Yankees: DH rule change basically eliminates Giancarlo Stanton trade
By Adam Weinrib
With the Universal DH dying for 2021, the chances of the Yankees trading Giancarlo Stanton are basically zero.
Giancarlo Stanton won a ton of goodwill with Yankees fans during the team’s 2020 postseason run — and rightfully so. He was spectacular. His home runs were majestic. When healthy, he’s among this team’s best hitters, and he proved he can show up in the postseason against a revved-up group of the league’s strongest arms.
He’s also still a designated hitter with one of the largest and most prohibitive contracts in baseball.
Somehow, Rob Manfred’s sense of the moment is worse than ever following the 60-game 2020 season. Who knew it had further to fall?
After throwing every rule change he’d ever noodled on in a dream at the wall for ’20, using the season as an experimental breeding ground, Manfred has apparently decided he loved all of them except for the one that made sense.
Expanded playoffs? Yeah, say hello to that for 2021. It stays. The universal DH? Nope; welcome back pitchers hitting in ’21, and say goodbye to the idea that the Yanks had a brand-new market for Stanton’s services moving forward.
Stanton is a fantastic player. He’s also redundant as long as Aaron Judge is in the lineup, and he wrecks all flexibility by being relegated to a DH role, which the Yankees would prefer to be a rotating spot for their many glove-last options like Luke Voit, as well as rehabbing bats who simply need a day off from the physical strain of fielding.
Even after the postseason he just put up, the budget-conscious Yankees likely would’ve leapt at a proper offer for Stanton in the next year or so instead of carrying the full burden of his $325 million contract until 2027.
But if the National League isn’t going to adopt the DH moving forward (at least, not until the next collective bargaining talks following 2021), half the league has been eliminated as suitors. The San Francisco Giants were interested the last time Stanton was available. So were the St. Louis Cardinals. He’s always reportedly wanted to be a Dodger.
You can strike those three off the list now. They’re also, coincidentally, probably the entire list.
There’s nothing wrong with employing Giancarlo Stanton, and Yankees fans will probably enjoy the fruits of his labor very often for the next few years.
Shedding his salary would be a dream budgetary adjustment, though, but thanks to Rob Manfred, the likelihood of that happening just plummeted pretty close to zero.