The Yankees Still Owe an Injury-Plagued Giancarlo Stanton More Than $200 Million

There were two major reasons the New York Yankees’ December 2017 trade for Giancarlo Stanton didn’t earn universal praise.

The Yankees, historically a franchise that ran on a large budget, added what was already a terrible contract for a home-run hitting outfielder who never stayed healthy.

Giancarlo Stanton missed most of last year with injuries and would have likely missed a good chunk of the 2020 season if not for the coronavirus pandemic. The Yankees should regret the Giancarlo Stanton trade.

Giancarlo Stanton is possibly baseball’s best home run hitter

Giancarlo Stanton deserved credit where credit is due. There aren’t many better home run hitters in Major League Baseball than Stanton when the 6-foot-6, 245-pound slugger is at the plate.

Stanton, who doesn’t turn 31 until November, hit 308 home runs in his first 10 seasons. The four-time All-Star hit a career-high 59 home runs with the Miami Marlins in 2017 and followed that up with 38 bombs in 2018, his first with the Yankees.

Unfortunately, home runs are really the only positives that Giancarlo Stanton brings to the ballpark.

Stanton is an injury-plagued player who strikes out far too often to have earned a 13-year, $325 million contract from the Marlins in 2014.

Stanton’s health and play style don’t justify the contract

Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton is a dangerous home run hitter. But the Yankees are stuck with an injury-plagued Stanton's heavy contract.
Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton is a dangerous home run hitter. But the Yankees are stuck with an injury-plagued Stanton’s heavy contract. | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Giancarlo Stanton has had plenty of injures. Most notably, Stanton suffered facial fractures and dental damage after a wild pitch hit him in September 2014.

With that said, most of Stanton’s injuries were flukes. He didn’t suffer an oblique injury staying out at the 40-40 Club until 5 a.m.

Still, the Yankees knew the risks when they acquired Stanton. Stanton’s highlight can’t justify the contract as being worth it so far.

Giancarlo Stanton’s home run-or-strikeout playstyle doesn’t help much. Stanton struck out 211 times alone and drew only 70 walks in 2018.

Giancarlo Stanton also hit just .222 with no RBIs and six strikeouts in the 2018 American League Division Series. Stanton at least drew four walks last postseason and hit a home run in the ALCS.

Giancarlo Stanton’s contract will haunt the Yankees

Former New York Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina once acknowledged teammate Carl Pavano lost respect because he was always injured.

Pavano’s various injuries, including a buttocks ailment and an injury he suffered in a car crash and never told the team about, earned him the nickname of “American Idle” midway through his contract.

Mussina’s comments wouldn’t fly in the Yankees’ locker room today. The New York Yankees created a culture in recent years that allowed players to strike out or miss plenty of time without consequence.

Giancarlo Stanton fit both of those categories to a ‘T.’ Although Stanton is a fearsome home run hitter, there are no incentives for him to play up to the Yankees’ standard.

It may have been in a different era, but Joe DiMaggio struck out 369 times in his career. Bernie Williams averaged 80 walks and 80 strikeouts per year from 1996-2001, the era of the Yankees’ last dynasty.

Baseball has changed, but the Yankees need Stanton healthy and taking pitches if they’re to return to the World Series. Stanton’s history doesn’t create much optimism about the Yankees’ hopes in the coming years.