Yankees’ $32 million slugger having career-worst season

mlb: boston red sox at new york yankees, giancarlo stanton
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees, once baseball’s titans, are grappling with a seven-game losing streak. The latest blow? An 8-1 defeat at the hands of the Boston Red Sox. With the spotlight squarely on performance metrics, the prodigious paychecks of some veteran players seem ill-suited to their current form on the field.

[su_posts template=”templates/list-loop.php” posts_per_page=”3″ tax_term=”1622326″ offset=”1″ order=”desc”]

Giancarlo Stanton’s Downward Spiral With the Yankees

Yankee’s top-dollar outfielder, Giancarlo Stanton, bagging a whopping $32 million in 2023, epitomizes this inconsistency. Injuries are a constant, impeding his stride in the game.

At 33, Stanton’s outfield stints are sporadic, clocking merely 215.1 innings this season. It’s a stark contrast to his more robust days, not having breached the 313-inning mark since 2018. This downtrend has essentially negated the defensive prowess that had been his hallmark in his prime.

Yet, the irony is palpable. Stanton’s defensive skills might be waning, but the Yankees’ financial commitment to him remains steadfast. They anticipated, perhaps rightly so, elite offensive production in return.

But, the stats narrate a grim story. The powerhouse is enduring the most lackluster season of his illustrious career: a .199 batting average, a .282 OBP, and a tally that includes 18 homers, 45 RBIs, and a 93 wRC+. What’s even more alarming is that for the first time, his WAR is in negative territory, making his spot in the batting lineup more of a liability.

Though Stanton’s knack for hitting the ball hard hasn’t waned, the return on investment for the Yankees looks bleak. Dishing out $32 million for someone more suited to the bench than the batting order is untenable. The crux? General Manager Brian Cashman’s penchant for splurging on players whose heydays seem behind them.

Doing the math, the Yankees are on the hook for $118 million over the forthcoming four years for Stanton. While the Miami Marlins pitch in $10 million annually, the lion’s share of this financial commitment rests with the Yankees.

A Glimmer of Hope Amidst Dismal Performances?

Optimism in the face of adversity is a virtue, and that’s the sentiment surrounding Stanton. Will he rediscover his mojo? The odds seem slim, given the underwhelming show over two consecutive seasons. His on-base percentage has slumped below 30% for two seasons in a row, and witnessing his batting average plummet below .200, for the first time over such an extensive period augurs ill for the Yankees.

Yet, the Yankees have their backs to the wall. Given Stanton’s no-trade clause, offloading him isn’t an option. The ray of hope? Perhaps 2024 might herald a renaissance for Stanton. After all, at 33, one would argue there’s still some fire left. But for now, all the Yankees can bank on is optimism.