The Yankees reportedly checked in on Giancarlo Stanton and it’s not as crazy as you may think

(Mike Ehrmann/Getty)
(Mike Ehrmann/Getty)

According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees have checked in with the Marlins about slugger Giancarlo Stanton. The two sides aren’t close to a deal and it’s unclear how serious the Yankees are about a potential trade. This could have been a due diligence thing. That said, the Marlins are selling and the team itself is in the process of being sold, so it stands to reason everyone is available. It never hurts to listen, right? Right.

Stanton, 27, is hitting .271/.356/.578 (137 wRC+) with 30 home runs this season, most among all non-Aaron Judge hitters in the big leagues. He’s right smack in the prime of his career and he’s averaged 45 home runs per 162 games since Opening Day 2014. The guy is a monster. He’s also owed $295M from 2018-27. Goodness. The contract includes an opt-out after 2020, though Stanton would be leaving $218M on the table by walking away. Opting out is far from a guarantee, even if he continues to stay healthy and play well.

There’s a few interesting angles to the reported Stanton interest. For starters, the Yankees seem to be pretty well set on the outfield corners going forward with Judge and Clint Frazier. They’re definitely set in right field. We know that much. The jury is still out on Frazier, as impressive as he’s been early in his MLB career. I suppose there’s also the designated hitter spot, though tying that up with a big money player signed long-term isn’t a great idea (See: Rodriguez, Alex).

Secondly, Stanton’s contract would hurt the team’s chances to get under the luxury tax threshold next season. The original 13-year, $325M contract came with a $25M average annual value and luxury tax hit. That’s not the luxury tax hit the Yankees would assume, however. They’d take on a luxury tax hit closer to $30M once you adjust for the timing of the trade, assuming they didn’t change the calculation in the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement.

And third, the Yankees would have to give up some pretty damn good prospects to get Stanton. The Marlins are not going to take okay-ish prospects in a straight salary dump. It would be shameful. MLB should just fold the franchise if that happens. If the Marlins are going to trade Stanton, literally the greatest player in franchise history and someone who is still in the prime of his career, they’re going to do it because they get blown away with an offer.

My guess is the Yankees checked in because they check in on everyone, and hey, there’s always a chance the Marlins offer Stanton on favorable terms. You’ve got to ask to find out. That all said, what about looking at this through the Bryce Harper lens? Harper, another prime-aged superstar, will be a free agent after next season and the Yankees are expected to be very involved. Players that good and that young are hard to find. You go all-out to get them.

Harper is going to smash contract records and will almost certainly be the first $40M per season player in baseball history. He might get a $500M contract. It’s very possible. Compared to Harper’s upcoming contract, taking on Stanton at $295M from 2018-27 could be a downright bargain. Harper is the better player, but is he $10M+ per year better? Peak Harper and peak Stanton might not be so different, and peak Stanton is available right now (in theory).

I don’t think the Yankees have serious interest in Stanton right now. I think they made the call because they make every call. They wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t. Ultimately, I think the luxury tax plan and keeping the top prospects is too important to swing a Stanton trade right now. Harper will cost a ton of money, but it is just money, and the Yankees have plenty of it. They could wait a year to sign Harper for nothing but cash whereas Stanton costs money and prospects.

Heyman: Marlins, Stanton close to record 13-year, $325M deal

(Mike Ehrmann/Getty)
(Mike Ehrmann/Getty)

This isn’t Yankees-related — not directly, anyway — but holy crap, Jon Heyman says the Marlins and Giancarlo Stanton are close to finalizing a 13-year contract worth $325M. The record contract would include a no-trade clause and an opt-out clause. It would be the first no-trade clause in franchise history. Stanton had been scheduled to become a free agent after the 2016 season.

Depending on the date of the opt-out, this contract may actually increase the chances of Stanton becoming a Yankee down the line. Very few franchises can afford to absorb that kind of money in a trade. Either way, hell yeah Giancarlo. Dude is worth every penny in my opinion. He just turned 25 last week and he’s the top power hitter in baseball at a time when power is rare. Plus he has marquee value that transcends on-field performance. What a world.

2013 Potential Trade Targets — Part I

(Marc Serota/Getty)
(Marc Serota/Getty)

After a fairly dismal road trip, the Yankees now stand in third place with a 39-32 record and a run differential of zero. With just under 60% of the season remaining, there’s a lot of baseball to be played and a lot of time for rosters to change. As to be expected, Brian Cashman has already mentioned the team is “open for business,” so let’s take a look at some possible targets* who have been swirling about here at RAB.

