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The Tuesday Discussion: Stanton for Trout?

September 12, 2023

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NOTE - Due to the rainout and the double header today, we're starting the day with the Tuesday Discussion.

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This week we asked our writers:


If you ran the Yankees, would you trade Giancarlo Stanton in a one-for-one trade for Mike Trout?


Here are their replies:

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Lincoln Mitchell - Yes. Both are in the decline face of their career and will thus be overpaid relative to the value they will generate in the remaining years of their contracts. Additionally, both are hurt a lot, but Trout is a much better player when healthy.


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Ed Botti - No. I would not assume another major obligation for an injury prone player, as great as Trout is.


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Cary Greene - I would want no part of this trade. What the Yankees need to do right now is focus on executing a salary dump by moving Stanton to whatever West Coast team wants him. If I ran the team that would be my challenge to my new GM : Dump Stanton and get younger and more athletic.

Then I'd try to get more balance at the DH position. Joc Peterson could be signed and he could platoon with J.D. Martinez or Teoscar Hernandez. There are some other solutions as well but what I'd want to accomplish is to fortify the middle of the batting order which has been sagging for years. Then, I'd order a full court press to be put on signing some left-handed starting pitching and left-handed bullpen help, plus I would nail down a trade for a particular closer. There's no denying that the Yankees offense needs to be improved, but free agents like Cody Bellinger would make more sense than overspending on Mike Trout who is diminishing and overpaid until his age 40 season.


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Paul Semendinger - Mike Trout (will turn 33 years old next August) is signed through 2030 at $35.35m per year. He is owed $247.45m. Giancarlo Stanton (will be 34 years old next season) is signed through 2027 and I believe is owed $128m (assuming the buyout) - Miami is also paying $30m of this. It seems like this deal would cost the Yankees another $119 million and three more seasons of an old oft-injured player.


On the other hand, Trout could play centerfield. He is still athletic. Stanton has become a statue. Trout has been injured, a lot, the last few years. But, when he plays, he still produces. Giancarlo Stanton has not produced. Since the start of 2022, Trout has played 201 games, Stanton 200. It's almost identical. Stanton is batting .205/54/135 with an OPS+ of just 105. In that span, Mike Trout has hit .275/58/124 with an OPS+ of 157. And, again, Trout can also play the field and run the bases, unlike Stanton.


There are a lot of reasons to highly consider this move. This is especially true with the injury to Jasson Dominguez. The hope would be that Trout could hold down centerfield until Dominguez is ready.


In addition, Trout is a New Jersey kid. Stanton is from California. Both players would be returning home.


If money weren't an object, I would make this move. This move would rid the Yankees of a player who has under performed and it would send a clear message that the Yankees are heading in a different direction. On the other hand, bringing in an aging superstar with a long injury history is just the type of move the Yankees have been making too often over these last many years. This would be a move filled with great risk. The deal has the potential to be a disaster. On the other hand, Stanton is not the player he was even a year or so ago. The Yankees have to move him. He can't be on the team next year - especially if they need to bring back Jasson Dominguez as a designated hitter. Stanton's is a sunk cost. If the Yankees can't trade him, they should release him.


There are strong arguments to make on both sides of the issue. I have gone back and forth on this, but after a long discussion on this topic with EJ Fagan on the SSTN Podcast (coming at 10:00 a.m. today), I believe getting Trout for Stanton would be a great move for the Yankees. The Yankees would have to know that they're spending big, and for a long time, but it's time for the Yankees to be THE YANKEES and make the huge deals as risky as this one is. I think this deal would energize the fans. I also think that because he is already an inner-circle Hall of Famer, that Trout just might have some good years to come. I don't think Stanton has anything else to offer. At this point, Trout at his worst is better and much more valuable to the Yankees than Stanton at his best.


I'd make the deal. It's not an easy choice, but it's the right choice and, again, it would send a signal that the Yankees are making big moves to fix what ails them.


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Ethan Semendinger - I've been thinking long and hard about this question, and what is crazy is that because a 20-year old player with just 7 career games got hurt, my mind has completely changed.


If Jasson Dominguez was set-up to the center fielder for the Yankees next season, I'd absolutely say no to trading for Mike Trout with Giancarlo Stanton. However, now that Dominguez will only be able to make the team as a DH and the Yankees need a center fielder, I think it would be a great move to make.


For the 2024 season, Mike Trout would be the starting center fielder. He will be 32 years old (turning 33 in August), which is still a fine age to still be able to play there. With his bat- in his worst career year this season- Trout has a 130 OPS+, which is still better than the entire Yankees line-up except for Aaron Judge (and, technically, Jasson Dominguez).


For the 2025 season, the hope would be that Jasson Dominguez could take over for Trout in center field as Trout would be moved into left field while splitting time with Judge at the DH role to help him age more gracefully. (And again, if Dominguez can't return then, Trout as a 33 year old center fielder isn't underheard of.)


I'm not worried about the money or contracts in a deal like this. I know we're programmed to have to think like that, but regardless of the money owed to Trout, the Yankees will still profit from a massive influx of intrigue, which means a rise in ticket sales (and price), jersey sales, concessions, etc.


Instead, I look at roster construction. Trout would be a perfect player to hold down center field and transfer to becoming a corner outfielder on the timeline of recovery for Dominguez.


