Perspectives on the Giancarlo Stanton Trade
– Needless to say, I am overjoyed that the Yankees acquired Giancarlo Stanton. I had been beating the Stanton bandwagon for weeks. It was my feeling that the Yankees needed to make a big splash. I was concerned that if some of the players from 2017 regressed, even just a little, that the Yankees could be setting themselves up for a unfulfilling 2018 season. In addition, I feel that a team with the resources the Yankees have should never turn away from a generational talent like Giancarlo Stanton if he becomes available. This is the Yankees’ advantage – financial might. When they can use this strength to better the team, they should.
– The fact that the Yankees acquired Stanton and will not go over the luxury tax threshold is amazing. It is actually unbelievable. This flexibility speaks to the tremendous job Brian Cashman does as the Yankees General Manager. Cashman is a genius. (Yesterday Ethan Semendinger wrote a great column explaining how Brian Cashman’s shrewd dealings led to the Giancarlo Stanton acquisition.)
– No General Manager is perfect, but the list of poor deals that Brian Cashman has made is very small. The man has rebuilt the Yankees into a powerhouse. This team is Brian Cashman’s team. While I wasn’t thrilled with the Aron Boone hiring (and it still needs to grow on me) I don’t believe there is a better General Manager in baseball than Brian Cashman – and that includes Theo Epstein. This is a special time. One day there will be books written about Cashman and Epstein and the era in which they worked and succeeded. Rivals and friends. And geniuses. (Mr. Cashman & Mr. Epstein – if you are interested in having me write the first book, please contact me. It would be an honor.)
– I often opine about my desire for the Yankees to make the big splash – to sign the marquee player or (and!) make the big trade. I write a lot about Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson. I fondly remember when the Yankees acquired Rickey Henderson. But, those days were also marked by some very poor deals as the Yankees lost the likes of Fred McGriff, LaMarr Hoyt, Doug Drabek, and Jay Buhner, among many others. The huge difference between those days and now if that, with Brian Cashman making the decisions long term, with a vision and a plan that has been implemented over decades, the Yankees don’t mix the huge mega-signings or blockbuster trades with other moves that often hurt the team just as much as the big signing helps them. The Steinbrenner’s trust in Brian Cashman has led to the stability that should make the Yankees one of baseball’s best teams well into the future. The impact of this stability cannot be overlooked. It might be THE reason the Yankees are where they are today.
– I know there is a lot of “Evil Empire” talk now taking place. If that term means the Yankees are going to be good for a long time and dominate baseball, then it certainly rings true. But if that term means the Yankees are just buying all of the great available talent, it certainly is not an accurate representation. This team has been built through the farm and through great trades. In 2018, the following positional starters will have all come entirely from within: Gary Sanchez (c), Greg Bird (1b), Brett Gardner (lf), and Aaron Judge (rf). Most of the other starters; Didi Gregorius (ss), Chase Headley (3b), Gleyber Torres (2b), and Aaron Hicks (cf) came through smart trades. The only positional player in the starting lineup to come from a blockbuster trade will be Giancarlo Stanton.
– In fact, on Opening Day, the Yankees should have only three big name free-agents or players acquired via their financial strength on their roster. These will be Giancarlo Stanton, Aroldis Chapman, and Masahiro Tanaka. If C.C. Sabathia returns, he would be added to this list. This, to me, certainly isn’t the “Evil Empire” of old.
– I have seen some people criticize Giancarlo Stanton for exercising the rights he has to veto trades to teams that he didn’t wish to play for. This was his right and his prerogative. What Stanton did was no different than what Shohei Ohtani did – they both exercised the negotiating powers they had to choose the place where they would most like to play. Ohtani chose the west coast, Stanton’s small list of suitors included the Bronx.
– I believe the Yankees will still be active in the Winter Meetings. I have this hunch that C.C. Sabathia will not be back. Instead I see the Yankees trading some of their young talent (Clint Frazier) for a high quality cost-controlled starting pitcher. I also see Jacoby Ellsbury being traded. The Yankees will most likely have to eat most of his contract (I believe), but any salary relief helps them from crossing the luxury tax threshold. Yet, all that being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees traded Jacoby Ellsbury for a higher priced player in an exchange of bad contracts. I won’t speculate on who that will be. However the go about it, I believe the Yankees will do everything they can to leave some room under the cap for any mid-season acquisitions they need to make.
– I don’t believe Chase Headley will be traded. I believe the flexibility he provides at third base and first base is valued tremendously by the Yankees. If I’m wrong on this, expect Todd Frazier to be signed very quickly after Headley is traded. Frazier’s contract, if this happens, will be at a salary much lower than Headley’s.
– I know how people decry that all of this is bad for baseball – “the rich get richer.” I’ll argue to opposite. When the Yankees are good, it creates a different interest in the game. Love them or hate them, the Yankees draw crowds. This is why attendance spikes is stadiums when the Yankees play on the road. This is why the Yankees are so frequently on Sunday Night Baseball. They are a draw. With Giancarlo Stanton, they will now be a bigger draw. With success and pennants, even more people will tune in or head to the stadiums to root for or against the Yankees.
– I am looking forward, with great anticipation, to Opening Day. It’s usually a long winter, but, boy, this one just became very exciting!