Outside of Shohei Ohtani, the prize of this offseason is Giancarlo Stanton. The Miami Marlins appear poised to trade the slugger. The new, Derek Jeter-led ownership group aims to drastically cut payroll. The easiest way to do that, of course, is by moving the owner of baseball’s largest contract. It almost feels inevitable that Stanton swaps uniforms this winter.
According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees and Marlins connected during the GM Meetings this week. Talks were preliminary and initiated by Miami. From the sounds of it, Cashman took the opportunity to perform some due diligence. As things stand, the Bombers remain on the periphery of the market. That said, these things tend to have a fluidity to them.
The Yankees, of course, should have interest in Stanton. The 28-year-old is fresh off a 2017 that saw him slug a league-leading 59 home runs. He also posted a well-rounded batting line, hitting .281/.376/.631. That adds up to a stellar 156 wRC+. While this marked his most impressive season to date, Stanton has a long track record of success. Since his major league debut in 2010, he’s accrued 34.1 fWAR. There’s no denying his status as an impact bat.
Stanton would make an already formidable lineup even deeper. Anytime a team can pencil in a perennial 40-home run threat, they should take the chance. When that player has been baseball’s most prodigious power threat since peak Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols, you back up the prospect truck. The Yankees have arguably the deepest farm system in baseball. They have the pieces to get deal done, and likely with room to spare.
There are several arguments floating around suggesting that the Yankees should steer clear of Stanton. While valid in their premises, I think they fall short of convincing. For example, many have noted that the Bombers don’t need Stanton. The offense is fine as is, they say. That’s true to a degree. The 2017 Yankees had a lineup that fired on all cylinders. It nearly brought them to the World Series. Teams that’s don’t upgrade, however, do so at their own peril. There represents no bigger addition than Stanton.
Some say that the Yankees have Aaron Judge and therefore don’t need Stanton. That doesn’t strike me as particularly satisfying, either. Cashman doesn’t have to choose between them. He can have both. What’s better than one giant power-hitting slugger? Two of course. Imagine a lineup that has Judge and Stanton. Then add in Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird. That’s not just one of the best offenses in baseball, it’s one of the best in franchise history.
Perhaps the most frustrating argument against acquiring Stanton has to do with finances. Some have suggested passing on the slugger because his contract would prevent the Yankees from sliding under the luxury tax threshold. That’s a ridiculous proposition. Fans shouldn’t root for a team to not spend. The Yankees print money. They operate in the largest market in baseball. The Steinbrenner family is the single best ownership group to absorb such a contract. Money should never be an issue.
Right now there’s no consensus regarding where Stanton lands, if he does end up traded. All signs point to that happening, though, and the Yankees figure to be in the mix. They absolutely should be from a baseball point of view. Expect Cashman to keep tabs on the slugger as the offseason unfolds. It would be negligent if he didn’t.