Giancarlo Stanton
The 23 year old outfielder formerly known as Mike hasn’t had the best luck this season. He was sidelined in late April for five weeks with a fairly severe hamstring strain. Since returning Stanton has batted .344/.382/.813 (1.195 OPS) with four home runs. He’s a career .270/.350/.550 (.382 wOBA, 140 wRC+) hitter with three cost controlled years remaining. This is exactly the type of guy the Yankees should pursue. Chances are the Marlins won’t completely screw their fanbase move their disgruntled superstar by the deadline, but they very well may consider moving him come the offseason.

The problem is that Stanton’s a superstar and superstars require major hauls. The Yankees would be required to give up at least four or five of their top prospects (which I would definitely be okay with) – we’re talking Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, and maybe Rafael DePaula for starters – and that very well might not be enough to get it done, nor would a package such as that necessarily compete with other insane prospect packages offered by other organizations. Chances of this trade happening, in my opinion, are gloomy with a chance of “get-the-eff-outa-here,” but it’s fun to dream nevertheless.

Chase Headley
Headley has had a disappointing start to the 2013 season, at least by his standards. He’s batting .221/.328/.350 (.304 wOBA, 99 wRC+); hence the “Quick! It’s time to buy…” chants. The problem here is threefold. First, the Padres, despite sitting right at .500 are only three games out of first place, so they probably aren’t going to be sellers, at least as it stands now.

Second, San Diego GM Josh Byrnes isn’t a fool. He’s not going to just hand over a young, talented third baseman just because he’s struggled early on this season – it just doesn’t behoove the team to act in such reactionary fashion. In fact, the organization actively tried to discuss a long-term extension with Headley already. Third, and along the same lines as Stanton, if Byrnes were to trade Headley, it wouldn’t be cheap nor would NY necessarily have enough MLB-ready, elite prospects to get a deal done. If this was doable, I’d be all for it even if it meant gutting the farm. I just don’t see it happening though. Bummer.

(Brian Kersey/Getty)
(Brian Kersey/Getty)

Alfonso Soriano
This one’s kind of interesting because it’s much more plausible. The former Yankee second baseman has a full no-trade clause, though that really isn’t a big deal as he can still approve a move to NY (and all indications suggest he would be willing to consider them). Contractually, Soriano is still owed about $30.5M total for the remainder of this season and next. Presumably, if the Cubs were to make a move, the expectation would probably be for them to eat a significant chunk of the contract if they’re expecting any sort of return. If the Cubs just wanted to unload the remaining salary on to another team (which is also possible), they probably wouldn’t get anything back — kind of like how the Yankees handled A.J. Burnett.

Maybe the Cubs are willing to eat $15-20M, in which case I could see a C-level prospect getting thrown into the deal. In terms of upgrading the Yankee lineup, Soriano has hit .249/.280/393 (.290 wOBA, 79 wRC+) this season but is one year removed from posting a 116 wRC+, 3.6 fWAR season last year. He also has a very discernible splits against right-handers and he’s never shown a whole lot of patience at the plate (career 5.9 BB%). Would he be an improvement over what the Yankees are currently trotting out into left field? Probably. Do we really want another him though? I’d say no unless the Cubs eat almost all the remaining dollars, in which case, my official stance becomes “meh.” Eventually Curtis Granderson will return anyway.

Andre Ethier
Now here’s another guy who’s name gets mentioned frequently around here. Ethier has batted .251/.333/.377 (.308 wOBA, 98 wRC+) this season, which is about on par with what ZiPS projected. On the plus side he’s consistently been a 100-plus wRC+ hitter who has hit for some power over the years. On the downside, he has very obvious splits – lefties haven’t been particularly kind to him which inevitably translates into another platoon bat. He’s also shown increasing strikeout trends over the past few seasons. Moreover, his defensive value in right field has been judged as anywhere from slightly below-average to outright lousy.

The real elephant in the room though is the contract. The Dodgers saw fit to give Ethier a five year, $85M deal which carries him through 2017 (plus a 2018 club option). That translates out to about $8M owed this year, $15M in 2014, $18M in 2015 and 2016, then $17.5M in 2017. Yikes. Then there’s the age. He’s already 31 years old. I don’t want to see the Yankees on the hook for a ton of cash during his decline years, and I don’t want to see anyone noteworthy get shipped out to LA in return for him. Fortunately, should the Yankees elect to send prospects to LA, I imagine it would be nothing beyond a B-level prospect. Granted, I have never been a big Ethier supporter, but I really have no interest in seeing another corpse stumbling along the bases over the next several years.

*For the record, I have been saying from day one that there aren’t going to be any big names heading to NY by the trade deadline. Until I see otherwise, I’m sticking by this prediction. Also, if you have any trade targets you’d like me to consider, please submit them using the “Submit a Tip” feature, and I’ll try to incorporate it into my follow up piece which will hopefully be written in the next week or so.

