Yankees’ $98 million problem admits he’s been ‘terrible’

mlb: milwaukee brewers at new york yankees, giancarlo stanton
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have a significant financial commitment to Giancarlo Stanton, with a whopping $98 million owed over the upcoming seasons, culminating in a club option in 2028. Adding a layer of complexity, Stanton possesses a full no-trade clause. This means that the Yankees couldn’t facilitate a trade, even if they wanted to, without Stanton’s approval.

While the Miami Marlins cover $10 million of the bill annually, the remaining amount is a hefty sum for the Yankees, especially considering Stanton’s dwindling performance. The stark reality is that the price tag is growing heavier for a player who hasn’t lived up to expectations this season, and similarly, in 2022.

Breaking Down Stanton’s Performance

Currently, at 33, Stanton’s physical prowess seems to be on the decline. This season’s statistics are a testament to that: a batting average of .190, an OBP of .276, 24 home runs, 58 RBIs, a 28.9% strikeout rate, a 10.1% walk rate, and a 90 wRC+. For the first time ever, Stanton is registering a negative WAR, pushing him into the category of below-average hitters.

Stanton himself acknowledged his underwhelming season. Following a defeat at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays, marking their third consecutive loss, he remarked, “terrible.” But it’s not due to a lack of effort. Stanton emphasized his commitment to improving his form, but external factors might be in play. It could be physical issues, dwindling confidence, or both. Stanton is aware of the downward trend in his numbers and feels the pressure to deliver.

In his words, “(There’s) a lot of things I’ve got to work and adjust on, but if you guys think I’m just showing up and going out there and not working, then I don’t know what to tell you.”

September’s stats paint an even grimmer picture. A batting average of a mere .098, an OBP of .233, and an OPS of .567. With only five hits in his recent 51 at-bats and just two home runs in the last eight games, questions arise. The Yankees might need to reassess if retaining him, despite the cost, is worth it. They might grant him another chance in 2024, anticipating a comeback.

A Deeper Dive into Stanton’s Struggles

A noticeable decrease in swing velocity and challenges with breaking pitches have marked Stanton’s gameplay. This year’s breakdown is telling: .198 against fastballs, .185 against breaking balls, and .147 against off-speed pitches. 2022 saw slightly better figures, but they were still underwhelming compared to his peak performance in 2019. After a series of injuries and inconsistent form, it’s plausible that the prime Giancarlo Stanton is a thing of the past.

Looking Ahead: The Yankees’ Perspective

General manager Brian Cashman remains hopeful. Having brokered one of the most significant trades of his career to acquire Stanton, Cashman’s reputation is intertwined with Stanton’s success. The forthcoming off-season is pivotal for Stanton as he seeks to rejuvenate his form and justify the Yankees’ investment. Should there be no turnaround, the Yankees may face a tough decision: absorbing the financial hit and granting opportunities to other promising talents.

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