Trading Giancarlo Stanton might be Yankees’ only chance to properly fix roster

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If not for injuries, the Giancarlo Stanton era in the Bronx might be a totally different story. That’s why this isn’t even a knock on him. He’s a great power hitter (and clutch hitter) whose value — at least during his time with the New York Yankees — has been beyond the box score.

His postseason numbers are great. His domination of the Boston Red Sox is a beautiful thing. But his overall consistency, availability and versatility are the problems. Is that worth a $32 million AAV through the 2027 season? Is it even worth a $26 million AAV when you factor in the Marlins paying $30 million to the Yankees as part of the 2017 trade?

We just drew a parallel to Manny Machado and Bryce Harper for their postseason heroics and MVP-like regular seasons. Not only do both of those All-Stars play defense — something Stanton has either been unable to do because of injuries or something the Yankees have refused to risk — but Machado has a $30 million AAV through 2028 and Harper has a $24.66 million AAV through 2031.

Machado will be 35 in the final year of his contract. Harper will be 38. Stanton will be 37. The Yankees were evidently worried about the regressions of Machado and Harper on 10/13-year deals, but seemingly ignored that after acquiring an injury-prone Stanton who had recently signed a 13-year contract of his own?

It’s a tough discussion, and not one Yankees fans enjoy having, but since Hal Steinbrenner won’t blow by the luxury tax to make up for Brian Cashman’s mistakes, the Bombers might have to find a way to get rid of Stanton’s money if they want to properly build around Aaron Judge should he re-sign.

Should the Yankees trade Giancarlo Stanton in the offseason?

It’s unclear if they’ll even be willing to do that, because who is going to take on that contract, but crazier things have happened. But for the Yankees, evaluating Stanton’s contributions versus the other talents they’ve passed on should provide more urgency here.

  • Stanton bWAR since 2018 – 9.2
  • Machado bWAR since 2018 – 20.1
  • Harper bWAR since 2018 – 16.6

We’ve discussed this previously, but if the Yankees are going to operate on a budget, they cannot have a $25+ million player locked into the DH spot. If Judge comes back on a $40+ million AAV and there’s no willingness to spend beyond that, this will be the same old floundering Yankees.

And if you have a guy like Stanton, whose literal sole job is to hit extra-base hits, then he can’t finish with four in nine postseason games. He can’t get on base at a .229 clip. He can’t disappear alongside Judge in the ALCS. The whole operation is dependent on one of those guys being able to hold their own.

Stanton’s injuries in 2019 and 2020 killed this team. His tale of two seasons in 2021 and 2022 played a similar role, too.

Sadly, Stanton might be the only high-priced tradeable asset, which is why this is even a conversation. DJ LeMahieu’s contract looks terrible right about now. Aaron Hicks’ only shot to be booted off this team is via the DFA. Good luck finding someone to take on Donaldson’s final $29.75 million for 2023 (or $37.75 million through 2024). None of that is happening.

Cashman can certainly convince someone out there to take on Stanton’s remaining money much more easily than the aforementioned guys. Only then can the Yankees properly reset, get back to the drawing board, and put together a more fluid roster with the DH spot serving as a luxury rather than a lineup lock.