Yankees: With Giancarlo Stanton, Bryce Harper is no longer a priority
It’s no secret the Yankees were likely going to be big players for Bryce Harper once he hit the open market following the 2018 season, but that may no longer be the case.
With the blockbuster acquisition of NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton and the immense 10-year commitment that came with him, the narrative that Bryce Harper to the Yankees is a lock may have vanished.
For a short while, the Yankees were playing mediocre baseball with mediocre players. There isn’t any way you can sugarcoat it. With the departure of star players like Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter, TV ratings and attendance dropped noticeably due to a team with no spark or buzz to it.
With that, there was always the easy answer to that problem, sign Bryce Harper. A former first overall pick who brought more to the field than just his elite MVP style of play; he carried a persona that alone could boost attraction.
Fans saw it as the perfect match. Lock up Harper for 10 or so years and go from there to establish the franchise as a powerhouse in the AL East once again. However, a lot can, and has changed in just a few short years.
Fresh off of a postseason run that took them to Game 7 of the ALCS against the World Champion Houston Astros, the Yanks made perhaps the most significant blockbuster trade of the decade.
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With the Miami Marlins in the middle of a total team teardown, general manager Brian Cashman acquired the 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton at the mere cost of Starlin Castro, along with two lower-level prospects, Jorge Guzman and Jose Devers.
Stanton is coming off the best season of his eight-year career. The 28-year-old fell one home run shy of the Babe’s mark of 60 while driving in 132 runs and posting a WAR of 7.6.
Slide him into three-hole behind AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge, and you got yourself an even more dangerous lineup than before.
With the acquisition of Stanton, the Yankees face a surplus of outfielders heading into the 2018 campaign. The likely alignment of Brett Gardner in left field, Aaron Hicks in centerfield, and the rotation of Judge and Stanton between right field and designated hitter — leaves Jacoby Ellsbury and 23-year-old Clint Frazier out of the mix.
So with these current five already in the Bronx, along with more on the way (Estevan Florial), where does Harper fit?
The answer is quite simple. Harper doesn’t. Now, I know the idea of Harper, Judge and Stanton — all donning pinstripes together is something many Yankees’ fans dream of.
However, there’s a fine line between being competitive and being unnecessarily greedy. Despite Harper’s evident talent, the need for him is no longer there in the Bronx. With an excess of stars in Judge, Stanton, Gary Sanchez and many others, why commit $400+ million to a player that is no longer needed?
Assuming Stanton does not exercise his opt-out after the 2020 season, the Yankees will owe him $265 million over the next 10 seasons, which at first glance seems quite hefty. However, that is likely at least a $135 million discount compared to the contract Harper will likely fetch a year from now.
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So ultimately, the Yankees have an MVP player in Stanton who is arguably just as valuable, if not more valuable than Harper, but at a far lesser fee. With that said, there is just no reason to force $400 million into your lineup that already is possibly the most dangerous in all of baseball.