Looking Ahead at the Stanton Contract
The trade for Giancarlo Stanton has certainly generated a lot of buzz, and has added a jolt of excitement to the Hot Stove. One point of concern for Yankee fans is his huge contract, especially coming off of the bad ending of Alex Rodriguez’s mega-deal signed after the 2007 season.
There has been twelve $200 million plus contracts signed in Major League Baseball through the 2017 season. Of the twelve, four were signed by players age 28 or younger:
Alex Rodriguez (age 25), ten-year contract in 2001. Batted .299/.394./.577, averaging 42 home runs and 124 RBIs per season over the next ten years. Won three MVP awards.
Joey Votto (28), twelve-year contract in 2012. Batted .314/.445/.533 in first six years of the deal. Finished in the top ten of MVP voting four times.
Clayton Kershaw (26), seven-year contract in 2014. Had had a 1.99 ERA in first four years of the pact. Has won one Cy Young Award; finshed at least in the top-five Cy Young voting each season.
Prince Fielder (28), nine-year contract in 2012 – Career ended due to injury after five years. Was an all-star three of those seasons.
Giancarlo Stanton signed his contract prior to the 2015 season when he was 25; he will be entering his age 28 season in 2018 with ten years left on the deal.
Had Rodriguez stuck with the original ten-year deal, it would have been considered very successful. Votto and Kershaw have continued to perform at high levels through half of their contracts, though Votto’s deal could be troublesome in a few years. Fielder performed well when healthy.
The most notorious of the $200 million men have been Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera and Rodriguez’s contract signed with the Yankees after opting out of his first deal in 2007. All signed after the player had turned 30, and the duration of the deals were at least to age 40. All of these contracts either ended with the club eating a lot of money (Rodriguez) or aren’t looking very good right now, as Pujols has four years, $114 million left on his pact and Cabrera has six seasons and a whopping $184 million remaining on his (not counting vesting options). Both players slugged under .400 in 2017.
Stanton’s contract runs through age 37, with a team option for one more season afterwards. While Giancarlo has shown a tendency to get hurt, history has shown that he has a good chance to perform capably through the contact, and may not have the bad ending that others have experienced.
Stanton can opt out after the 2020 season, when he will turn 31. Should he opt out, history shows that Yankee management should think long and hard before extending him.