out 163 times last season. It’s not a major concern for me.
Yankees fans have been counting down the days Bryce Harper hits free agency since basically before he even had on MLB at-bat. That time will come this time next year, as both Harper and Manny Machado will hit the market next winter. Does the acquisition of Stanton limit the Yankees from offering them the contract they could demand? Maybe. But at the end of the day these are the New York Yankees we are talking about. Brian Cashman is fully aware of what this trade does for him now, next year, and in 2024. The Yankees are not out on Harper and Machado.
The New York Yankees saw an opportunity to acquire one of the best players in baseball and ran away with it.