Yankees should ask Giancarlo Stanton if he’d waive NTC for Dodgers
Giancarlo Stanton played a total of 23 games for the Yankees in 2019, including five postseason appearances — and just two in the ALCS when the Bombers could have used a little extra pop against a stark Astros pitching rotation.
In what can only be described as a lost season for the 29-year-old slugger, an injured quad kept Giancarlo Stanton out of four of the six ALCS games, putting a bad taste in the mouths of many Yankees fans.
When you consider Aaron Hicks suited up in five of those contests, and even hit an all-important three-run home run off the foul pole in Game 5 — facing impending Tommy John surgery to fix a flexor tendon strain suffered in early August, one has to wonder how bad Stanton’s right quad strain really was for him to not even pinch-hit in the series-deciding Game 6.
It also doesn’t help that Stanton ducked out of the clubhouse before reporters could question him following the Yankees 6-4 loss.
Naturally, a fully healthy Stanton could have helped the Yanks push the ALCS to a Game 7 and perhaps even to a World Series appearance. However, he played 18 regular-season games, and the Yanks still won 103 times.
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So the question needs to be asked, will general manager Brian Cashman look to keep the talented, albeit injured plagued star? I mean, it’s not like his value is at an all-time high.
The biggest obstacle, aside from Stanton’s $25 million AAV, is that he holds a full no-trade clause, and already exercised it while still in Miami — telling ownership that he would not go to San Francisco or St. Louis — hence the less than haul that Derek Jeter got from New York for the 2017 NL MVP.
But what if Cashman approached Stanton about a deal that sent him home to Southern California? Stanton is from the LA suburb of Panorama City.
Now no one is saying that the Dodgers want Stanton, but after reaching back-to-back World Series — and easily winning the NL West yet again, they bowed out of the recent NLDS rather squeamishly. So acquiring a major spark or two in 2020 could be a real possibility.
While Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Dodgers will look to trade for Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (why Cleveland would trade Lindor is beyond me), it would likely cost a haul of top prospects such as pitcher Dustin May, shortstop Gavin Lux and outfielder Alex Verdugo.
So what could the Yankees ask in return for Stanton besides immediate salary relief? How about 2016 NL Rookie of the Year Corey Seager.
Before you scream expletives about the Yanks having an overabundance of infielders, chew on this. Signing a pitcher such as Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg is New York’s top priority this winter. We know.
Therefore, extending Didi Gregorius, a $17.8M qualifying offer doesn’t help the club stay below the luxury tax, as the NY Daily News suggests the team will once again look to do this offseason.
Naturally, the Yankees would require something of substance back in a trade for Stanton, especially since they don’t need to trade him — and the possibility remains that if Stanton can stay healthy as he did in 2018, mighty Giancarlo can help carry the Yankee offense.
But again, the performance of the 2019 Bombers opened a lot of eyes, especially those that sign the checks. Therefore, getting Seager, who is projected to make $7.1 million in 2020, while being a legit left-handed-hitting threat in the middle of the order could go a long way to getting the Yanks back to the playoffs.
And again, the allure of clearing enough money to sign a No. 1 starter has to be something Cashman would seriously consider.
Yes, Seager had surgery on his left arm in 2018, but at only 25-years-old, he came back strong in 2019; slashing .272/.335/.483 with 82 runs scored, an NL-best 44 doubles, 19 home runs and 87 RBIs across 489 at-bats. After the All-Star break, Seager batted a robust .295/.343/.544.
According to Fangraphs, Seager’s plate production was 13 percent better than the rest of the league — and 10th best among shortstops.
Should both Didi and Brett Gardner fail to return — and with Hicks already ruled out 8-10 months, aside from maybe Mike Tauchman and Mike Ford, the Yankees don’t have another left-handed bat on their 25-man roster. So even with that crowded infield, room could be made for the talent of Corey Seager.