The SF Giants tried earnestly to acquire power-hitting outfielder Giancarlo Stanton in 2017. He spurned their advances for a chance to compete with the New York Yankees. Now, in 2023, it feels like the Giants avoided what could have been a disaster.
SF Giants narrowly avoided disaster deal by missing out on power-hitting slugger in 2017
The Giants had agreed in terms to a trade with the Miami Marlins to acquire the former NL MVP. They were competing with the St. Louis Cardinals to acquire Stanton and eventually came out as the preferred destination. However, he used his no-trade clause to block a deal, opting to be shipped to the Yankees instead.
The Giants missed out on Stanton and Shohei Ohtani that offseason after finishing that year with just 64 wins. It was a tough deal, and although the Giants would have benefitted from signing Ohtani, they avoided a disastrous deal with Stanton.
One of the reasons why the Marlins wanted to trade the star outfielder is because they were cutting costs and he was at the start of a 13-year, $325 million deal. This deal runs through 2027 with a $25 million team option for 2028 that New York will almost certainly buy out for $10 million. The quickest way for them to significantly cut costs was to trade Stanton.
The 34-year-old has had some nice seasons with the Yankees, but the end of that deal might just look horrific. Durability was an issue for him dating back to his days with the Marlins and he has done nothing to quell those concerns, appearing in over 140 games once since 2018.
It has gotten to the point where Yankees general manager Brian Cashman recently offered a blunt assessment of Stanton. According to Gary Phillips of The New York Daily News, Cashman recognizes that Stanton will likely miss time because that is what recent history suggests, but the Yankees' medical staff will need to do their best to minimize that downtime.
Even when he is healthy, the 14-year veteran's performance has slipped in recent seasons as he is increasingly becoming a one-dimensional player. The 2023 campaign was easily his worst as he tallied a .191/.275/.420 line (87 OPS+) with 24 home runs, 64 RBI, and 43 runs in 415 plate appearances. His playing time in the field has diminished over the years and he is one of the slower baserunners in the game.
The power numbers remain healthy, but it is easy to overlook that when considering his lack of defensive and baserunning value, especially at an average annual value of $25 million per season.
It is certainly easy to look at the moves that Farhan Zaidi has not made since joining the Giants. Although, this occurred before his time with San Francisco, the Stanton deal is one that could have set the already risk-averse Giants back for years to come. It was a disaster that they narrowly avoided, even if they tried diligently to bring Stanton on board.