Less than two months ago, we were talking about how Giancarlo Stanton’s All-Star Game MVP marked an important moment in his New York Yankees’ tenure and represented a remarkable turnaround after injuries and poor play largely characterized his stretch from the start of 2019 until the start of the second half in 2021.
Very weird. Every time Yankees fans try to get positive about anything, the narrative does a 180 and comes back to make them look foolish.
Because ever since Stanton’s All-Star Game heroics — hell, ever since the beginning of July! — Stanton’s been as much of a disaster as anybody for the Yankees, further contributing to this team’s downfall.
Whether Stanton played in the ASG hurt or not is a discussion for another time. Whether the Yankees mismanaged his injury is also a discussion for another time.
The fact of the matter is that we’re in the third year out of five where Stanton isn’t healthy/is underproducing and the frustrations are understandably mounting. With Aaron Judge due for a massive contract in the offseason, can the Yankees continue playing this game with the second-most important hitter in their lineup? Is there a world where Stanton is jettisoned in the offseason to clear payroll and change the complexion of the roster?
What are the Yankees going to do with Giancarlo Stanton in the offseason?
He’s now twisted his ankle twice on swings and misses this season (this time it came after fouling multiple balls off his ankle/foot) … but how is this a reality? How is this an injury concern any team reasonably deals with? It’s not!
Back on June 30, Stanton was hitting .249 with an .858 OPS, 19 homers, 52 RBI, 30 walks and 70 strikeouts across 60 games. From July 1 through Labor Day, Stanton’s average dropped to .214, his OPS to .750, and he hasn’t recorded an extra-base hit since July 16. He’s struck out 32 times in 27 games and has walked just 10 times. He has five homers and 12 RBI over that span.
The boom-or-bust life with Stanton, as well as his constant, never-out-of-the-woods injury issues, must have the Yankees thinking about a change in the offseason. This team can’t continue to be a “what could have been” story. Stanton being relegated to near full-time DH duties was crippling enough for this lineup. Now, if he’s not going to produce, conspires to post an OPS under .800 and registers a barely above-average OPS+ (111) through five months, how can his spot on the roster and salary on the payroll be justified?
The (likely) fact of the matter is that the Yankees are stuck with Stanton, his contract, and his world-beating hot streaks and minor-league-esque cold streaks. If the Yankees refuse to part with Aaron Hicks and eat some of his contract, why would they even dream of doing the same with Stanton?
This can’t continue, though. Stanton is far too crucial to the Yankees’ operation to either be sidelined or be producing like a replacement-level player (he’s now good for a 0.5 WAR through August). Brian Cashman and the Yankees have once again backed themselves into a corner that offers no viable solutions. Getting a few good months or one good playoff series out of Stanton isn’t going to get the Yankees back to the World Series.
Imagining a scenario where the Yankees saddling themselves with Stanton’s and Gerrit Cole’s contracts only to not be able/willing to pay Aaron Judge or build a viable team around him in his prime is every fan’s worst nightmare, but unless Hal Steinbrenner decides to budge and make some very necessary financial sacrifices, this roster might be stuck in neutral for the foreseeable future.