The big ol’ blockbuster that removed home-run king Giancarlo Stanton from an art-deco aquarium and placed him in the Bronx and Yankee pinstripes created ripples throughout the major-league baseball.
Here’s my look at the Winners and Losers:
Well, hell, the Yankees: They didn’t have to give the Marlins an elite prospect, they cleared out Starlin Castro (and his salary), and will add Stanton to a lineup that led the American League with 241 homers in 2017. Stanton hit 59 homers last season; Yankee colossus Aaron Judge slammed 52. Add the 33 homers hit by catcher Gary Sanchez, and the 25 from Yanks shortstop Didi Gregorius, and the four bombers hit more homers (169) than the entire Boston Red Sox team (168) in 2017.
New York tabloid headline writers: They’ll be having even more fun than usual. Here are the last three back-page headlines in the New York Daily News, through Sunday, and I guess Stanton must have played for the Marlins or something.
1- “It Just Got Reel!”
2- “On The Hook!”
3- “The Empire Strikes Back.”
The New York Post had these two on back-to-back days:
1 – “Going Fishing!”
2- “Monster Mashers!”
Rookie Yankees manager Aaron Boone: The personable Boonie has never managed before, at any level, but that’s OK. As long as GM Brian Cashman firms up the starting rotation, Boone can just write out his lineup and enjoy the show in 2018.
The Hot Stove League: Now that the biggest catch has been bartered to the Yankees, the highly anticipated trading and signing frenzy can begin. Rumorama warp speed … baseball writers Tweeted out, passing out.
The Los Angeles Dodgers: Stanton made it clear that his ultimate wish is to play for his hometown Dodgers. But the Dodgers couldn’t make their play for Stanton right now — not with the franchise way over the $197 million MLB payroll threshold and bracing to get walloped by massive luxury-tax penalty for the fifth year in a row. But Stanton can opt out of his contract following the 2020 season, and by then the Dodgers will have dumped moldy contracts and opened sufficient payroll space to bring Stanton home.
The most prominent hitters on the current free-agent market: with Stanton’s hulking presence relocated to a new home base, the best available bats will be in greater demand. J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Jay Bruce, Carlos Santana, Mike Moustakas, Todd Frazier, Yonder Alonso, Logan Morrison, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Napoli, Carlos Gomez, etc. It will be hysterical to sit back and watch some panicky GM pay Moustakas about 10 times what Moustakas is worth.
General managers open to the idea of trading hitters of note to exploit the cravings of the many offensively starved teams out there. Potential trade magnets include as Josh Donaldson, Marcel Ozuna, Evan Longoria, Christian Yelich, Jose Abreu, Domingo Santana, Adam Jones, Andrew McCutchen, etc.
The Marlins: Now that Stanton and Dee Gordon (sent to Seattle) have been offloaded in trades, the Marlins have slashed well over $300 million in potential future commitments from their payroll. And now Derek Jeter and his baseball men can trim the Miami payroll to less than $100 million and add young, promising, cost-controlled prospects by choosing to raffle Yelich, Ozuna, Castro, Martin Prado, Dan Straily, Justin Bour and J.T. Realmuto.
Manny Machado: We’ll never know, but it was widely believed that the Yankees were saving up to wait a year and push all of their spending money into a record-setting contract for Washington outfielder Bryce Harper, who is eligible for free agency after the 2018 season. But after absorbing the Stanton contract the Yankees have a crowded outfield and are much more likely to throw a $400 million at Machado … the Baltimore third baseman (or shortstop) is also due to become a free agent after the ‘18 season.
The Chicago Cubs: Yeah, the Cubs. Why are the Cubs winners in the aftermath of the Stanton move? Two words: Bryce Harper. If the Yankees are out of the Harper bidding, that will only enhance the Cubs’ opportunity to sign Harper and reunite him with his childhood buddy and amateur baseball teammate Kris Bryant. Harper and Bryant have said they’d like to be teammates in the big leagues, and they aren’t joking. The Cubs could move up and become the favorite to sign Harper a year from now.
The Washington Nationals: Stanton to the Yankees will give the Nats a better chance of talking Harper into staying and signing a new deal. That’s one theory, anyway. Oh, and Nationals pitchers must be pleased to have Stanton out of the NL East. He’s slammed 12 homers in his last 40 games against them.
Left-handed pitchers in the National League: Yeah, some will have to encounter Stanton in interleague play. But mostly they’ll be out of harm’s way. Over the past three seasons, Stanton bopped lefties for a .632 slugging percentage and 1.025 OPS.
Lefty pitchers in the American League: For all of the Yankees’ power and might in 2017, they ranked in the middle of the pack in slugging and OPS vs. LH pitching. Stanton will increase the fear factor. Since coming to the bigs in 2010, Stanton has the best slugging percentage (.632), OPS (1.025) and ISO (.339) against lefthanded pitching. And he’s homered every 11.7 at-bats against lefties; that’s also the best in the majors since 2010. And keep in mind that the Yankees’ hated rival, Boston, has four LH starting pitchers in the rotation. Boom.
Speaking of the Red Sox: Last season Boston ranked 14th among the 15 AL teams in slugging and homers but managed to hold off the Yankees and win the division by two games. Good luck with standing pat and doing that again. But Boston won’t stand pat. Their president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski is a maniac trader and a berserk spender. Look for Dombrowski to go extra nuts this offseason, offering duck boats filled with cash to J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, or other free-agent bats of his choice.
The Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, and Toronto Blue Jays: With the Red Sox and Yankees about to enter an ambitious new phase in their arms buildup, the rest of the division is doomed for 2018. Last season the Red Sox and Yankees had a combined winning percentage of .568 and went a combined 66-48 in division games against the Rays, Orioles and Blue Jays. And for the season the O’s, Rays and Blue Jays each finished with a losing record and had a combined winning percentage of .475.
Bryce Harper, for reasons we’ve already discussed. The Yankees won’t be offering Harper the baseball-contract equivalent of the Gross National Product of Japan … but I don’t think he’ll have to apply for public assistance after the 2018 season.
The Houston Astros: Last fall the Astros barely got by the Yankees to win the ALCS in seven games. If we had to pick out the most important factor in the Astros’ triumph, I would go with this: in the four games played at Houston the Yankees scored three runs in 36 innings, hit only two homers in 126 at-bats, and batted .159.
The Cardinals — but especially the Giants: Both teams were rejected by Stanton, who vetoed trades. At least the Cardinals have plenty of good prospects to deal as they pivot into new trade options. The Giants are low on prospects. That said, the Cardinals are under immense pressure to make a big move.
Listeners that already were annoyed by the overly theatrical, scripted, corny home-run calls on the Yankees radio network: Yanks broadcaster John Sterling will lose his mind, thinking of a signature call for Stanton’s homers. It will be schlocky, and it will be loud. With a name like Giancarlo Stanton, the possibilities for Sterling are endless. “There it is, home run No. 43, heading to the Stantonian Institute!”
Or something like that.
Thanks for reading …