The offseason’s two biggest road blocks have been cleared over the weekend. After Shohei Otani signed with the Los Angeles Angels yesterday, the spurned New York Yankees took the spotlight back by essentially buying Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the deal will see the Yankees send back Starlin Castro and two prospects to Miami to complete the deal. The Marlins will pay roughly $35 million of the deal to the Yankees, who will absorb the remaining $260 million over the next 10 years. Here’s a quick look at what the deal means for the Marlins’ division rivals, the New York Mets:
Good News: Stanton, who absolutely torches the Mets, is out of the National League East. While the Mets will still have to face Stanton annually in the Subway Series, that will be at most six matchups a year with him. Stanton, who has batted .268 with 35 homers and 81 RBI’s in his career against the Mets, also won’t be on a team that would compete with them for a playoff spot, such as the St. Louis Cardinals or San Francisco Giants. The Yankees’ acquisition of Stanton gets him out of the National League entirely, which is good for the Mets going forward. The Marlins are also in the midst of a near total rebuild after shipping out Stanton and Dee Gordon in the past few days, which should give the Mets 18 games a year against a weak team to help their own playoff pursuit.
Bad News: This is also a bad situation for the Mets as well. Here are the main issues from the Mets’ perspective:
- Just a year after it looked like the Mets would take back the city, they have been completely overshadowed by the Yankees again. The Yankees turned a supposed rebuilding season into an ALCS appearance, and now they have added the best slugger in the game to an already scary lineup. The Mets are definitely back to little brother status again.
- Stanton didn’t even have the Mets on his list of four teams he would approve a trade to even though they play in the same city as the Yankees. It is entirely possible that new Marlins’ owner Derek Jeter wouldn’t want to trade Stanton in the division, but the fact that Stanton completely wrote the Mets off despite them being in the New York market speaks volumes of what other players think of the franchise as a whole. Stanton made winning a priority, as evidenced by the fact that his list of destinations contained the four teams in last year’s LCS round, so his refusal to consider the Mets indicates he doesn’t think the team is truly committed to winning.
- From all accounts, it doesn’t sound like the Mets even picked up the phone to pitch Stanton on the possibility of playing in Queens. The Yankees were able to acquire Stanton for a solid infielder (Castro) on a multi-year deal, their ninth rated prospect in pitcher Jorge Guzman, and another prospect rated outside their top 30. The Mets’ equivalent of this offer would be something like Wilmer Flores (intriguing young infielder with years of team control), Marcos Molina (young pitching prospect) and a lower tier arm.
The reason the Yankees were able to essentially steal Stanton from Miami was the fact that the Marlins desperately wanted to cut payroll after Jeter took over. The Mets continually refuse to spend like a big market team, and this is a deal that they could have attempted to make if ownership was willing to loosen the purse strings a bit. The fact that the Mets didn’t even try to see if they could get a guy like Stanton is extremely frustrating, especially given the fact that Stanton would have been a perfect fit for their lineup. With Stanton hitting between Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes the Mets could have an elite middle of the lineup, and without a ton of long term commitments the Mets could have managed Stanton’s money down the road. The reason this was never a possibility is because there is no reality in which the Mets would agree to take on $260 million in salary for one player.
What the Yankees do shouldn’t have an impact on the Mets, but fans will be putting the pressure on General Manager Sandy Alderson to actually spend money to improve his roster. No one is expecting them to go throw $200 million at Eric Hosmer, but the least the Mets could do is to try and actually fill the holes on their roster instead of walking into spring training with visible weaknesses. If the Mets simply added two every day players, one in the outfield and one at second base, as well as two quality relievers they would be in much better shape than they are now. Until that happens, Mets’ fans will continue to stew in their anger as the rich get richer in the Bronx and their team sits on its hands and hopes the market comes back to them.