MVP On The Move
The past few years have been interesting for the Miami Marlins. They've had a solid offense which produced man runs despite the large dimensions of Marlins Park, but pitching has held them back mightily. The Marlins had a promising future led by slugger Giancarlo Stanton and ace Jose Fernandez, but after Fernandez's tragic passing in 2016 the Marlins were stuck at the 70-80 win plateau. The offense was still one of the better hitting groups in the National League but the supreme lack of pitching depth caused the Marlins to not even come close to having post season hopes. All this was also going on while the Marlin's owner Jeffrey Loria was attempting to sell the team. Despite all this hardship, things started to turn around for the fish in 2017. Although they missed the playoffs by a decent margin again the Marlins had strong seasons from outfielders Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna. Along with their strong seasons the Marlins got a monster year from franchise player Giancarlo Stanton as he hit a major league lead 59 home runs en route to winning his first NL MVP. The team was also sold during the course of the season to an investment group highlighted by Yankees legend and former captain Derek Jeter. Because the Marlins were still a few years from making the post season, even with the group of guys they had, Marlin's ownership opted to start dismantling the team in an effort to start rebuilding. The first player to go was speedy lead off hitter Dee Gordon, as the Marlins shipped him to Seattle for a package of prospects, where he'll be player center field for the M's.
After Gordon had been traded and the team's rebuilding had commenced the sweepstakes for Marlin's players began, and no player was more wanted than reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton was coming off of his age 28 season where he hit 59 home runs, drove in 132 runs, and hit a respectable .281 and won a silver slugger award, and the aforementioned NL MVP Award. Stanton, one of the game's top players, had stated his dissatisfaction with the Marlins in years past, leading the Marlins to look for suitable trade options. Trading Stanton was no easy task however because back in 2014 Stanton agreed to a 13 year, $325 million contract extension, which included a full no trade clause. When the Marlins started rebuilding moving Stanton was towards the top of their priority list, as the slugger was in his prime, was coming off his best season ever, and was making too much money to build a team around. As the Marlins looked around for trade partners they found a few teams interested, and although the Marlins were going to have to cover some of the money Stanton is owed, they still found these trades suitable. The two front runners for Stanton were the Cardinals and Giants, as the Marlins had a deal in place with both clubs, and the only thing stopping one from going through was Stanton's no trade clause. Although the Marlins felt each deal was reasonable enough to accept the final say belonged to Giancarlo, and to the dismay of Cardinal and Giants fans Stanton said no to both. Stanton made it very clear that he didn't want to go to either the Giants or Cardinals as he released a list of the 4 teams he would accept a trade to, the Dodgers, Cubs, Astros, and Yankees. After this statement the Marlins went back to the drawing board. Although prior they hadn't showed much interest, the Dodgers were the front runner in getting Stanton as he fit their roster plan the best, and because Stanton is a California native. For a day or so after the Cardinals and Giants trades were turned down there wasn't much news on Stanton until one night one team started talks with the Marlins. That team was the Yankees.
Previously thought to be out of the running for Stanton, overnight the Yankees jumped on the opportunity to try and acquire Stanton. The Yankees game plan was clear, they wouldn't trade any top prospects such as Gleyber Torres, and Clint Frazier, and would make the Marlins eat a decent amount of the money owed to Stanton in an effort to stay below the luxury tax for the 2018 season. With their intentions clear the Yankees began to start talking with the Marlins about Stanton. Many different names were thrown around in the talks like Jacoby Ellsbury, and Brett Gardner among others. Along with players different numbers were thrown around when it came to salary compensation for Stanton; anywhere from $25 million to over $50 million were thrown around by both teams. Eventually the Yankees and Marlins reached a deal, Giancarlo Stanton and $30 million would be sent to the Yankees in exchange for Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro, and prospects Jorge Guzman and Jose Devers (Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers brother). Yankee fans were heartbroken that they had to give up their all star second baseman Starlin Castro in the trade, but the tears were quickly dried as the Yankees were going to get the NL MVP in the deal. However before the deal could be finalized, it had to get Stanton's approval. Although he had previously stated he would accept a trade to the Yankees, the baseball world collectively awaited his answer. After some time passed news came out that the deal had gotten Stanton's approval, and that he'd waive his no trade clause. This meant Stanton was headed to New York.
This deal between the Yankees and Marlins was quite historic as the only deal similar to this one was a deal in 2003 that sent another MVP from the Rangers to the Yankees; that player was none other than Alex Rodriquez. Both Stanton and A-Rod were coming off their age 28 seasons when they were traded, and the season prior they had each won their leagues MVP award (A-Rod American League MVP; Stanton National League MVP). Both players were set to be traded to another team until a foreign party prevented the trade (A-Rod to the Red Sox until the Player's Union prevented it; Stanton to the Giants/ Cardinals until Stanton refused to waive his no trade clause). Finally in both trades the Yankees were thought to be uninterested until the very end when they landed the big name player.
For the Yankees moving forward it looks as if Stanton will play DH for the time being as Aaron Judge is the Yankees right fielder and that isn't going to change, at least for the time being. As for the hole left by Castro at second base the Yankees are going to try several options at second. In house the Yankees can try top prospect Gleyber Torres who has already been told that he would be given a chance to be a starter for the Yankees in 2018, and if Torres doesn't fit they the Yankees can try Tyler Wade. Wade struggled last season in the majors but his potential is undeniable if he could play a full season with the Yankees. Outside options the Yankees can go for Neil Walker who had a solid 2017 season split between the Mets and Brewers, or the Yankees can try and trade for Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler who struggled last season but has a lot of promise as an already established major leaguer.
This next season is looking to be quite exciting for the Yankees as they will have Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton who hit 111 home runs between them in the same lineup. This move makes them one of the top teams in the American League and they will look to finish what the started in 2017 as they look to make it to the promise land of the World Series.