Mailbag: April Rotation, Lohse, Stanton

Only three questions this week because you folks sent in a whole lot of repeats and wildly outrageous hypotheticals. Don’t get me wrong, I love to talk about crazy trade scenarios as much as anyone, but no, the Yankees won’t make a monster offer for Bryce Harper in the wake of Curtis Granderson‘s injury. So yeah, use the Submit A Tip box and step up your mailbagin’ game.

(Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)
(Dilip Vishwanat/Getty)

Paul asks: In years past I remember the season starting off with enough off days to make a fifth starter unnecessary until 2-3 weeks into the season. Freddy Garcia specifically had that happen. What’s this season like in that regard? Any chance that, even if Phil Hughes is on the DL they just go with four starters for a couple of weeks?

Unfortunately the schedule works against the Yankees this year. They play their first game on April 1st, have April 2nd off, then play 12 games in the next 12 days. Barring any weather-related postponements, the absolute latest the Yankees will need their fifth start this season April 8th in Cleveland, the seventh game of the season. They’ll need him again five days later, so it’s not even a situation where they would need him once in the first four weeks or something.

The Yankees are in relatively good shape because they do have have that spare starter — the loser of the Ivan Nova/David Phelps fifth starter battle — to stick in Hughes’ spot if his back injury delays the start of his season for any reason. My big concern is someone else getting hurt and having to miss time. All of a sudden Adam Warren would be taking the ball every five days in April and that is less than ideal. As I’ve written recently, I’m a fan of exploring a contract with Kyle Lohse even though it’ll cost a draft pick. If he’s willing to take favorable terms (one or two years at $7-8M annually?), having that extra quality depth will be nice. The Yankees are going to lean on their pitching staff more than usual this year, so might as well beef it up as much as possible.

Ben asks: Let’s pretend for a moment that you’re the GM of a team that has either a protected first round pick or you’ve already lost it because you’ve signed a qualifying free agent. Would the thought of signing Kyle Lohse to a one-year deal cross your mind? Consider this: if you do, you lose a second round pick, but if he pitches well then you can make a qualifying offer and be in line to get a BETTER pick than the one you gave up. How long would you entertain that idea before you dismissed it?

Well, isn’t that convenient. As I just said, I would absolutely explore signing Lohse at this point. I think draft picks are being overvalued these days, especially by legitimate contenders who are trying to win now. If you’re trying to win in 2013 and 2014, adding Lohse is going to help you a helluva lot more than a draft pick in whatever round. The scary part is that these St. Louis journeymen/reclamation types tend to stink as soon as they leave the Cardinals, however. The Jeffs — Suppan and Weaver — are the primary examples. That does make me nervous.

I’m not sure I buy the idea of getting a pick when Lohse leaves — given how his free agency has played out, I’m guessing Lohse would take a qualifying offer in the future, especially since they’re expected to climb into the $14-15M range in the coming years — but that’s always possible. I certainly wouldn’t assume a future draft pick when signing the right-hander. Without knowing what Scott Boras is seeking, I think there’s a pretty great opportunity out there for someone to get a bargain with Lohse at this point. The Braves, who already forfeited their first rounder to sign B.J. Upton and have questions at the back of the rotation, should be all over him.

"Someone get me the hell out of here." (Mike Ehrmann/Getty)
“Someone get me the hell out of here.” (Mike Ehrmann/Getty)

Frank asks: Nonsense (maybe not) hypothetical … If Tyler Austin, Slade Heathcott, and Mason Williams have somewhat outstanding years in AA/AAA, would you trade all three for Giancarlo Stanton, straight up?

Yep, in a heartbeat. Stanton is a proven star at the big league level and is basically in those guys’ age range — he’s ten months older than Heathcott and less than two years older than Austin and Williams — so it would be both a win-now and win-later move. I said before that I think draft picks are being overrated and I feel the same way about prospects, even top prospects. If you can’t trade multiple top prospects for someone like Stanton, who can you trade them for?

As much as we don’t want to admit it, those three young outfielders aren’t all going to work out. If the Yankees get one above-average big leaguer from that group, they should be thrilled. Two would be a minor miracle. Heathcott is an injury risk because he plays like a maniac, Austin’s power ceiling is limited because he doesn’t generate enough backspin, and Williams is a bit of a hacker. There are red flags there. Stanton isn’t the perfect player, but he fits the Yankees’ needs so beautifully. Empty out that farm system.

