Here comes the most gut-wrenching part of the breakdown. Giancarlo Stanton and his 59 home runs from 2017 was traded to the one team that was not dying for home run power or even outfield help. Because of Stanton’s no-trade clause, however, there were only so many teams that appeared to be in contention to get Stanton in a trade. The biggest concern in a disheartened city is whether it got enough in return, or if it is too early to tell.
New York got: Giancarlo Stanton and $30 million if he does not opt out in 2020
We will get to the real beef in Miami’s return, but the Yankees did what they do best: grab high-profile players with the expectation of winning every World Series under the sun. On paper, the Yankees are destined for greatness. What wouldn’t a team with Aaron Judge and Stanton (and Gary Sanchez?) at the dish and the all-around efforts of Didi Gregorius and soon-to-be star Gleyber Torres enter 2018 as the overwhelming favorites?
The concern is that the Yankees had plenty of things go right in 2017, which is something that could not be said before Judge hit home runs like pop-ups. Judge’s 52 home runs overshadowed the fact that he led the league in strikeouts (208) and hit just .228 after the All-Star break. Add a player who was all too familiar with the strikeout, especially during limited seasons in 2015 and 2016, and the downside of the strongest hitters in the league may be just as glaring as the obvious up side. Gregorius was just a household player before figuring things out with New York, and he was originally known more for playing shortstop after Derek Jeter, who had a big part in sending Stanton to the Bronx.
The Yankees probably will not have any problems paying Stanton’s lengthy contract, which will be $265 million if he stays in pinstripes after 2020. Like all contracts, however, the player has to play to the contract’s worth. The pressure may not be on right now, but the Yankees will likely own the “World Series or bust” label as long as the new core stays in place. Even for one of the most valuable franchises in the world, this trade is a high risk.
Miami got: Starlin Castro, Jorge Guzman, and Jose Devers
Unless you like slimy things, this trade probably was not for you. There were a lot of, “That’s it?” and “New York got another gift” remarks, to put it cleanly. From the looks of this trade, Stanton would have to fall off the figurative cliff to give Miami any chance at winning this trade.
Jumping to conclusions, however, may be a little premature. Let us start off with Starlin Castro. He has had maturity issues, especially with Chicago, but he did more than enough to prove his worth with the Yankees. The only reason why he is now considered an MLB “outcast” is because “somebody” had to go to the Marlins to make the Stanton transaction look somewhat respectable. It was not going to be Judge or Torres, and players like Chase Headley and Todd Frazier are not exactly desirable for a team that is trying to find long-term solutions.
Of course, Castro is aware of what the Marlins are doing, and it is no surprise that he wants no part of it. Perhaps this gives the new ownership group the chance to strike a big deal and get a generational talent in Miami. Castro is no Judge, but he is still young and can hit for average (and sometimes power) for any contender. The Arizona Diamondbacks currently have Brandon Drury, who can play multiple positions, at second base, and the Marlins should consider sending Castro to the desert and go after highly touted pitching prospect (and 96th overall MLB prospect) Jon Duplantier. That could raise hopes for a team that crumbled in the pitching rotation.
The other two prospects, however, are not what the Marlins should have sought for an MVP. Guzman was easily the better return, but there are questions as to what role he will have. He will be 22 in late January, and he has never pitched above A-Short Season. He did keep his ERA at 2.30 though 13 starts, but he would have to continue at that mark at higher levels in order to reach the MLB roster in a timely matter. In order for him to be useful for an extended period of time, a “timely fashion” may be two or three years, but that is a lot of pressure for someone who has yet to play professional ball in April.
Lots of scouts predict that he could move to the bullpen and become a closer with his deadly fastball that gets well into the triple digits. Still, a potential 25-year-old rookie with an Aroldis Chapman arm is probably not the best solution to replace Stanton.
Devers, meanwhile, is the cousin of Boston Red Sox standout Rafael Devers. That sounds cool, but the shortstop has never hit above .250 in rookie ball. Sometimes, picking a star’s relatives can result in buyer’s remorse. Did taking Adrian Gonzalez’s older brother, Edgar, ever work out? He was fantastic in the minors, but he only hit .255 in two seasons with San Diego. Even the Hairston siblings, especially Scott, were expendable at times.
He is only 18, but Gary Denbo will really have to work his magic to make Devers a star with Miami. He is not even in the Top 30 for a farm system that is still considered near the bottom of the league.
What people seem to forget about this deal is that the Marlins are only responsible for $30 million of Stanton’s contract. That is a lot of pressure that the owners have removed from the Jeffrey Loria era. The question, however, is whether the Marlins can take advantage of the remaining $265 million that the Yankees will now have to owe Stanton. Since free agents might not consider going to a market that will likely not see the playoffs until sometime next decade, this means the Marlins may have to look at the international free agent pool. Considering the multiple number of times the front office has dashed the fans’ hopes, becoming more aggressive in international free agents, especially in Cuba, can help regain the fan base’s interest.
As of today, there is not much optimism in Miami following what was easily the biggest trade of the offseason. It is too early, however, to draw any conclusions about Miami’s return. Not only do the Marlins still plan on trading Castro, but the money left from Stanton’s absence also opens up plenty of opportunities. It is also worth mentioning that Denbo can turn just about any prospect’s fortunes up following his stint with the Yankees, so Guzman and Devers should not counted out yet.
It may take more awful seasons, but the Stanton trade can tilt in Miami’s favor in several ways.
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