This has been a most unusual baseball offseason.
We sat through most of November and the first week of December with very little action. Then the Cubs signed Tyler Chatwood, the first “major” free-agent signing. Little more than a day later, Japanese star Shohei Ohtani chose the Angels out of his seven “finalists.”
And now, in the middle of the night on a weekend, one of the biggest stars in the game appears to have been traded:
Source: Stanton from #Marlins to #Yankees is “virtually done.” Close to finish line. Hear #Marlins will get at least Starlin Castro plus good but not top prospects if completed. Again physical review can still be part of this so nothing final, but close.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 9, 2017
It was only late Friday that Giancarlo Stanton had invoked his no-trade clause to reject deals to the Giants and Cardinals that had nearly been finalized.
This one’s not a done deal yet, either:
With Stanton, #Yankees have progressed roughly as far as #STLCards and #SFGiants did. The question now is whether Stanton is prepared to accept deal and close door on #Dodgers dream. @MLBNetwork @MLB— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 9, 2017
Given the fact that Stanton reportedly said Friday that he would approve deals to the Yankees, Cubs, Astros and Dodgers, I’d think this one will happen.
There are a few more details at this New York Post article from Joel Sherman, who was the first to tweet about this deal in the middle of the night.
Acquiring Stanton would obviously give the Yankees a formidable offense — not that they didn’t have one already, finishing second in the American League in runs in 2017 (858). Does this automatically make them World Series favorites? The oddsmakers might put them there, but as we well know, “there are no guarantees.”
This reported deal also provoked this tweet:
2018 World Series MVP for the Yankees: Derek Jeter.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 9, 2017
Which was obviously a joke:
A joke. Claims of collusion in comments are quite ridiculous. Obvious top choices to get a deal done were SF, STL. Stanton rejecting those backed Miami into a corner and perfect storm of familiarity/circumstance led to Yankees push. https://t.co/j2rt70d0nz— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 9, 2017
That’s a pretty good summary of what has apparently happened here. Though it would have been great to see Stanton in a Cubs uniform, the Cubs likely don’t have the payroll room in order to: a) get more starting pitching help and then b) stay under the luxury tax. The Dodgers might not, either, and the Astros probably couldn’t afford his contract.
The Cubs, who saw Starlin Castro return to Wrigley Field last May to a warm standing ovation, will now see him in two series every year with the Marlins, including the season-opening series at Miami.
The week of Winter Meetings that begins Monday ought to have quite a bit of action now that the Ohtani and Stanton logjams have been broken.