The Yankees and Giancarlo Stanton

(Dustin Bradford/Getty)

It has been nearly two months since the Marlins and Blue Jays swung their 12-player blockbuster, a trade that moved every Miami player making decent money north of the border. Ever since that trade, fans of every non-Marlins team have been clamoring for their squad to acquire Giancarlo Stanton. The just-turned-23-year-old is a .270/.350/.553 (140 wRC+) career hitter with 93 homers, the sixth most all-time through a player’s age 22 season. Stanton is special and everyone wants him.

A few days ago, Marlins assistant GM Dan Jennings told Jim Bowden that the team will indeed listen to offer for their young slugger, but they’re not actively shopping him and are disinclined to move him given his age and near-league minimum salary. In fact, Ken Rosenthal says the chances of a trade are “as close to zero as they can be.” They’re willing to listen to offers the same way every team will listen to offers for every player. It’s part of the business. Due diligence, as they say. The Yankees were one of several teams to contact Miami about Giancarlo this offseason, but obviously nothing has come from it.

The Yankees desperately need to add a young, impact hitter to the lineup, and Stanton obviously fits the bill. The problem is that they really don’t have the pieces to acquire him. This isn’t an Alex Rodriguez situation, where they were able to acquire one of the game’s best players on the right side of 30 despite a middling farm system because they could absorb his contract. Stanton is dirt cheap. He won’t be arbitration-eligible until the 2014 season, when he could threaten Ryan Howard’s first-time arbitration record of $10M. That’s a lot of scratch, but most teams could afford it.

The quartet of Mason Williams, Tyler Austin, Gary Sanchez, and Slade Heathcott will crack pretty much every top 100-ish prospect ranking in the next few weeks, but those guys have a combined eight plate appearances above Single-A ball. The Marlins aren’t taking a bunch of A-ball prospects for Stanton, they’re going to want MLB ready or near-MLB players. Guys who could step right into their lineup at some point this coming season. Ivan Nova, David Phelps, Adam Warren, David Adams, Corban Joseph … none of them are nearly good enough to pique Miami’s interest. They’re quantity, not quality. I can’t see a trade of Curtis Granderson for prospects that are then flipped for Stanton either. Good idea in theory, but why wouldn’t the third team just send those prospects to Miami directly?

(Brian Bissell/Future Star Photos)

I think that more than anything, this is where drafting the Cito Culvers and Dante Bichette Juniors of the world really comes back to bite the Yankees. Obviously injuries to Manny Banuelos and Jose Campos (and Michael Pineda) hurt as well, but the team passed on better talents (according to the consensus) to draft Culver and Bichette with their top picks in recent years. They haven’t developed as expected and leave the team with two untradeable assets. Well, not untradeable, but not all that valuable. Bichette would be what, the fifth player in a realistic Stanton package? Almost like a throw-in.

I understand what the Yankees were getting at with those selections. They targeted high-character guys who could rise to the big league level with the team rather than higher risk, higher ceiling guys. They didn’t draft for need per se, but the objective wasn’t best available player. If it was, the front office should be asking itself how the hell they managed to rate Culver and Bichette as the best available players at those draft slots. It doesn’t make sense. I say this all the time, but teams aren’t just drafting for themselves. They’re drafting for the rest of the league as well. Look at the Reds, they drafted Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal despite having Joey Votto and Devin Mesoraco, and it helped them land Mat Latos.

Anyway, I honestly don’t think the Marlins will move Stanton this offseason. I think they’ll wait until his big arbitration award next winter, then look to move him for a massive haul. Their history suggests they’ll cut bait once he gets moderately expensive, so I don’t think I’m wildly out of line here. Perhaps the Yankees will be in a better position to acquire Stanton next winter, after their top four prospects get time in Double-A and both Campos and Pineda get back on the mound. Maybe Culver and Bichette even boost their trade value, who knows. Everyone wants Giancarlo Stanton right now, but I don’t believe the Yankees have enough to entice Miami.

Cafardo: Yankees have inquired about Giancarlo Stanton

Via Nick Cafardo: The Yankees are one of many teams to inquire about the availability of outfielder Giancarlo Stanton in the wake of the Marlins’ fire sale/blockbuster with the Blue Jays. The Phillies, Red Sox, Orioles, and Cubs have also put a call in to Miami.

Stanton, who just turned 23 earlier this month, is a career .270/.350/.533 (140 wRC+) hitter with 93 homers in 373 games. He hit .290/.361/.608 (153 wRC+) with 37 homers in 501 plate appearances this season while battling right knee (surgery to remove loose bodies) and oblique problems. Stanton is under team control through 2016 and is a true franchise player, the kind of guy the Yankees should go all out to acquire if he’s actually available. The Marlins have not yet made any indication that he is, unfortunately.