The Miami Marlins have essentially traded their entire roster this offseason, but they still have Giancarlo Stanton left and are rumored to be willing to listen to offers for him. What does this mean, if anything, for the Yankees though?
It’s not that the Yankees wouldn’t want him. Stanton just turned 23, has already received MVP votes in two different seasons, and has a career line of .270/.350/.553 in parts of three seasons. He also will make next to nothing next season and even though he could potentially earn as much as $10 million in 2014 that’s still relatively cheap for middle of the lineup bat. Everybody wants him.
The problem is that the Marlins probably aren’t going to trade him. All the reasons why the Yankees would want him are also reasons for the Marlins to keep him. Even if they aren’t going to compete they still want to sell some jerseys and t-shirts (they aren’t selling any tickets after all). Keeping him as a drawing card makes some sense.
He’s also not in danger of losing any value. They can get a huge haul for him now and they’ll be able to do it again at the trade deadline or next offseason or even the one after that. The point is that with him on a cheap contract in 2013 there is no reason, not even financial, to move him now as opposed to a year from now.
Speaking of the huge haul they’ll get for him — would the Yankees even be able to afford him? Possibly, but it’ll hurt and might not be worth it.
The Yankees are short on blue chip prospects right now. Thanks to Manny Banuelos‘ elbow surgery and Dellin Betances‘ absolute lack of control they are without a truly elite pitching prospect right now which means that not only would they have to include either Mason Williams, Tyler Austin, or Slade Heathcott in any deal, but they might have to include two or even all three to swing a deal. That would just be the start too as they would need to include a few of their next best prospects as well.
That puts the Yankees in a tough position since they are trying to cut payroll. Yes, Stanton will be cheap in 2013, but he’ll be worth as much as $10 million in 2014 and that number will go up quick after that as well. So it’s not like Stanton is going help them reach their budget goal of $189 million in the long term. Which means they are going to be hurting their chances at reaching their payroll goals on both ends by spending on Stanton and losing cheap prospects.
Forget about including major leaguers to help with the payroll concerns too. The Marlins are not competing next year and have no use for players like Curtis Granderson, Phil Hughes, and especially Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees could possibly deal these players to other teams for prospects (well not A-Rod), but that complicates things and doesn’t bring Stanton’s price tag down or increase the Marlins likelihood of trading him. They would also still have to include their own top prospects as well.
So while the Yankees would certainly love to put Stanton in the middle of their lineup it just doesn’t seem to be a good fit right now. They just can’t risk spending so much in prospects while they are trying to cut payroll in order to afford him. The timing just isn’t right for a deal right now.