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The New York Yankees have not yet signed a superstar to any megadeals this offseason. That may or may not be due to a megadeal superstar with whom they are already charged.
In December of 2017, the Yankees acquired the current National League MVP, Giancarlo Stanton, of the Miami Marlins. As part of the agreement, they assumed $ 265 million of the remaining $ 295 million in Stanton's record $ 325 million contract.
The 29-year debut season in New York was quite good and disappointing at the same time. Although excellent by any other measure, his .852 OPS, 38 homers and 4.0 victories over replacement (by baseball reference) were far from the marks he had achieved in 2017: 1,007, 59 and 7.6.
It was difficult even at the time of Stanton's trade. do not to consider how it would shape the New York agenda in the free agent market of 2018-2019. To this end, there was an optimistic outlook to which he would cling even during 2018: better $ 265 million for him than $ 400 million for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado.
But with the spring training now under way and the Opening Day of the 2019 season of Major League Baseball is not far from the horizon, it suddenly seems that none of the 26-year-old superstars will not even aim for $ 400 million.
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Although the San Francisco Giants have become a favorite for Harper, Bob Nightengale of USA Today they reported that they are not motivated to match the Washington Nationals' 10-year and $ 300 million offer that the 2015 National League MVP According to reports, rejected last September, according to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post.
Machado's market does not seem to be stronger. Its main competitor may be the Chicago White Sox, whose offer to the shortstop / third base had a value of "around $ 200 million," according to Nightengale.
There seems to be an opportunity for the Yankees to catch Harper or Machado in a timely manner for less than expected. The problem is that there is not much space in your list or payroll.
In the gardens, they have Stanton, Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner, with Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier on reserve. In the infield, they have Miguel Andújar, Troy Tulowitzki, Gleyber towers and Luke Voit around the speaker, with DJ LeMahieu and, eventually, a healthy Didi Gregorius as backup.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are scheduled to open 2019 with a luxury tax of $ 217.3 million. That is well above the reference threshold of $ 206 million. Signing with Harper or Machado would probably put them above the $ 246 million threshold for the most severe penalties.
But in order for no one to blame these jams solely on Stanton's exchange, let's start by taking off our hindsight glasses and remembering that the exchange itself was equivalent to a robbery for New York.
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The Yankees maneuvered for Stanton after he used his non-commercial influence to freeze the Miami talks with the Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals. In the end, they convinced the Marlins to hand him Stanton and $ 30 million for nothing more than Starlin Castro and two low-level prospects.
Although the 2018 Yankees could not beat the eventual World Series champion, the Boston Red Sox, Stanton was not the problem. It was a central part of an offense that boosted an improvement from 91 victories to 100 victories with a record 267 homers. Although he was largely silent with Boston in the American League Division Series, it had nothing to do with the effectiveness of the 6.94 team that sealed the fate of New York.
Looking ahead to 2019, optimism for the Yankees should focus on how they have improved, while the Red Sox have worsened. The Red Sox will face more challenges after 2019, when they lose Chris Sale, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Rick Porcello to free agency.
If there is a frightening part of the Yankees' deal with Stanton, that's what will come after 2020. Since he will be coming out of his 30-year season and contemplating uncertainty in the free-agent market, he is likely to resign. his voluntary exclusion in favor of the $ 218 million that he is owed through his 37-year-old season in 2027.
On the positive side, the money contributed by the Marlins reduces Stanton's luxury tax assessment (h / t Kyle Downing of MLB commercial rumors) to $ 22 million per year. Relative to the $ 30 million per year that could lead to Harper or Machado, that is a great advantage for the long-term profitability of the Yankees.
Of course, it does not make much sense to argue that Stanton has more long-term advantages than Harper or Machado. It is three years older than any of them, and has not reached Harper's maximum (10.0 WAR in 2015) or Machado's overall excellence (23.2 WAR) since 2015.
But if the question is how each star is really a trend, WAR shows a more nuanced image:
Despite his warts, namely: problems with the injured insect and a habit of punch difficult to shake, Stanton has had a more stable performance than Harper, whose explosion of 2015 resembles both an outlier and a sign of his true level of talent.
Machado, on the other hand, is really going places. His value is being fueled by his transformation into a batter and a defense that can be played on the shortstop and well above the average at third base. Leaving aside the occasionally toxic behavior, it could be said that he deserves a place among the top five MLB players.
If there is a concern with Machado, it is about how such a big guy (6 "3", 185 pounds) with two surgically repaired knees will stay on the defensive – maybe sooner than later, there will be will be There will come a time when your bat will have to carry it.
This is where the proper respect for Stanton's bat is in order. Although Machado has found his offensive pace in the past four seasons, Stanton has been the best hitter. For the most part, it goes back to the power that has produced the most homers (305, to be exact) throughout its 28-year-old season than all the other seven players in baseball history.
Beyond Stanton's extreme brute power, he has Yankee Stadium and the designated hitter in his favor. The first is almost as friendly for left-handed fighters as for left-handers. Stanton led the latter with an OPS of .942 and 24 homers in 86 games as DH in 2018.
The best offense for Stanton at this time is Nelson Cruz, who also proves to be an encouraging example of how an especially talented batsman can grow old with the help of DH. Perhaps it is not an exaggeration to believe that he will fulfill his contract as well or better than Harper and Machado will comply with the agreements that they eventually obtain.
Instead of the Stanton deal, complaints about the Yankees' offseason should be why they did not just make a splurge for Harper or Machado. After finally getting the luxury tax in 2018, they could have done it easily.
Heck, the Yankees could still Land Harper or Machado if they wanted. Although they would be registering to get fines for fines for luxury taxes, the franchise is worth billions ($ 4 billion, depending on Forbes) to cover the cost.
In any case, the Stanton exchange should not be considered as one the Yankees should not have done.
The statistics are courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs. The payroll data is courtesy of Roster Resource.