The New York Yankees just got eliminated in a humiliating fashion by the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS. There will be a lot of talk about “whose fault it was”, but one thing that most will certainly agree on is that Giancarlo Stanton did not live up to expectations. Coming off of an MVP 2017 season, Stanton was traded to New York and was immediately expected to do better in a loaded lineup and a better park for hitters. He wasn’t even supposed to feel the pressure of leading the team, as that spot belonged to Aaron Judge.
It was unclear how Stanton would fit into New York’s crowded outfield (he ultimately ended up as a DH) and whether he was even the best way to allocate their resources, but it was Stanton and he didn’t even cost much to acquire. What followed from him was a good but not great season, that featured him having the worst slump of his career, never looking comfortable in New York and a terrible performance in the playoffs (that includes a key strikeout in the deciding game of the ALDS where he was badly needed to deliver). It’s safe to say that Stanton is probably not a fan favorite at this point and might not be suited to playing in New York at all. So what should the Bronx Bombers do?
1. HOPE FOR AN IMPROVEMENT IN 2019
The most likely solution is that they won’t do anything, they will simply hope that Stanton does better next season. There is precedent to this, the New York Yankees acquired Alex Rodriguez prior to the 2004 season, after he had just won the AL MVP award and while he was considered to even be the best player in the game. Even bigger, the Yankees got him instead of their rivals the Boston Red Sox, who almost acquired him first. Entering 2004, A-Rod was supposed to have another MVP year in a better lineup and a better hitter’s park. He was also supposed to deliver a championship despite not being the leader, as that spot belonged to Derek Jeter. Instead, he wasn’t nearly as good as in the previous season and was terrible against Boston of all teams in the ALCS, that the Yankees lost in humiliating fashion. The following year however, A-Rod won the AL MVP after a monster season. Could Stanton follow in his footsteps? The obvious answer is that Stanton is simply not as good as A-Rod but could he not simply bounce back and have a better year?
The New York Yankees can also trade him. Stanton is owed a lot of money, but he’s also young, productive and can opt out in 2 years. Stanton has a no-trade clause but as a California native who preferred to be traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, he may waive it to go to his dream team. LA could even use him, with an opening at his natural position (right field) due to Yasiel Puig’s free agency and a need for a middle of the order bat. LA even has good trade pieces to roughly match in and out going salaries. LA could send Hill (who is on an expiring contract and can’t stay healthy but who has had success in the AL East) and Wood (who recently lost his rotation spot) to the starting pitching needy Bronx Bombers. LA would still have Clayton Kershaw (unless he opts out and leaves after this season), Walker Buehler, Ross Stripling, Kenta Maeda and Julio Urias available for the rotation.
3. TRADE HIM TO THE CHICAGO CUBS FOR SP YU DARVISH
They can also trade him to another team that he was willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to last year. A team that plans to improve its offense and might want to move on from Darvish’s contract after a terrible year and while having their own pitching surplus. Stanton could take over in left field with Kyle Schwarber traded to an AL team or benched, or in right field with Jason Heyward moving to center field and Albert Almora Jr. moving to the bench. This trade would likely improve both teams as long as Darvish is healthy in 2019.
So what should the New York Yankees do about Giancarlo Stanton? Personally, I think that trading him is the right call. A-Rod was a great defender who hit for contact and power and who could also steal some bases. Stanton is an OK defender whose only asset is his elite power. He doesn’t hit well for contact and strikes out a too much. I think that what New York needs is a more balanced lineup and Stanton’s skillset makes him a liability more than an asset in it. Stanton would be better off playing for a different team that needs his skillet more.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter at @NeilfromNYC