The Yankees’ recent acquisition of behemoth slugger Giancarlo Stanton in a blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins has already made New York a legitimate World Series contender for the 2018 season. But what if the reigning National League MVP’s tenure in pinstripes lasts just one year?
According to a source that spoke with Boston Globe insider Nick Cafardo, the Yankees may not envision Stanton in their long-term plans. Instead, next winter, they could attempt to move the 28-year-old outfielder to his home state of California in a mega deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. But, that’s not all. In lieu of Stanton in the lineup, the Yankees would then pursue Washington Nationals’ slugger Bryce Harper, who is eligible for free agency after the 2018 campaign.
Per Cafardo, in his recent Sunday Baseball Notes column:
You hear a lot of stuff at the Winter Meetings. Here’s one rumor told to me by a longtime, major force in the baseball world. It involves the Yankees and Giancarlo Stanton. The story goes that after 2018, the Yankees deal Stanton to the Dodgers and sign Bryce Harper. Your first reaction is, “Wow! Never happen.” Then you start to think about it. Stanton is an LA kid. The Dodgers didn’t have great interest in Stanton this offseason, but perhaps by the end of next year? The Yankees have always coveted Harper and his lefthanded stroke at Yankee Stadium. It starts to make more sense, doesn’t it?
Before Stanton waived a full no-trade clause in his contract (10-years, $285 million remaining) to join the Yankees, three other clubs (the Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, and Houston Astros) were reportedly in the mix as potential suitors for him. Although the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals expressed interest and submitted offers, Stanton wasn’t keen, and in a strange turn of events, the Yankees ultimately pulled the trigger and officially added Stanton last Monday.
As a result of this move, Stanton — who hit a major league-best 59 home runs this past season — will soon play alongside the American League Rookie of the Year and MVP runner-up in Aaron Judge, who happened to finish seven homers shy of Stanton’s mark at 52. With this level of brute power and strength, the outfield duo of Stanton and Judge could hit more than 115 homers — the historic number attained by Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle during the 1961 season — which becomes appointment television.
However, the Yankees’ rumored attractiveness to Harper has lingered for years, which makes Cafardo’s report even juicier. The 25-year-old lefty-hitting slugger is expected to headline baseball’s historic free agent class next offseason, and prior to the Stanton trade, all signs indicated that New York would make the hardest push for Harper. At the moment, some experts project Harper to receive a contract worth up to $400 million. Whether or not this comes to fruition, the Yankees will likely make inquiries.
But, it all comes down to Stanton’s situation, and if the Yankees would be inclined to part ways with him. A trade with the Dodgers isn’t necessarily half-baked, as several reports listed Los Angeles as Stanton’s preferred destination a few weeks ago.
For now, it’s one captivating rumor fit for the holiday season.