New York Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton unlikely to earn his full salary
By Joel Wagler
The oft-injured Giancarlo Stanton has up to nine years left on his contract with the New York Yankees. If the contract plays out through the 2028 season, Stanton can make $259 million with the Yankees if neither party opts out in the time frames they are allowed.
The question becomes if Stanton can earn even a fraction of that money by staying healthy enough to remain on the field.
Considering his history, that is doubtful. In the nine seasons since his debut in 2010, Stanton has played at least 145 games only four times. He’s played less than 120 games in four other seasons. And he ain’t getting any younger!
It is hard to expect a player who was injury-prone through his twenties suddenly be consistently healthy into his thirties.
Giancarlo Stanton will not earn his big contract with the New York Yankees
Let’s get something straight. Stanton is still going to rack up a relatively large number of home runs before his days in New York are over. There will be times, maybe even full seasons when Stanton will be healthy, and in those years, he can still be a beast.
Stanton does have the option to opt-out of his contract after the upcoming season, but with his recent history, why would he? In the short term, that isn’t a bad deal for the Yankees because if Stanton doesn’t opt-out, the Marlins have to pay New York $30 million. That means the Yankees get Stanton for free for 2021.
From 2022 through 2025, Stanton will be paid $105 million in his age 32 through 35 seasons. In those years, Stanton must be healthy and productive. The Yankees can protect him somewhat by not allowing him anywhere near a glove and just leave him as the everyday designated hitter.
That probably won’t happen, at least not right away.
There are also some worrying trends about Stanton. According to Fangraphs, his Flyball Rate has gone down every season since 2015. Over his last 178 games, his Home Run to Flyball Ratio is just 25 percent, down from a career-high 34.3 percent in 2017. Fewer flyballs and fewer home runs on those flyballs aren’t a great trend for a slugger.
Another disturbing stat is that Stanton struck out 211 times in 2018, by far the most in his career. That means he struck out in 30 percent of his plate appearances. In the small sample size that was 2019, he struck out in 33 percent of his plate appearances.
These trends are pointing the wrong way for a player who is entering his thirties, but it isn’t all doom and gloom. In his 178 games as a Yankee, Stanton’s rate of hard-hit ball balls is actually up a tick from his career rate (42.3 percent in 2018 compared to 41.6 percent for his career). On the other hand, he’s hitting more balls softly over the past three seasons than in the more distant past.
How Giancarlo Stanton can earn his contract with the New York Yankees
The answer to this is simply – health! Whether it be a better conditioning program or less time running around the outfield, Stanton has to stay on the field. When he is playing, he is a monster. In the four seasons in which he played 145 games or more, he averaged 42 homers and 106 runs batted in.
If somehow Stanton is healthy more often than not for the rest of his career, and if he can reverse some of the negative statistical trends over the next six years, he might earn those massive checks he’ll be cashing. The last two guaranteed years of the contract – his 36 and 37 age seasons – the Marlins have to kick back $10 million a year to the Yankees, fraying the overall cost of the contract. If the Yankees opt-out of the final year, the Marlins pay that $10 million as well.
The good news is that if there is a season in 2020, Stanton should be ready!
Aaron Boone says Giancarlo Stanton would be ready to play
The Stanton discussion takes place at the six-minute mark of the interview with Meredith Marakovits of the YES Network.
It is a long time until the end of his contract. Still, it seems unlikely considering his age and injury history that Giancarlo Stanton can fully earn the contract he signed with the New York Yankees after his monster 2017 season. Time will tell.