Yankees are stuck paying $118 million to declining veteran for next four years

MLB: New York Yankees at Colorado Rockies, yankees, giancarlo stanton
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 baseball season has been marked by numerous challenges, with the full-team setback being a significant concern. Among the high-priced veterans who have underperformed, Giancarlo Stanton, tied to the Yankees with a hefty contract, stands out.

A Peek into Stanton’s Contract

The Yankees/Marlins are bound to pay Stanton a whopping $118 million over the ensuing four seasons. For the 2023 season alone, he is owed $32 million, a sum that will persist for the next two years before tapering off to $29 million and eventually $25 million at 38 years old, when the team possesses a club option.

However, this club option isn’t without its costs; it comes with a $10 million buyout. This means the Yankees have a significant financial commitment towards Stanton before they can recalibrate their luxury tax and allocate resources elsewhere.

The silver lining, however, is that the Miami Marlins shoulder part of this financial burden, contributing about $10 million every season. Nonetheless, this doesn’t entirely offset the Yankees’ substantial investment in a player who is evidently in decline.

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Stanton’s Diminishing Batting Metrics

In 2022, at 33 years of age, Stanton recorded a batting average of .211 and an OBP of .297, albeit with 31 home runs and 78 RBIs. He has a 30.3% strikeout rate paired with an 11.1% walk rate, resulting in a 115 wRC+. Despite these decent power metrics, Stanton’s current season stats reveal a career-low batting average and the lowest on-base percentage.

In the span of 70 games, his stats have been underwhelming, hitting .203 with a .283 OBP, complemented by 18 homers, 45 RBIs, and a 97 wRC+. This dip signifies the first instance in his professional journey where he’s perceived as a below-average offensive contributor. The added fact that Stanton isn’t contributing significantly in defense further diminishes his overall value.

Highlighting his lackluster August performance, Stanton’s batting average stood at .224, with an OBP of .321. He managed to secure four homers and 10 RBIs across 49 at-bats. Surprisingly, these figures surpass his career averages, which is quite telling of his declining form.

Health Concerns and Defensive Shortcomings the Yankees Must Navigate

Health has been a nagging concern for Stanton. Over the past five seasons, he has played more than 110 games only once, which happened a year post his trade shift from the Marlins to the Yankees. Sadly, the prime Stanton that fans knew seems to have faded. With just 198.1 outfield innings under his belt this year, his defensive metrics include -1 defensive runs saved and -1 outs above average.

Questions Surrounding General Manager Brian Cashman

This isn’t the first contractual debacle that general manager Brian Cashman finds himself mired in. With the initial phase of Carlos Rodon’s contract also under scrutiny, the ownership might be contemplating Cashman’s capability to navigate the team’s future.