Early Saturday morning, word got out the Yankees and Marlins have reportedly agreed to a trade that will send Giancarlo Stanton to New York for Starlin Castro plus a package of prospects. The full details of the trade are still unknown. Neither team has confirmed the deal.
To state the obvious, the Yankees adding Stanton has massive ramifications, both for their 2018 outlook and for the outlook of the entire league. The Yankees were already going to be a trendy World Series pick next year following their run to Game 7 of the ALCS this past season. Now they'll be on the short list of World Series favorites.
With the caveat that there are still more than two months to go before spring training, here's a look at what the Yankees' lineup could look like come Opening Day:
- CF Brett Gardner
- LF Aaron Judge
- RF Giancarlo Stanton
- C Gary Sanchez
- 1B Greg Bird
- SS Didi Gregorius
- DH Aaron Hicks
- 3B Chase Headley
- 2B Ronald Torreyes (or someone else)
Notably absent: Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury was relegated to fourth outfielder's duty behind Gardner, Hicks, and Judge in the postseason and the expectation was those three would remain the starters in 2018. Now with Stanton in the mix, the Yankees have five outfielders for three outfield spots plus the DH spot.
In all likelihood the Yankees will rotate their four starting outfielders in at DH to give them regular rest. Given his injury problems over the years, Stanton might see more time at DH than anyone else. Such is the advantage of playing the AL. Judge has no left field experience, at least not in the big leagues, though he is rangier than Stanton and left field is surprisingly spacious in Yankee Stadium. The best defensive alignment has Gardner in left, Hicks in center, and Judge in right.
The Yankees have some options at second base. They could stick with Torreyes, who filled in admirably for Gregorius and Castro while they were injured this past season, or look to sign a free agent like Neil Walker. Keep in mind the Yankees have Gleyber Torres, arguably the top prospect in the minors, on the cusp of MLB. He's not going unseat Gregorius at shortstop, but he could slide over to second easily. Torres figures to debut at some point in the first half next season.
Following the Stanton trade, the Yankees will have to figure out their best outfield alignment and what to do at second base, but those are relatively minor problems given the available options. They'll happily deal with that stuff in exchange for adding baseball's best power hitter.