The New York Yankees have pulled off their biggest trade since their 2003 trade of Alfonso Soriano for Alex Rodriguez. On Saturday the Yankees traded 2nd baseman Starlin Castro and two lower level prospects (pitcher Jorge Guzman and shortstop Jose Devers) for reigning NL MVP and MLB home run leader Giancarlo Stanton, who waived his no-trade clause to solidify the transaction. The evil empire is back and ready for action. The 2017 Yankees were a borderline likable cast by many in the public due to their homegrown star Aaron Judge and their lack of high-cost free agent players such as an Alex Rodriguez or a Roger Clemons type player. Those likable Yankees are gone, and in their place, return the financially fruitful pay-to-win Yankees baseball fans have all grown to despise. Just look at this potential starting lineup:
LF Brett Gardner
RF Aaron Judge
DH Giancarlo Stanton
C Gary Sanchez
SS Didi Gregorius
1B Greg Bird
CF Aaron Hicks
3B Chase Headley (Traded Monday afternoon)
2B Ronald Torreyes (Most likely)
Bench: OF Jacoby Ellsbury, Infielder Tyler Wade, and minor leaguer prospects Clint Frazier, Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres.
That’s a scary lineup that without Stanton, made it one game away from the World Series. There is no weak spot in the lineup besides at 2nd base, but they have the number one prospect in baseball in Gleyber Torres who will no doubt be starting for the club at some point in the 2018 season. They also have debatably the best bullpen in the sport to go along with an underrated starting rotation that has the likes of Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray.
This team was already poised for improvement with the added experience to young superstars Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, but adding a player of Stanton’s caliber, who sports the 6th highest WAR last year at 6.9, to that lineup makes the Yankees a force to be reckoned with. This trade however, does come with its repercussions. Financially, the Yankees just committed to another long-term high-value contract that no doubt will look bad in the future. Stanton is signed for the next 10 years and they will owe him $265 million, assuming he doesn’t opt-out of his contract in 2020 (he’d be walking away from close to $175 million if he did). This leaves the Yankees with one of those untradeable huge contracts that ALWAYS comes back to bite teams on the back end (think Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Albert Pujols etc.). The difference with this situation is the team is the Yankees and is
one of the few teams that can take on this type of financial commitment without it really affecting their short or long-term plans. They have done a great job in the last few years dumping their over-priced aging veterans and have set themselves up nicely for the future.
This trade also raises questions about the affect it could have in the locker room. Stanton has always been on a losing team and this is his first real opportunity to join a contender and a team with a winning culture. He is an alpha type personality that will want to establish himself as a major leader in the clubhouse. He’s the reigning MVP and a certain amount of ego and respect will come with that. New team manager Aaron Boone will have his hands full trying to accommodate all the star players’ egos and try to convince them that it’s for the better to put their egos aside and put the team first. This shouldn’t be a problem for the tenured Yankees due to Aaron Judge being extremely humble and Gary Sanchez already experiencing not being the best player on the team. The main problem will most likely come with Stanton having to adjust to the New York climate, scrutiny, and media. Last year’s Yankees received little to no backlash from the media because it was assumed to be a rebuilding year. Not this year, with the acquisition of Stanton, the Yankees have signaled they’re going all in and anything less than a championship will be considered a disappointment. If injuries and prolonged slumps occur, then the media will likely be all over him in a way Stanton’s never experienced playing in Miami.
Overall the pros outweigh the cons and the Yankees will most likely not regret this trade, especially if it results in a championship at any point during the next 10 years Stanton is under contract. While this does all but eliminate any chance of signing Bryce Harper, it gives the Yankees a top 10 player in the MLB for practically pennies on the dollar and gives the Yankees the best outfield in baseball. It also gives them the best 2-3-4 power combo in the league with Judge, Stanton, and Sanchez, who combined for 144 home runs last season. After adding the NL MVP and having the AL MVP runner-up on the team, the team’s true MVP might be Derek Jeter for gifting his beloved Yankees with a superstar during his 1st week on the job. Mr. November has come in clutch for the Yankees once again.