Blue Jays: Giancarlo Stanton an Intriguing Trade Option
By Jason Lee
No one knows what the Blue Jays will really do at this year’s trade deadline. Will they just sell off rentals or start a full rebuild? Could they shock the world and buy? One thing is clear: if buying, Ross Atkins wants controllable assets. Could Stanton be that asset?
Controllable Beyond 2017
In an interview yesterday with Sportsnet, Ross Atkins stated that the Jays are performing to a state where it is hard to justify adding to the team in hopes of a playoff run. However, he also stated that assets controllable beyond 2017 would be strongly considered. Enter Giancarlo Stanton. The problem with Stanton is not his lack of talent or lack of team control – it’s his albatross contract. Stanton is controllable until 2027 and he can opt out of his massive 13 year/$325 million contract in 2021. However, it’s also hard to imagine Stanton leaving $218 million on the table. Can the Blue Jays afford to take on his contract?
Ample Money Available
The Jays have Bautista, Liriano, Estrada, Donaldson, Happ, Smith, Pearce, and Montero all coming off the books within the next 2 years. In 2017, that’s around $55 million in freed cap space and in 2018, $45 million for a total of $100 million of free cap space. With arbitration raises, that figure can realistically expect to be a bit lower, but the point is that the Blue Jays have the space to make a deal work.
Bad Contract for Bad Contract?
Stanton’s albatross contract could be the best way the Blue Jays could unload a bad contract of their own – either Troy Tulowitzki’s contract (3 year/$54 million remaining) or Russell Martin‘s (2 year/$40 million remaining). This could raise the asking price of the Marlins but a salary offset would be extremely valuable for the Blue Jays. Lessening the amount of money the Blue Jays spend on Stanton in 2018 and 2019 would give the front office more flexibility to add to other areas of need.
The 2018 Blue Jays Lineup…And Beyond
Giancarlo Stanton is having himself a career year. He currently owns a .956 OPS and is on pace for 54 home runs. Stanton’s career OPS of .902 would help any lineup and Stanton would be the perfect successor for Jose Bautista who is likely playing his last year as a Toronto Blue Jay. The top 5 in the lineup with Stanton could look something like this:
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1 – Devon Travis
2 – Josh Donaldson
3 – Justin Smoak (switch hitter – break up right handed hitters)
4 – Giancarlo Stanton
5 – Morales
Scary. Now, what about a 2020 lineup…just for fun.
1 – Devon Travis
2 – Bo Bichette
3 – Giancarlo Stanton
4 – Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
5 – Anthony Alford
Now, For the Bad News
Stanton’s contract is bad, very bad. He will be getting paid 32, 29, and 25 million dollars in his age 35, 36, and 37 years, respectively. While it’s hard to predict Stanton’s production 7-8 years from now, it’s realistic to expect decline and injury problems. Is a prime Stanton for 4-7 years worth a black hole in the payroll in years 8-10? Remember, the Blue Jays want to resign all their home grown talent such as Sanchez, Stroman, Osuna, Guerrero Jr., Alford, Bichette, etc. Stanton’s contract would definitely inhibit the Jays’ ability to keep the full core intact.
What Is It Going To Cost?
While Stanton is an elite talent – perhaps the top slugger in the league alongside Aaron Judge – the 10 years and $285 million left on his contract will drive down the asking price significantly. Even if the Blue Jays unload Tulowitzki’s or Martin’s contract, the asking cost will still be ridiculously low for a player of Stanton’s calibre.
Next: Blue Jays apparently only willing to sell the rental players
Consider a package that the Score proposed for the Yankees which is similar to the Blue Jays’ situation: Jacoby Ellsbury (salary offset), Justus Sheffield (94th best prospect in MLB), and Domingo Acevedo (not in top 100). None of these names are particularly exciting players or prospects so if the Blue Jays are willing to take the risk on Stanton’s health and ability as he ages, then this could truly be an intriguing fit for the Blue Jays in 2018 and the Blue Jays of the future.