It’s been a crazy and dramatic 24 hours for the New York Yankees and expensive, embattled slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
Speaking to reporters at the GM Meetings in Scottsdale last week, general manager Brian Cashman called out the former MVP for his career-long injury woes. But keeping with his new awkwardly feisty approach to media, Cashman went one step further in his criticisms.
“We try to limit the time he’s down,” he said. “But I’m not gonna tell you he’s gonna play every game next year because he’s not. He’s going to wind up getting hurt again more likely than not because it seems to be part of his game. But I know that when he’s right and healthy – other than this past year – the guy’s a great hitter and has been for a long time.”
Yikes. I’ll take “Backhanded Compliments” for $1200, Ken.
Cashman’s words struck such a chord that Stanton’s agent, Joel Wolfe, had the following to say in response:
Giancarlo Stanton’s agent, Joel Wolfe, responds below to Yankees GM Brian Cashman saying of Stanton, “He’s going to wind up getting hurt again more likely than not because it seems to be part of his game.” pic.twitter.com/gZHlqy4cfY
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 14, 2023
We’ve seen this happen in sports countless times. A team’s front office spars with a player in the press and one of two things happens. Both sides have a chat and either work things out or work towards a divorce.
So is Brian Cashman trying to force the latter with Giancarlo Stanton?
To be fair, the veteran GM has every right to be frustrated with his veteran outfielder. The Yankees acquired Stanton, fresh off of his MVP season, from the Marlins for Starlin Castro and change. It was doubly exciting because the usually glass-legged Stanton appeared in 159 games. He rewarded his new team with 158 in 2018, plus 38 home runs and 100 RBI.
But Stanton hasn’t appeared in 140 games in a season since. Instead, he’s been shockingly fragile.
Eighteen regular season games in 2019 thanks to arm, knee, and calf issues. Only 23 in the COVID-shortened 2020 season thanks to a hamstring. Stanton bounced back to hit .273 with 35 homers and 97 RBI in 2021, but still missed a few weeks with a bum calf. His power hasn’t fully deserted him, but batting .211 in 2022 and .191 in ’23 isn’t at all encouraging.
Stanton, despite it all, has earned over $160 million in pinstripes. Even with the Marlins kicking in money accordingly, his contract is an albatross.
So where does that leave Giancarlo Stanton and the Yankees after this light (so far) war of words? He has a full no-trade clause, plus ten-and-five rights. No move is happening without his expressed approval, and it sounds like Cashman might be trying to get it.
We’ve discussed potential Stanton trades before, but Wolfe’s response to Cashman is particularly telling. Former teammate Cameron Maybin’s own recent Twitter speculation with WFAN’s Keith McPherson only adds fuel to the fire:
You know I agree with everything you said except the big G part…. And I’ll leave it there. Im not putting words in his mouth but not so sure he wants to finish his career in the pinstripes.. I’m sure he’d like to finish somewhere that actual appreciates how’s he’s handle every…
— Cameron Maybin (@CameronMaybin) November 9, 2023
Brian Cashman is smart and understands the business of baseball. He isn’t getting rid of Giancarlo Stanton without the Yankees covering most of the four years and $118 million remaining on his contract. Better to try and offload it sooner rather than watch him struggle for two months and then go the way of Aaron Hicks. Or even Josh Donaldson, for that matter.
Stanton just turned 34 and the Yankees have tried everything with him. More time in the field. Less. Only DHing against select pitchers when the Moon is in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligns with Mars. He’s no less injury prone than he might have been during the actual Age of Aquarius.
But 1960s jokes and references aside, it’s time to get real about Giancarlo Stanton. The new Murderers’ Row with Aaron Judge was a fun idea but sadly isn’t going to happen anymore. Ever. It was a good run and things didn’t work out. It’s time to move on.
If Brian Cashman needs to get messy to get this divorce, then so be it.