The wait is finally over. According to multiple reports, Giancarlo Stanton has agreed to waive his no-trade rights and allow the Miami Marlins to trade him to the New York Yankees. He will be slotted in alongside Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez to form perhaps the most potent lineup in all of baseball.
Aside from getting Stanton out of the NL East, this trade has major implications for the Washington Nationals. Bryce Harper, who hits free agency next offseason and has been rumored to be a target for New York, may have to cross one potential high-paying suitor off his list.
Stanton is owed $77 million over the next three seasons before his player options kick in. According to Spotrac, he will then have the option after each season between 2020 and 2026 to decide whether he sticks with New York or hits the open market. Miami agreed to pay the Yankees $35 million if Stanton decides to stay in New York after 2020. The Yankees will also hold a $25 million club option in 2028 if Stanton stays with the team through the entirety of his contract.
In total, the Yankees are slotted to pay Stanton $260 million over the next 11 years. They also owe Masahiro Tanaka $67 million and Jacoby Ellsbury $63,428,571 through 2020 and Aroldis Chapman $65 million (with two player options) between now and 2021. That doesn’t even factor in the future potential earnings of Judge and Sanchez, who both hit arbitration in 2020.
This isn’t to say the Yankees are completely out of the running for Harper. While extending Judge will be a top priority down the line, the team has shown the willingness to break the bank for top free agents. What may prevent them from doing so, however, is their lack of pitching.
The Yankees’ lineup will be its biggest strength moving forward. Their rotation is a much different story. While Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery are suitable young anchors, Michael Pineda and C.C. Sabathia are both free agents. Sonny Gray will be in his walk year and Tanaka will only have two years left in New York after next season. The Yankees may have to reserve their funds for some starting pitching in the 2018-19 mega-free agent market.
Other teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies are certainly still in play, but the Yankees acquiring Stanton puts a huge dent in Harper’s market. The effects could stretch even beyond New York, there’s a chance the Boston Red Sox spend on some of the top talent in this winter’s free agent class in order to keep up with their division rival.
It will still be up to the Nationals to write the check in order to keep Harper in D.C., but this is one situation where the team’s history with agent Scott Boras could come in handy. With Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg (barring his 2020 player option) and Ryan Zimmerman the only players on their roster with guaranteed salaries over $10 million after next season, the team certainly has the financial flexibility to make a move.
Even if the Nats extend Anthony Rendon to a long-term deal (he hits free agency after the 2019 season), there will still be plenty of room for them to re-sign Harper. With the Yankees seemingly out of the running, the Nats’ chances are only looking brighter.