The New York Yankees are counting on their top-paid veterans to elevate their game in 2024. Although the likes of Josh Donaldson and DJ LeMahieu had their ups and downs, it’s Giancarlo Stanton’s inconsistent performance that’s drawing attention. Interestingly, while LeMahieu found his groove in the season’s latter half, Stanton’s performance didn’t align with his extended healthy spell.
Stanton’s pattern over the years has been all too familiar: he gains momentum, only to be sidelined by injuries. Yet, the 2023 season saw him on the field for 101 games. Even with this consistency, his stats dipped noticeably from a .211 average and .297 OBP in 2022 to a .191 average and .275 OBP in the recent season, inclusive of 24 homers, 60 RBIs, and a 30% strikeout rate.
Still, a hopeful Stanton sees a path forward. Emphasizing the importance of offseason work, he remarked, “There’ll be a lot of changes. I’ve talked about how bad the year has been, so not much more to touch on that. But there will be a lot in the lab in the offseason.”
Stanton’s 89 wRC+ this season, the lowest of his career, reveals that he’s now a below-average hitter. Given he’s 33 and showing signs of wear and tear, it’s a concerning development for the Yankees.
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The Weight of the Contract
Adding to the pressure is Stanton’s substantial upcoming payouts. The Yankees are on the hook for $98 million in luxury tax salary spanning the next few seasons. They’re likely to exercise a club option in 2028, triggering a $10 million buyout. Considering Stanton’s non-tradable status due to his no-trade clause and declining performance, the Yankees need him at his best. After all, acquiring an expensive declining player isn’t on any team’s wishlist.
To rekindle his old spark, Stanton is relying on film studies to understand and recapture his past success. Reflecting on his strategy, he shared, “It’s a lot of film, a lot of thought process in it. What was my thought process during a lot of the film and how they match up with other years, other good times, bad times, etc. Just get a good game plan for next year.”
The Yankees Have a Hopeful Outlook
Manager Aaron Boone also weighed in on Stanton’s struggles, expressing confidence in his potential comeback. Boone stated, “Obviously been a disappointing one for G. I absolutely believe it’s still in there for him to be what we need him to be in the middle of our lineup. He’s going to be one of those guys that has to have a really strong winter. He and I have already spoken about that and have some thoughts. But I absolutely believe it’s in there for him to be the factor we need him to be. He believes that, he knows that and I think he is uber-focused on making sure he’s the guy we need him to be next year.”
For the Yankees, the onus is clear: Stanton must maximize the off-season to bounce back. Given the prestige of playing in the Bronx and his significant paycheck, it’s time for Stanton to step up and contribute to the legacy of the New York Yankees.