The Yankees rocked the baseball world by acquiring reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton, who will further boost one of the game's prodigious offenses. The additional fire power will be welcomed, but there are several factors improved by Stanton's addition to the roster.
In 2017, the Yankees led the majors in home runs with 241 and were second in scoring behind the Astros. Stanton launched 59 home runs of his own in 2017, so imagine a team with a chance to eclipse the MLB record for home runs in a season by a single club (264)? We would be getting way ahead of ourselves to buy into that as an absolute outcome, but the depth of the lineup has been increased dramatically.
Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius combined for 169 home runs in 2018 with the latter two players each missing a month of the season. Add Greg Bird's 25+ home run potential to the mix and the Yankees sport a fearsome quintet of run producers. The heart of the order will be filled with mashers, allowing rookie skipper Aaron Boone the ability to maneuver players until he finds the best grouping.
Next, one can argue that there will be diminished stress on the young middle of the lineup bats with Stanton aboard. Judge will have immense pressure to build on a stellar rookie season. While Sanchez is the best hitting catcher in the league, this will be just his third big league season. Bird is trying to prove he can stay on the field for a full season and live up to his raw potential. The chances for failing to reach expectations for the young hitter is real.
At 28, Stanton is far from old, but his eight seasons in the league make him grizzled in comparison to the returning young core of the Yankees offense. Each of the younger power hitters can rely on Stanton's experience and learn how he's been successful at handling a run-producing role over the course of years, not months.
Stanton becoming part of a four-player cycle in the outfield (with Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks and Judge) with designated hitter days mixed in for the group may help keep them fresh as the season wears on. Doing so also allows the Yankees to skip the designated hitter market.
Stanton's arrival also allows the Yankees to be more forceful and confident in trading pieces on the current roster.
Gardner seems to be a lock to be the Yankees leadoff hitter in 2018, however he is still the most attractive veteran with an eight-figure salary on the roster. Gardner is owed $11.5 million this season with a 2019 option worth $12.5 million ($2 million buyout), making him the type of player another club would be happy to take on at full value. While this may not be the Yankees first choice to clear an outfield logjam, it may well be the easiest in terms of finding a suitor.
Jacoby Ellsbury is now completely expendable assuming the Yankees retain Gardner (a safe assumption really). Ellsbury has been reduced to the fifth outfielder (Hicks was already annointed the center fielder by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman earlier this offseason), which could force his hand as to waiving his no-trade clause. Any amount of salary another team takes on where it concerns Ellsbury is beneficial to offsetting Stanton's salary and provides room to add elsewhere on the roster.
Clint Frazier, who may have been starting in Triple-A regardless of Stanton's addition, may not see regular time in New York in 2018 as a result of it, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Truthfully, Frazier could use more seasoning, and would ultimately benefit from consistent reps in the minors versus riding the pine in New York.
On the flip side, Frazier instantly became the Yankees top trade piece when they acquired Stanton. Better yet, the Yankees do not need to rush into anything as having Frazier in the minors provides depth for injuries. However, if a deal arises for a high-quality and controllable starting pitcher, the 23-year-old outfielder will be a top commodity.
The final ramification assists the Yankees potential rookies in the everyday daily lineup. With Stanton in New York, the ability to plug the organization's top prospect Gleyber Torres into second base to replace Starlin Castro is made easier. Any ramp up in Torres' offense as he transitions to the big leagues, is offset by Stanton's addition. This works the same if Tyler Wade earns playing time in the beginning of the season if Torres is not fully capable as he returns from injury. The same goes for Miguel Andujar's chance to man third base in 2018, should the Yankees trade Chase Headley (owed $13 million in 2018) either this offseason or at the trade deadline.
The Yankees became an even more exciting team with Stanton's acquisition, but the underlying affects to the roster and benefits to the players surrounding him may hold as much weight