The news broke just after 9:00 AM on the East Coast that Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton agreed to a trade that would send him to the New York Yankees and pair him with the game’s greatest young slugger, Aaron Judge. In return, the Miami Marlins get 2B Starlin Castro, two prospects, and $265 million off of their payroll as they seek to rebuild the franchise under their new ownership group faced by Yankee great, and future Hall of Famer, Derek Jeter.
The Marlins’ ownership has been saying for months that a rebuild was on the horizon and they were adamant on shedding as much payroll as possible. Even before Jeter took over, the Marlins sent Adeiny Hechavarria to their in-state American League counterpart, the Tampa Bay Rays. While Giancarlo Stanton said on multiple occasions that he did not want to be part of a rebuilding team, the trade was not an easy process. He held all the cards due to the full no-trade clause that was part of the $325 million contract he signed in 2014. Reports early this week had deals in place with the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals, but after meeting with both ball clubs, Stanton ultimately rejected his first two suitors and narrowed down the list of teams he would approve to the Dodgers and Yankees. While the Dodgers were the team that Stanton had expressed the highest amount of interest in, he went to high school less than 30 miles from Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers were apprehensive making a deal where a decade-long contract was in play.
Ultimately, these decisions led Stanton to the Bronx in another high profile move by Yankees GM Brian Cashman. While this trade might seem like a make or break deal for New York, Cashman worked out the financials of this deal in a way that could keep the Yankees out of the luxury tax this year and leave them open the even bigger signings next year when Bryce Harper and Manny Machado become free agents. Even more important, Stanton has an opt-out built into his contract after the 2020 season so, if he ends up being unhappy in the Big Apple, he has a way out.
So, now the Yankees are the favorites in the American League, and possibly the entirety of Major League Baseball, to win the World Series in 2018. Not so fast, my friend. While this acquisition is huge, maybe turning the Pinstripes into this millennium’s Marris and Mantle or The Bash Brothers, it still does not fix the one glaring hole the Yankees still have: pitching. Yes, I know, they were one game away from the World Series last year and C.C. Sabathia pitched very well for much of the postseason but, at 37 years old, he cannot be expected to repeat the same type of performance we saw this season. Masahiro Tanaka had a terrible 2017 season, and although he is only 28, there are huge question marks surrounding him and if he can truly take on that ace role for the Yankees pitching staff. Having power up and down the order is great but, without a pitching staff that can hold leads, one cannot expect bats to win you games. The old adage “defense wins championships” has been proven true time and time again. Well, the pitcher is the first line of defense a team has and if they cannot keep runners off base and crooked numbers off the scoreboard, 13ft of explosive power in Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge is not going to be the answer over the course of 162 games.
You lose one veteran and two prospects in this deal who are not remotely close to the key pieces of your future. Expect Gleyber Torres, who was acquired from the Chicago Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman deal in 2016, to be the starting third baseman for the Yankees this coming season. With a new manager at the helm, Aaron Boone will have an incredible amount of pieces to play with on his lineup card. Brian Cashman has his manager in place, another power bat in his lineup, and an abundance of youth down in the dugout. They were early to the party this year but the New York Yankees are announcing their presence back into the annual postseason discussion with a resounding bang…or was that Judge and Stanton taking their first batting practice together?
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