In a quest to jumpstart a rebuild and clear salary, the Yankees and Marlins agreed to a blockbuster deal in the winter of 2017-18. For three players and an assumption of a hefty contract, the New York Yankees acquired reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton to add to a loaded outfield. Now that it’s been five years, let’s take a closer look at the deal.
What the Yankees Got
The move to pick up Stanton seemed like a no-brainer for the Yankees at the time. After the slugger signed a massive 13-year, $325 million extension in 2015, the only way the Marlins could realistically be released from the deal financially was by moving him off to a team that could afford that contract. The Yankees fit that bill.
New York acquired Giancarlo Stanton in the 2017-18 offseason. That offseason came off the heels of a surprising run to the ALCS, where the Yankees came just a win shy of making it back to the World Series. To complete with the likes of the Indians, Astros, and Red Sox, a slugger like Stanton that could be paired with then-reigning AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge could have conceivably put New York over the top in the American League.
When Stanton was traded, the outfielder came off a campaign in which he hit .281/.376/.631 with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs. That incredible season won him the NL MVP award. In his first season in The Bronx, Stanton missed just four games and hit .266/.343/.509 with 38 home runs and 100 RBIs. While it wasn’t as strong as his gaudy 2017 campaign, Stanton still did his job. From there, things get complicated.
Stanton missed most of the 2019 campaign, a season in which he only saw 18 games of action. In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Stanton played in 23 of the Yankees’ 60 games that year. He did, however, come through in the postseason that year. Stanton hit six home runs in the 2020 MLB Playoffs.
The past two years have been roughly similar for the now-33-year-old. He’s hit over 30 bombs in each of the last two regular seasons, not to mention two critical homers in the 2022 ALDS against the Guardians. However, he’s been limited defensively and has hit the IL in each of the last two seasons.
It’s very much unclear as to what the future holds for Stanton. But when on the field, very few can match the power that Stanton owns.
What the Marlins Got
The main asset the Marlins received was financial flexibility. But, there other players were also involved. Not only did Miami get mostly freed from the deal — the Marlins will retain $10 million in the 2026, 2027, and 2028 seasons — but the Marlins also received veteran infielder Starlin Castro and two prospects, Jose Devers and Jorge Guzman.
SS Starlin Castro did quite well in his two seasons in Miami. Castro hit .274/.314/.418 with 34 home runs and 103 extra base hits over 1,323 PA in 2018-19, including a career-high 22 bombs in 2019.
Then, there’s Jose Devers, acquired by the Marlins as an 18-year-old. The cousin of Red Sox slugger Rafael Devers, Devers did rank as a top-30 prospect in the Yankees farm system prior to the deal. Jose doesn’t have the same power profile as his cousin, but he did demonstrate good bat-to-ball skills and speed prior to the deal.
After four years in the Marlins farm system, Devers made his MLB debut in 2021. He hit .244 over a 46 plate appearance cameo, but that proved to be the high water mark of his career thus far. In 2022 with Pensacola (AA), Devers hit .210/.265/.313 over 58 games.
The other piece of the deal was then-SP prospect Jorge Guzman. Previously acquired by the Yankees from Houston in a 2016 trade that sent Brian McCann to the Astros, Guzman routinely hit the triple digits with Staten Island (SS-A) the season before being moved. Guzman showed incredible promise as a starter, but injuries and command derailed his career.
Guzman did make three MLB appearances in 2020-21, all with the Marlins. Now, Guzman is a reliever in the Giants organization.
Just from looking at the deal, it’s hard to say the Marlins came out on the better end — even if Miami accomplished what it needed to with the deal. For two prospects that didn’t pan out to plan and a veteran infielder, the Yankees were able to pick up a truly elite power hitter. Sure, Stanton has had his fair share of injuries. That doesn’t diminish, though, what Stanton can do to baseballs when up at the dish. From an asset management standpoint, it didn’t go all that well.
Yes, Stanton has dealt with injury after injury, but he does own a skillset that very few have in the Majors. However, one could look at the deal in a negative light, simply because the Yankees have not been able to capitalize in the playoffs when Stanton has been healthy.