After rejecting trades to San Francisco and St. Louis, reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton is reportedly heading to New York.
The Yankees and Marlins have reportedly agreed to a trade that will send Stanton to New York, according to Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and Joel Sherman of the New York Post have also confirmed the deal. The Marlins are expected to receive Starlin Castro and prospects from the Yankees while kicking in some money that covers a small portion of Stanton's contract. Neither club has confirmed the deal.
Stanton is three years into his massive 13-year, $325 million contract, which includes the full no-trade clause he used to block deals to the Giants and Cardinals. , but were rejected by Stanton. The Dodgers were known to be Stanton's first choice, though the Yankees, Cubs, and Astros .
The Marlins have been looking to move Stanton, fresh off his 59 home run season, as a way to cut costs. The new ownership group fronted by Derek Jeter wants to get the team's debt under control and one of the easiest ways to do that is by trading the team's most expensive player. Once Stanton rejected the Giants and Cardinals, Miami lost leverage, and the Yankees pounced even though they already have a pretty great power-hitting right fielder in Aaron Judge.
For weeks the Yankee have made it clear they want to get under the $197 million luxury tax threshold in 2018, which would reset their tax rate -- they are currently taxed at the maximum 50 percent -- and save the club millions. That is still doable even while taking on Stanton's contract. The Yankees had about $32 million in payroll space available before the trade, plus the inclusion of Castro in the trade will offset some of Stanton's salary. It's possible the Marlins will eat some money as well.
Stanton, who turned 28 last month, hit .281/.376/.631 (165 OPS+) with those MLB leading 59 home runs in 2017, earning him NL MVP honors. He became only the sixth player in history to hit as many as 59 homers in a single season, joining Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Roger Maris, and Babe Ruth. Stanton is a career .268/.360/.554 (146 OPS+) hitter who has averaged 44 home runs per 162 games played.
There are some interesting parallels between the reported Stanton trade and the Alex Rodriguez trade from many years ago. During the 2003-04 offseason, A-Rod was coming off his age 27 season, in which he led the league in homers and won the MVP award. The Rangers, however, were so desperate to unload his contract that they traded him to the Yankees for pennies on the dollar and ate a bunch of money to make it happen.
Stanton just completed his age 27 season, and like A-Rod back then, he just led the league in homers and won the MVP award. The Marlins are so desperate to unload his contract that they're reportedly trading him for pennies on the dollar and may be eating some money to make it happen. Each contract includes a complicating opt-out clause as well -- A-Rod's opt-out came into play four years after the trade while Stanton's is three years away.
As for the reported haul, Castro goes from the Cubs to the Yankees to the Marlins over a span of three offseasons. He had a career season in 2017, batting .300/.338/.454 with 16 HRs and a 106 OPS+. With two years left on his seven-year, $60 million deal and a club option for 2020, he could be a candidate to be traded again before the start of the season if the Marlins go into full rebuild mode.
Of the two prospects reportedly going to the Marlins, Jorge Guzman, 21, is likely the one with the best chance to make an impact. The Yankees' ninth-best prospect per MLB.com prior to the trade, Guzman posted a 2.84 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 88/18 K/BB ratio in 66 2/3 innings at short-season A-ball in 2017. The Yankees also received Jose Devers, who wasn't ranked among the Yankees' top 30 prospects by MLB.com.
The Marlins traded Dee Gordon to the Mariners in another cost-cutting move earlier this week and it's likely similar moves will follow. Martin Prado, Brad Ziegler, Junichi Tazawa, and Marcell Ozuna have been mentioned as trade candidates, and it stands to reason the Marlins would listen to offers for Christian Yelich as well.