The Yankees are dishing out $49 million for severely declining players in 2024

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

The New York Yankees face the daunting task of managing bad contracts and hefty expenditures that will haunt their books in the upcoming offseason. To make matters worse, they are also slated to shell out an eye-watering $49 million to two fading stars in 2024. It’s yet another episode of General Manager Brian Cashman’s risky business strategies, and that doesn’t even account for the $6 million still owed to Josh Donaldson to play for a different team next year.

Giancarlo Stanton: The Yankees’ $22 Million Quandary

Starting off is Giancarlo Stanton, the 33-year-old slugger who is currently batting a lackluster .201 with a .281 OBP this season. Though his base salary for next year is $32 million, thanks to the Miami Marlins picking up a $10 million tab, Stanton’s luxury tax salary stands at $22 million for the Yankees in 2024.

Stats Speak Volumes: Stanton’s Decline

Despite smashing 22 home runs and accumulating 55 RBIs this season, Stanton’s metrics are far from comforting. With a 28.1% strikeout rate, 9.4% walk rate, and 94 wRC+, the numbers suggest he is 6% less effective than the average MLB hitter. It’s a worrisome picture, especially considering Stanton’s astronomical base salary. He’s clearly not the offensive powerhouse that he once was, and it looks like the Yankees are stuck with him until 2028.

No Exit Strategy: Contractual Limitations

The issue isn’t just the declining performance; it’s the contractual obligations that make it virtually impossible for the Yankees to move Stanton. Due to a no-trade clause and his exorbitant price tag, even contemplating a trade would likely require the Yankees to part ways with other valuable assets. While there’s hope that Stanton might regain his form, particularly after an injury-riddled 2023, the optimism is waning.

Power, But No Precision

The irony is that Stanton’s power metrics are still solid. He boasts a 49.3% hard-hit rate this year, along with a 93.3 average exit velocity and a 16.1% barrel rate. The issue isn’t his strength; it’s his dwindling ability to actually hit the ball, especially when it comes to breaking balls and offspeed pitches. This year, his averages have plummeted to .192 against breaking balls and .167 against offspeeds. Until he recovers his knack for such pitches, his numbers will likely remain subpar.

Carlos Rodon: The $27 Million Gamble

As if Stanton’s $22 million wasn’t headache enough, the Yankees are also saddled with Carlos Rodon’s new six-year, $162 million contract signed just last offseason.

A Season to Forget

Rodon is set to earn $27 million in luxury tax salary next year, following his worst professional season to date. He’s managed only 46.1 innings over 10 appearances this season, recording a dismal 6.60 ERA, eight strikeouts per nine, a 67% left-on-base rate, and a 27.2% ground-ball rate.

The Injury Toll: A Risky Bet

Much like Stanton, Rodon’s declining performance can largely be attributed to a series of unfortunate injuries, including a forearm strain, chronic back issues, and a hamstring problem. The Yankees certainly did not anticipate such health concerns when they offered him a hefty contract. With hopes that Rodon might rebound in 2024, the pressure is on for both him and the franchise that invested so much in his uncertain future.

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