(For what it's worth, Trout has a -95.6 MTV value to Stanton's -76 MTV. If the Angels throw in $21 Million to even out the values over the final 7 years of his contract, Trout would only be making about $32 Million a year against the luxury tax. That's not ridiculous. Especially when it would come with getting rid of the $25 Million a year for Stanton. Is Trout worth another $7 Million a year? 100% yes, even with the extra years past Stanton.)


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Patrick Gunn - I would not trade for Mike Trout straight up for Giancarlo Stanton because I’m concerned about his current injury history. His spine and wrist injuries are serious and, given he turns 33 next summer, should hinder his career in the future. Stanton has had a lot of injuries, but no specific long-term injuries. Also, he’s owed much less money than Trout and he, as far as we know, likes playing in New York. I understand why this trade is mentioned and I’ve considered it myself, but I don’t think it’s appropriate.


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Mike Whiteman - Stanton straight up for Trout? Not my first preference.

I think the Yankees should "kick the tires" to see how desperate the Angels are to deal Trout, and discern if there is the potential for a creative deal. Trout, even diminished, still can play if healthy. Could moving to New York (and back to the East Coast) rejuvenate his career? Maybe. I wouldn't bet against it. Next year's free agent market doesn't look that great. There's no 2008/2009ish free agent class to get the team back to the top quickly for just money. Dealing for Trout might be the best, splashy, way to get the fans to put 2023 in the rear view mirror, and to ante up for those more expensive tickets.


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Derek McAdam - While Trout would be a nice pickup, it comes with many risks. Trout has failed to stay healthy, and the Yankees don’t need another player that has that problem. He also has struggled this season, which may or may not be due to the injuries. He’s also 32 years old and is more than likely past his prime. I think it would be better off to just stick it out with Stanton, since the team isn’t exactly World Series-ready.


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Tim Kabel - I would not make the trade. Trout is much better than Stanton but like Stanton, he is plagued by injuries. At one point last season, it was thought that his career might be over. It is also a more expensive contract. In addition, Stanton might need to have his contract extended to agree to the trade.


21 Comments


Cary Greene
Cary Greene
Sep 12, 2023

A casual Yankees fan might argue that becasuse of Trout's massive negative trade value of $86.6 MTV lining up favorably with Stanton's huge negative worth of -$72MTV, that the Angels just might bite on dealing Trout. But folks, seriously? FanGraphs says that if Trout were a free agent this year, he'd have been woth $23.8 million based on his performance when he did play. Meanwhile, they rate Stanton as being worth negative $1 million (stat derived from FanGraph's f-Dollars).


There is ZERO chance that the Angels would view this trade as favorable. They paid Trout $35.4 million this year, but received back $23.8 million in performance value - which means Trout was a waste of $11.6 million this season and…


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Cary Greene
Cary Greene
Sep 13, 2023
Replying to

Fair points Paul, lot's to consider. It's fun to have SOMETHING to debate about, given the Yankees are going to be irrelevant in terms of the upcoming postsesaon. The first thing I'd open with is that MLB is not the NBA. If a superstar player wants out, the controlling team is under no pretense to trade them. This doesn't mean the Angels will necessarily want to trade him. What we do know is that presently, Trout largely offsets his massive contract, with his on the field play. Still, he's pretty much a sunk cost at this point, given his injury history and gaudy AAV.


This offseason, the Angels will entertain calls on Trout and the challenge that Perry Minasian will…


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jjw49
Sep 12, 2023

This is the time for the Yankees to not be the Yankees.... initially unloading Stanton gets Yankee Nation very excited however Trout is just as much of a injury risk although a more productive player than Stanton but I would hope Yankees pass. I would prefer if Yankees focus on either Bellinger or Soto.... and my preference would be Soto.

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
Sep 12, 2023
Replying to

I want no part of Bellinger. He bounced back - great.


The smarter team got him for this year.


Now he'll just be expensive.

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yankeerudy
Sep 12, 2023

We seem to go through this periodically. We love the front end of these massive deals, but loathe the unproductive backend and how it hampers our ability to improve the team. The question here is whether we extend the cycle or rip off the bandaid? Trout alone won't put us over the top, but if we're willing to ignore the CBT it might be a key piece in a win-now strategy.

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
Sep 12, 2023
Replying to

The hope would be a recharged 2024. Trout, Cole, Judge, Torres, Volpe... there is hope with that group!

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cpogo0502
Sep 12, 2023

No thank you. Younger, faster, more athletic now, please. Trade Stanton for prospects and begin the journey back to sanity.

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
Sep 12, 2023
Replying to

I hear you. The article premise is that I don't think the Angels have much of a chance to trade Trout - and it seems he wants out. As you can see from the comments and the writers' thoughts, many don't want him. What team is going to pay Trout $250 million? But, the Yankees might. Maybe. But in order to take him, they'd give up Stanton. For the Angels, they'd save well more than $100 million by taking Stanton. For the Yankees, they be rid of Stanton and have the hope that Trout can heal and be a plus player for most of the next few years. There is a way that the trade makes sense for both teams.

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yankeesblog
Sep 12, 2023

Mixed feelings. I think this could happen if Trout demands a trade. Is it a good idea for the Yankees? The plus side is that Trout even in his decline and injury prone phase would likely be a lot more productive than Stanton will be. On the other hand he will cost even more and with Hal's obsession with the CBT that would not be a good thing for the Yankees.

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
Sep 12, 2023
Replying to

I agree with the CBT obsession. If the trade were made, Hal would have to know that the obsession over the CBT would have to end.

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