Up until this past year, it appeared as if the New York Yankees were staring into the abyss with Giancarlo Stanton. Outside of his “very good” but not “MVP-like” 2018 debut campaign in the Bronx, he played in just 41 total games out of a possible 222 between 2019 and 2020.
His absence in the 2019 postseason was a killer, and his heroics in 2020 didn’t matter because the rest of the roster was inept against the Tampa Bay Rays. His failures seemingly killed the Yankees and his successes weren’t enough to drive them beyond where they needed to be.
But then came him unbelievably clutch 2021 performance that featured 139 games played, 35 homers, 97 RBI, a 136 OPS+, a respectable .273 batting average, and a slash line of .273/.345/.562 with runners in scoring position (139 plate appearances, 10 homers, 63 RBI).
If he doesn’t exist last season, the Yankees don’t come close to making the playoffs. So it’s back on! And even better? His contract doesn’t look that bad given other deals we’ve seen signed over the last few seasons. One of the best power bats in the league at ~$26 million per year? Lovely.
How about some more encouraging news that helps solidify this as a “win” for the Yankees? Well, just for now, because we know things can change … but it appears general manager Brian Cashman surrendered nothing of substance in the 2017 trade with the Miami Marlins.
Two of the three player sent to Miami are no longer with the team after pitcher Jorge Guzman signed with the San Francisco Giants this week.
The Yankees officially won the Giancarlo Stanton trade with the Marlins.
Now, unless 22-year-old Jose Devers ends up panning out (there’s almost no evidence to suggest he will), the Yankees will have essentially received Stanton for free (plus $30 million) from Miami. After trading away guys like Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, the Marlins remain far away from achieving their rebuilding goals.
In the Stanton deal, the Yankees also included Starlin Castro, who’s no longer with the team and was released by the Nationals after domestic abuse allegations, and Devers, who made his MLB debut last year and performed poorly in 21 games (after limping in the minor leagues since 2018).
Even worse for Miami is that the Yankees have developed far better pitching and infield prospects since this trade. Credit where credit is due: Cashman worked his magic here.
Though Guzman still possesses some upside with his fastball and turbo sinker, his development would’ve done the Yankees no favors, and guys like Jonathan Loaisiga, Michael King and Luis Gil have lapped him at the major league level to find roles on New York’s pitching staff.
This case is nearly closed, and it seems as if the only way this can blow up in the Yankees’ face is if Hal Steinbrenner continues to keep his checkbook glued shut because of the amount of money committed to Stanton and Gerrit Cole.