The reigning National League MVP is on the move. Miami Marlins star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton has been reportedly traded to the New York Yankees in a stunning early morning deal on Saturday. The deal is official as of Monday morning:
The New York Yankees today announced that they have acquired outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and cash considerations from the Miami Marlins in exchange for second baseman Starlin Castro, minor league right-handed pitcher Jorge Guzman and minor league infielder Jose Devers.— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) December 11, 2017
Stanton met with both the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals in the last week of November, after both teams reached tentative trade agreements with Miami. However, Stanton informed both St. Louis and San Francisco that he would not waive his no-trade clause to join those teams.
In addition to the Yankees, Stanton reportedly submitted a list of teams to which he would approve a trade, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs, per Craig Mish of Sirius XM Radio.
Stanton hit .281/.376/.631 with 59 home runs, 132 RBI, 85 walks and 123 runs scored in 159 games for the Marlins in 2017, the most home runs hit by any major league player in 16 seasons. He was named National League Most Valuable Player in November, beating Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto in one of the closest MVP votes ever by the BBWAA.
At issue was Stanton’s contract, which has 10 years and $295 million remaining on the 13-year deal the outfielder signed in November 2014. Stanton can opt out after 2020, which would mean walking away from $218 million over the final seven years of the deal.
Though Stanton wielded power with his no-trade clause, the Marlins reportedly used what leverage they had in October, per Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald:
According to two sources with knowledge of discussions, the Marlins informed Stanton in October that if he refused to waive his no-trade rights and accept a trade, he would remain a Marlin and team officials would look to trade off other top players to reduce payroll.
While it wasn’t presented to Stanton as an ultimatum, one source said, it shows that the Marlins aren’t without leverage in their efforts to deal Stanton and relieve them of the financial burden he brings. Stanton has said he doesn’t wish to be part of a rebuild.
That “burden” of Stanton includes a $25 million salary for 2018, with Spencer also reporting in October that Miami looked to cut team payroll down to $90 million next season.
The Marlins were sold for $1.2 billion in September to a group spearheaded by Bruce Sherman, with former Yankees superstar Derek Jeter as CEO.
Jeter used November’s general manager meetings in Orlando to push the narrative that his new team — one that plays in a six-year-old taxpayer-funded stadium, and one whose value raised from $158.5 million when Jeffrey Loria purchased them in 2002 to, again, $1.2 billion just 15 years later — is poor.
From Mark Feinsand of MLB.com:
“This is an organization that’s been losing money for quite some time, so we have to turn it around,” Jeter said. “How we do that? It’s not clear. It’s easy to point the finger at him because he makes the most money, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s the move that’s going to be made.
“We’re here [at the General Managers Meetings] like every other team, trying to figure out how we can make this organization better. No one has come out and said that we are specifically trading Giancarlo Stanton. We’re seeing the best way to make this organization successful, and we want it to be sustainable for a long time.”
The Marlins on Dec. 7 traded second baseman Dee Gordon to the Seattle Mariners for three minor leaguers, shedding the $38 million remaining on the three years left on Gordon’s contract.
Stanton has yet to play on a winning team in his career, with the Marlins averaging 89 losses per year since 2010. Now he could join a team in the Yankees that won 91 games and made it to the American League Championship Series in 2017.
New York’s lineup could now feature not only the reigning NL MVP but also the AL MVP runner-up and Rookie of the Year in Aaron Judge, who hit 52 home runs himself in 2017.
The only team in major league history with two players to hit 50 or more home runs were the 1961 Yankees, with Roger Maris setting a then-record with 61 and teammate Mickey Mantle hitting 54.