The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
Yanks hope Giancarlo Stanton doesn't become the new Jacoby Ellsbury

It was disappointing to see that Giancarlo Stanton will not start the season for the New York Yankees because of a strained calf.  Stanton says he’s frustrated with his latest condition.  Guess what, Giancarlo, Yankees fans are frustrated with you, too.


Last season, he was one of the 30 Yankees to go on the injured list last year.  He played only 18 regular season games due to bicep, knee, and calf problems and was finally re-activated for post-season play against the Twins and Astros.  Altogether he got paid $26 million for 77 at bats and four home runs.  His disappointing year came after his first season with the Yankees in 2018, in which he had satisfied Yankees fans with 38 home runs and 100 RBIs, setting the stage for bigger expectations to follow.


But now there is concern Stanton‘s situation is becoming reminiscent of Jacoby Ellsbury’s tenure with the Yankees.  Ellsbury had been a key cog in the Red Sox’s World Championship seasons in 2007 and 2013.  As a free agent after the 2013 season, he defected to the New York Yankees who drastically overpaid to sign him.   At seven-years and $153 million, then-30-year-old Ellsbury’s deal at the time was the third richest in history by an outfielder (following only Manny Ramirez and Matt Kemp).


At the end of the day, the Yankees got stung by the Ellsbury contract.  He never delivered an all-star-type season and suffered injuries that kept him out of baseball for the entire 2018 and 2019 seasons.  He also missed 50 games in both the 2015 and 2017 campaigns.  (Maybe the Yankees should have taken more notice that he had missed most of the 2010 and 2012 seasons with Boston.)  The Yankees wound up releasing Ellsbury from his contract in 2020 (while still shelling out $21 million) and buying out his option for 2021 for $5 million.  In the four seasons he played for the Yankees, his production fell way short of his compensation, as he posted an unimpressive slash line of .264/.330/.386, while producing only 39 home runs and 198 RBIs.


When the Yankees acquired Stanton prior to the 2018 season, they inherited his mega-deal with the Miami Marlins that was inked after the 2014 season, eclipsing all previous sports contracts.  The slugger had signed for $325 million over 13 years.  Including 2020, the Yankees are still on the hook for nine seasons worth $259 million, although the Marlins have agreed to pick up some of his remaining salary in later years.


The Yankees set a franchise record for home runs last year without Stanton.  Because they aren’t desperate to replace him in the lineup, the team says it will give Stanton time to fully heal from the calf injury before trying to put him back on the field.  Who knows how long that will take?


Recent chatter on radio talk shows has mentioned that the Yankees should consider look at unloading Stanton now and not take a chance on his medical condition down the road.  But there aren’t many teams able to absorb his current contract.  Stanton can opt-out of the contract after the 2020 season; however, if his time on the field winds up being limited because of continued health issues, his value on the open market after the season won’t increase over his current contract.


Will the Yankees get stung again with the Stanton contract?  Maybe.  They always seem to manage to recover though.  Yet I wonder if they will ever learn to stop tying up so much salary with one player (remember A-Rod’s deal?).  Perhaps not.  They just did another one with Gerrit Cole.

Add a Comment

(Enter the numbers shown in the above image)