Could the Yankees offload $118 million over the next four years via trade?

giancarlo stanton, yankees
Apr 4, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) singles during the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees‘ current plight doesn’t seem to be taking a backseat in the near future. A large part of this has to do with less-than-favorable contracts they’ve committed to, some of which are already showing signs of being burdensome.

The Stanton Stalemate

One contract causing a furrowed brow in the Yankees’ camp is that of Giancarlo Stanton. With a looming $32 million payout next season and an overwhelming $118 million over the upcoming four years, the financial strain is palpable. Although the Miami Marlins generously contribute $10 million every season, the financial commitment from the Yankees remains significant. At 33, Stanton’s performance has been displaying vivid markers of regression.

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For context, Stanton’s metrics last season stood at a .211 average with a .297 OBP, highlighted by 31 homers, 78 RBIs, a 30.3% strikeout rate, an 11.1% walk rate, and a 115 wRC+. Contrast this with this season’s figures over 72 games: .202 average, .282 OBP, 18 homers, 45 RBIs, and a 95 wRC+.

Stanton’s performance trajectory, marred by frequent injuries, is on the decline. Despite his commendable hard-hit metrics this season (47.1% hard-hit rate and 15.9% barrel rate), a significant concern is his career’s lowest max exit velocity at 118.3 — still ridiculously impressive.

Power? Absolutely, Stanton can dispatch balls out of the park with ease. Durability? That’s where the cracks are visible. And given time, his dwindling performance might tilt him more towards being a liability than an asset for the Yankees.

But offloading such a hefty contract comes with its caveats. One primary hitch is Stanton’s no-trade clause. It’s simple; any trade involving Stanton would require his nod of approval. Now, who would be willing to onboard an injury-prone 33-year-old with dwindling defensive skills?

General Manager Brian Cashman seems to be in a quandary, bound by this contract until 2028, with a club option that incorporates a $10 million buyout. As Stanton revels in his substantial earnings, even as his on-field minutes drop, the Yankees are left to grapple with this and several other mammoth contracts.

Steinbrenner’s Stance and the Yankees’ Path Forward

Owner Hal Steinbrenner might be wary of letting Cashman splurge in the forthcoming off-season. When you juxtapose the Yankees’ expenditure with other superior teams that manage stellar performances at a fraction of the cost, it provides a persuasive argument for fiscal prudence.

While reining in expenses and enhancing revenue seems counterintuitive to the Yankees’ historical approach, it’s imperative to question the wisdom in shelling out exorbitantly for a team that’s trailing rather than leading.