Much like he did 14 years ago when Alex Rodriguez’s proposed trade to the Red Sox fell apart over financial concerns, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman struck and acquired one of the biggest names on the market. In this case, it’s slugger Giancarlo Stanton, whom he pried from the Marlins officially on Monday in exchange for second baseman Starlin Castro, minor league pitcher Jorge Guzman and infielder Jose Devers and a reported $265 million.
With the deal, the Yankees add the reigning National League MVP and yet another slugger to a lineup that hit a major league-best 241 home runs in 2017, and they did it with minimal impact to one of the deepest farm systems in baseball. The Marlins get out from under most of Stanton’s massive contract, paying only $30 million of the remaining $295 million on his deal, and add a couple of pieces to their thin farm system.
Stanton, the reigning National League MVP, joins a lineup previously headlined by another massive slugger, Aaron Judge, who won Baseball America’s 2017 Rookie of the Year award and finished second in American League MVP voting. Those two combined for 111 home runs by themselves last year--or just 17 fewer than the Giants (to whom Stanton nixed a deal last week) hit as a team.
The deal also creates an opening at second base for Gleyber Torres, the Yankees’ top prospect, who missed most of last year after having Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. Torres has already begun hitting and could make a case for a spot in the big leagues out of spring training. It also potentially clears a path for Miguel Andujar, the Yankees’ No. 5 prospect, to play third base with Torres now able to shift to second.
Starlin Castro, 2B (MLB)
Castro performed well over his two seasons in the Bronx with a .283 average and 37 homers while playing up the middle. He was hampered by hamstring injuries in 2017 and was limited to 112 games, but his .454 slugging percentage would have ranked among seventh in the majors among second basemen if he had enough at-bats to qualify. Castro is owed $22.7 million through 2019 and is a candidate for the Marlins to flip him for more prospects.
Jorge Guzman, RHP (Short-season Staten Island)
The headliner of the deal prospect-wise, Guzman averaged 99 mph on his four-seam fastball in 2017, which tops the ML-best 97.6 mph averaged by Yankees starter Luis Severino. Guzman went 5-3, 2.30 and struck out a league-best 88 in 66.2 innings at short-season Staten Island, walking just 18 in the process. He couples his fastball with a slider that needs work but projects plus and a developing changeup. Guzman ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the New York-Penn League and will likely begin his Marlins career with low Class A Greensboro in 2018.
Jose Devers, SS (Rookie-level Gulf Coast League)
Devers couldn’t have a more different profile from his cousin, Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers. While Rafael is thickly built and powerful, Jose is a lithe, agile middle infielder whose athleticism should allow him to stick at shortstop. He has strong footwork and quick hands, and he has improved his arm strength and slot as he’s developed and is better equipped to make long throws as a result. Devers showed a solid swing and strike-zone awareness in his pro debut in 2017, but with little impact or power potential. He hit .245/.336/.342 overall.
Giancarlo Stanton, OF (MLB)
Stanton is about to enter one of the most power-friendly parks in the game. He’s coming off the best season of his career in 2017, when he achieved major league-bests in home runs (59) and RBIs (132) and led the National League in slugging percentage (.631). He also lowered his strikeout rate to the lowest of his career (23.6 percent) while maintaining a 12.3 percent walk rate. About the only ding against Stanton is a track record of injuries that has caused him to miss significant time in three of his last six seasons. Stanton is under contract until through 2028 (the last year of which is a club option for $25 million or a buyout of $10 million), but he can opt out of his deal after the 2020 season. He’ll earn $71 million his first three seasons with the Yankees, then can hit the open market again if he chooses.