ORLANDO — The New York Yankees are one of at least eight teams that have spoken to the Marlins about Giancarlo Stanton, though they can’t be considered anything like a serious player in the Stanton derby — at least not at this point.
The Yankees’ brief confab with the Marlins was initiated by Miami, and to this juncture has gone no further than a couple sentences spoken between the respective GMs, the Yankees’ Brian Cashman and Michael Hill of the Marlins.
The San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals have been seen as the most aggressive pursuers of the great Stanton in the early going, while others have been mentioned more prominently than the Yankees, and there’s been nothing substantive said between the Yankees and Marlins regarding Stanton beyond the Marlins’ inquiry as to whether the Yankees had any interest, and the Yankees’ response that they’d be interested in hearing what Miami had in mind, which may just be due diligence.
While San Francisco and St. Louis have been viewed as among logical landing spots, Marlins people are describing things as being early in the process, and the talk with the Yankees would seem to bear that out. It’s going to be quite the undertaking considering Stanton’s special accomplishments (he may be named MVP after leading the NL by 20 home runs with 59), his record contract that has $295 million and 10 years remaining, his opt-out after 2020 and especially his full no-trade.
The Yankees would not seem to be the perfect fit beyond the fact that they can afford Stanton and believe in star power, which he has in spades. The Yankees are determined to get below the $197 million luxury-tax threshold for 2018, which owner Hal Steinbrenner calls an “attainable goal,” and they wouldn’t seem to have much need for right-handed power, or a corner outfielder, since their own star Aaron Judge hit 52 home runs and catcher Gary Sanchez is another major power threat.
FanRag Sports reported last summer that the Yankees had made one initial call regarding Stanton around the time of the All-Star game in Miami, but that then-Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria decided to table big trade talk while the sale of the franchise was proceeding. Eventually, a group led by Bruce Sherman and Yankees icon Derek Jeter, who arrived here at the owners meeting and spoke to the press Wednesday, won the team with a $1.2 billion bid.
While Jeter declined to discuss the specifics of the team’s dealings, they are clearly talking to teams about Stanton, as they aim to cut the payroll from $115 million to around $85-$90 million. They almost can’t do it without trading Stanton since natural raises could bring the payroll to $130 million, or more, if they do nothing. They are also talking to teams about Dee Gordon and Martin Prado, and though Prado may be tough to deal off an injury year, Gordon also cooperated with a huge year.
If ever there was a time to trade Stanton, it probably is now, as he posted an extraordinary season and is likely the MVP favorite. The Giants, Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies all want to add a big bat, though there’s considerable question whether Stanton would approve the Phillies and some question as to whether he’d approve the Cardinals.
The Boston Red Sox also have been linked to Stanton, though word is they may be a long shot. Stanton’s hometown Los Angeles Dodgers are said to have checked in as well, but they look at everything. Since eight teams have called, at least three more remain mysteries.
Stanton is under no real pressure to approve any particular team since he has 10 years to go on his deal, beyond the fact he doesn’t want to endure another rebuild, as he told FanRag Sports two months ago.
Some believe Stanton might be more inclined to approve a team on a coast, though that is nothing more than speculation until Stanton weighs in. That hasn’t happened yet — though he gave Hill an idea about his preferences when the pair spoke.