Can the Yankees realistically trade $118 million struggling slugger?

mlb: washington nationals at new york yankees, giancarlo stanton
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees find themselves in a financial bind with some hefty contracts affecting their luxury tax salary. Investing in Aaron Judge, a player essential to the Yankees’ competitiveness, was a no-brainer. However, as he’s now 31, this deal could come back to haunt the franchise down the line. But for the moment, it’s an absolute must.

The Giancarlo Stanton Dilemma: A High Cost, Low Return Investment

Giancarlo Stanton, the other high-priced slugger on the Yankees roster, is causing some major concerns. Stanton rakes in $32 million per season, with a $22 million luxury tax salary, thanks to the Miami Marlins chipping in $10 million for the rest of his contract. The reality, however, is that Stanton is failing to deliver the performance the Yankees had in mind when they brought him aboard in 2018.

A Rollercoaster in Pinstripes: Stanton’s Inconsistent Years

In Stanton’s first year with the Yankees, he showcased a commendable performance, playing 158 games and posting a .266 batting average along with a .343 OBP. His stats included 38 home runs, 100 RBIs, and a 128 wRC+. After injury-plagued seasons in 2019 and 2020, he rebounded in 2021, hitting 35 homers with a 138 wRC+. However, a closer look reveals that his numbers have been on the decline for some time.

The 2022 season was particularly alarming for Stanton. He ended with a paltry .211 average and .297 OBP, albeit with 31 homers and 78 RBIs. Most fans were optimistic that he would bounce back in 2023 after injuries disrupted his rhythm. Sadly, 2023 has been abysmal—Stanton has appeared in just 96 games, hitting .190 with a .276 OBP, alongside 24 home runs, 58 RBIs, and a career-low 90 wRC+.

Age and Athleticism: The Declining Facets of Stanton’s Game

Stanton, now 33, still wields power at the plate, but his dwindling athleticism and reduced on-base percentage are glaring issues. His once explosive speed is now reduced to cautious jogs as he seeks to avoid a series of hamstring injuries and other lower-body issues.

The Trade Quandary: A No-Go for the Yankees

Yankees fans are pondering whether Stanton can be traded to alleviate the team’s financial woes. The reality is stark. Even if the Yankees wanted to offload his remaining $118 million salary, they’d still be responsible for roughly $98 million due to Stanton’s $10 million buyout option in the final year of his contract in 2028. That’s not to mention his full no-trade clause, making him immovable unless he consents. The financial burden of his $22 million luxury tax salary will be the Yankees’ to bear until the 2028 off-season, when he’ll be 38 years old.

Fan Frustration Peaks: Stanton’s Dubious Contributions

Public opinion on Stanton hit a new low after the Yankees’ Tuesday night game, a contest where they were already virtually eliminated from postseason contention. Stanton hit into two double plays with runners on base, further raising questions about his worth to the team. The 2023 season is about to end, and he’ll be entering 2024 with a clean slate, but that doesn’t mean he has room for excuses if his struggles persist.

The Unfortunate Reality: Stanton Isn’t Going Anywhere

The stark truth is that moving Stanton is virtually impossible under the current circumstances. Yankees fans will have to endure the remainder of his hefty contract, hoping he can somehow turn things around. While his form has been deteriorating over the past few seasons, it’s a wait-and-see game for everyone involved as Stanton looks to recover his lost glory.

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