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The Yankees and Marlins just swung a huge trade, sending 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton for salary relief and a bag of peanuts. The huge deal, fronted by new owner Derek Jeter (what a coincidence!) saves the Marlins $295 million. This deal has some large short and long-term implications for the health of the league which we’ll explore here:
1. The Marlins have no intention of competing for the foreseeable future.
Trading Giancarlo Stanton and now Marcell Ozuna gets rid of most of Miami’s run production, leaving them only with Christian Yelich and Justin Bour. A full firesale rebuild was not necessary, as the Marlins were essentially one starting pitcher from making the playoffs last season, but Derek Jeter and majority owner Bruce Sherman apparently feel differently. Jeter implores fans that he intends to build from the ground up and stockpiles prospects but Jorge Guzman, a 21-year-old who’s only pitched in short-A ball with a career ERA of 3.67, and Jose Devers, an 18-year-old shortstop who is the cousin of Red Sox standout Rafael Devers, are hardly sure bets. Talent-wise this deal will forever be unbalanced unless Guzman earns Cy Young honors or Devers becomes a perennial All-Star.
Notorious agent Scott Boras called the Marlins “not a jewelry store that’s coveting your diamonds. You become a pawn shop that’s trying to pay the rent of the building.”
Scott Boras is usually a hated by anyone and everyone except the players he’s making money for, but he makes a great point here.
2. The NL East Belongs to the Nationals
The Nationals have won the NL East pennant two years in a row, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see them win again, especially since their roster hasn’t really changed. The Mets are firmly locked at number 2, with health being their biggest wish this offseason. The Braves and Marlins will duke it out for the last spot in the division.
3. The Yankees are stronger
Anytime a team adds an incumbent MVP, they’re automatically stronger. The team that reached last years’ ALCS is mainly intact so adding another homerun hitter in a little league ballpark should get them over the hump. They’re currently your paper champions, but there’s a reason why we play 162.
1. The 38-year-old albatross?
Giancarlo’s mega-deal, the largest in professional sports, has an opt-out after 2020. The Yankees look to reap the rewards of Stanton while he’s “cheap” and hopes he opts out to secure a bigger deal. However, Giancarlo’s deal is backloaded, meaning that he’ll make most of his money after the 2020 season. $218 million over 7 years in fact. Will a team offer Stanton a deal greater than $218 million during his age 31 season? Pretty unlikely, especially since he’ll be on the other end of the production curve. By the time Stanton is on the last year of his deal, he’ll most likely be like a player playing for another team in New York — Joakim Noah — sitting at the end of the bench collecting his paycheck.
2. Do the Marlins leave Miami?
The stadium is largely inaccessible for locals in the area, and the team recorded the second worse home attendance despite last year being their best season since the new season. Despite this, Jeter and Sherman will still make a profit due to the league’s profit sharing system. Marlins fans, if there are any left, will not be willing to travel up to the stadium let alone spend money to watch a triple-A team dance around the diamond. The timer on the bomb is officially ticking Derek.
The last time a team traded the league’s MVP was back in 2004 when the Texas Rangers traded Alex Rodriguez to (you guessed it) the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano. A-Rod still received his $21 million this year despite not playing a single game. Just goes to show that blockbuster trades can have large ramification. A-Rod did produce for the Yankees until he was 37-year-old (albeit with a steroids cloud over his head), so at least the Yankees have that going for them.