Yankees: Comparing Giancarlo Stanton to Bryce Harper


Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton held the major league record for the highest total contract in baseball history for four years. That ended on Thursday when Bryce Harper and the Phillies agreed to a 13-year, $330 million deal.

Before being acquired by the Yankees last winter, Giancarlo Stanton had re-signed with the Marlins in 2014 at an astounding $325 million over 10 years, making him the highest paid player in MLB history (for one contract).

The $90 million he took home over the first three years of that deal included a .281/.376/.631 slash with 59 home runs, 132 RBIs and a 2017 NL MVP campaign — validating his overall value.

As for Bryce Harper, he too had a season for the ages back in 2015, when he slashed .330/.460/.649 with 42 homers and 99 RBIs.

Stanton who signed his then record-setting deal at the age of 27 did manage to work in an opt-out after the 2020 season and a full no-trade clause. He’s making $26M this season.

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Should Stanton, 29, decide to stay with the Yankees for the final eight seasons of his pact (a $10M club buyout does exist in 2028), the Marlins would be forced to fork over an additional $30M to the Yanks as part of the 2017 blockbuster trade, further offsetting Stanton’s fluctuating $29-$32M salary per season salary. 

Then there’s Harper, whose 13-year contract also comes with a full no-trade clause but absolutely no opt-outs, per Harper’s request.

Harper, 26, has established himself as a stellar but is streaky talent — and his defensive metrics rate him as a below average fielder with a career -4 Rtot as compared to Stanton’s 51 Rtot.

Though Harper and Stanton are entirely different ballplayers, they’ll likely forever be compared to one another because they are the two highest paid players in baseball (at least until Mike Trout signs following the 2020 season).

Here’s a quick look at the career offensive big league production of Stanton and Harper.

Stanton: 39.2 WAR, .268/.358/.548 while averaging 96 runs scored, 33 doubles, 43 home runs, 109 RBIs and a 191:78 K:BB ratio across 162 games in nine seasons.

Harper: 27.4 WAR, .279/.388/.512 while averaging 107 runs, 32 doubles, 32 homers, 91 RBIs and a 146:102 K:BB ratio across seven seasons.

While Harper has seen action in 19 Postseason contests and Stanton only five (all last season), both will be expected to help propel their respective clubs to the playoffs this season and beyond.

Which player eventually turns into the better investment remains to be seen, but for the Yankees sake, they better hope it’s Stanton.

When asked by Randy Miller of NJ.com about how he felt about Harper finally getting his delayed payday, Stanton responded:

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"“I think it’s great,” Stanton said after the Yankees’ 8-6 Grapefruit League win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. “Good for him. Good for the city of Philadelphia.“There were three contracts over $250 million,” Stanton said. “It’s good. It took a bit longer than we would have wanted (for Harper), but at the end of the day it gets done.”"