In December of 2017, the New York Yankees and Miami Marlins completed a blockbuster trade that sent Giancarlo Stanton to New York and Starlin Castro to Miami.
The Yankees also gave up two prospects in the deal, but their biggest sacrifice was taking on the financial burden of Stanton’s contract.
The Marlins did agree to pay for $30M of Stanton’s massive deal, but however you spin it, the contract can’t be described as team-friendly.
Stanton and the Yankees have seen the postseason for three straight seasons, but all things considered, it’s been a rough go for both parties since the trade.
The Yankees paid Stanton $76M between the 2018-2020 seasons.
After the 2020 season, Stanton opted into the remaining seven years of his deal, meaning the Yankees will owe him $218M through the 2028 season.
That’s an AAV of about $31M, but if you deduct the $30M that the Marlins are on the hook for, then the AAV comes down to about $27M.
Stanton has become notorious for three things in New York: homers, strikeouts and injuries.
Expectations were sky-high for the slugger during his first season with the team in 2018, because he was coming off of an MVP campaign with Miami the previous year.
Stanton was a menace during that 2017 season with the Marlins, hitting 59 home runs and driving in 132 runs while batting .281 with a 1.007 OPS.
His debut season with New York did not live up to the hype.
To his credit, Stanton did stay healthy all year, and he was more than serviceable at the plate, but he didn’t have the MVP-caliber season Yankee fans were hoping for.
Stanton batted .266 with an .852 OPS while homering 38 times, but he also struck out 211 times in 617 at-bats.
— Red Sox Nation Stats (@RSNStats) October 9, 2018
He then had a disappointing postseason, batting .238 in the team’s ALDS series loss to the Boston Red Sox.
From there, things got worse for Stanton in a Yankees uniform.
Between the 2019 and 2020 seasons, he appeared in only 41 games due to injuries.
In the limited games we did see Stanton, he was more or less the same player that he was in 2018, batting .267 with an .890 OPS.
So far in 2021, Stanton is slashing .282/.347/.534.
Look, these are good seasons, but they’re not $27M seasons.
Stanton’s injury troubles have also relegated him to being a full-time DH—he hasn’t played a game in the outfield since 2019.
His value is diminishing and his contract isn’t going anywhere.
The worst part of Giancarlo Stanton’s contract?
— Andy (@27xWSChamps) April 20, 2021
The unattractiveness of Stanton’s contract makes it almost impossible to unload in a trade.
The Yankees lack options and will likely have to ride this one out.
There are worse situations to be in—it’s not like Stanton brings nothing to the table.
He is one of the better hitters on a team that struggles for offense (the Yankees have a .699 team OPS), so if you were to take Stanton out of the equation, New York would be worse-off this season.
But for the foreseeable future, the Yankees are handcuffed to Stanton’s $27M AAV, and there is not a whole lot they can do to get around that.