Well. I gotta say. If the purpose is to get your brain rolling around some other kind of craziness besides the election? Mission accomplished.
Here’s the latest from The New York Post’s Joel Sherman, who is an excellent reporter and baseball thinker, but who also sometimes has some especially wild suggestions:
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 4, 2020
The Giancarlo Stanton trade involving the Chicago Cubs looks like this:
Stanton and prospects to the Cubs for Yu Darvish, Jason Heyward and Craig Kimbrel.
This one definitely blows up the Yankees’ 2021 luxury tax — but again it is short-term pain for long-term gain. How much do the Cubs want to lower payroll in 2021 and 2022? There is a sense in the game: a lot. That would be the Cubs’ motivation here. This trade would save Chicago $40 million in 2021, $23 million in 2022 plus $18 million in 2023. Plus their underwhelming farm system could pick up a piece or two additionally as a reward for taking on Stanton from 2024-27.
Darvish jumps in as the Yankees’ No. 2 starter behind Gerrit Cole. Heyward is Brett Gardner-esque: a strong corner defender and lefty bat who actually had a .936 OPS vs. righties last season. Kimbrel has been bad the last two years, but in September, he threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings with no walks and 13 strikeouts. None of these contracts go beyond 2023.
Should the Yanks try to widen the deal to figure out a way to get switch-hitting Ian Happ, a good athlete who has shown growth as a center fielder? Yes.
Lordy there’s a lot to digest there. Where do I even start? Probably by ignoring the various no-trade rights involved, because it would be a logistical issue that would have to be cleared for any of this to matter. So I guess we’ll ignore it for now.
Otherwise, let me start from the Cubs perspective, and broadly address: would they even consider something like this, which is obviously being suggested from the Yankees’ perspective?
Well, Sherman kinda shoots that right in the dinger from the jump, noting that although this deal would save the Cubs $81 million over the next three years, it adds $108(!) million over the following four years (yes, after the Marlins eat their share) for a Stanton who would be, at that time, starting his age 34 season. Yo, I absolutely love Stanton’s bat – maybe more than any player in baseball – but he’s been a walking injury, and you’re going to sign up for $108 million of his oldest dollars in order to save far less than that in the next few years?
Oh, and also, you’re making your team dramatically worse in 2021 in the process. On a player-for-player level, this trade would be nonsense. On a dollar-for-dollar level, this trade would be even more nonsense.
I’ll concede: that doesn’t end the discussion. Because in theory, the bigger “point” for the Cubs is to pick up prospects in the trade to even out the value. On that front, it’s not impossible that the Yankees could add enough prospect value to make this a deal worth doing for the Cubs, but man alive, it’d have to be a freaking haul. Eating, what, $60+ million in future dead money? And sacrificing significant near-term player performance value (mostly Darvish) in the near-term? How much is that “worth” in prospect value? A shit-load, folks. A shit-load. That’s the technical term.
Circling back to the Yankees’ perspective, then, it’s a trade that’s worth it if you’re trying to uber-max-out in the near-term, and then desperately want the Stanton contract off the books in the long-term. Are the Yankees blowing up their farm system to accomplish that? I sure don’t see it.
And if the Yankees wanted to get Ian Happ, too? I mean, again, OK, but how gargantuan would the young talent return have to be in the other direction for this to make sense for the Cubs? It’s very hard to see.
I don’t want to make this like I’m just hammering Sherman for the suggestion. When it comes to major money swaps, it’s very, very hard to come up with propositions that won’t get hammered – it’s why these trades almost never actually happen. Finding a good fit on both sides is nearly impossible. I do like that he’s thinking broadly about how to accomplish the aims of two orgs in a way that doesn’t require huge immediate outlays of cash (since teams are not going to be doing it). I think there’s some cleverness here in trying to find a way to move Stanton.
And, again, in a world where we aren’t considering injuries or contracts, and a world where the NL picks up the DH for good, I’d love Stanton on the Cubs! He’s such a stud:
I’ll also point out that the Cubs haven’t been nearly creative enough on the trade front for the last decade, which is part of the reason they’ve hit this stagnation point. If ever there were a time to consider big, bold moves, it’s now.
However. It’s just a good news bad news thing: the Cubs don’t have nearly enough bad money on the books to make a Stanton trade plausible without the Yankees including so much prospect talent that it goes beyond the bounds of what I think is plausible. Sure, I’d love for the Cubs to pick up multiple tip-top prospects including that absolute monster of a dude Jasson Dominguez, but I don’t see why the Yankees would do that. I am also not sure the Cubs – whose long-term books look great compared to many other large-market clubs – are itching to put another long-term, mega-millions deal on the books.
It’s a little fun to think about permutations on a deal like this, I suppose, which was mostly Sherman’s purpose. And, hey, it’s not like the Yankees couldn’t eat a lot of salary if they really wanted to make something happen …