We've all heard that these aren't your father's Yankees anymore. That's been the narrative around this current incarnation of the Bronx Bombers as they've worked through an effective rebuild focused on youth, athleticism and homegrown talent.On Saturday morning, the Yankees reminded the baseball world that some things never change. The
We've all heard that these aren't your father's Yankees anymore. That's been the narrative around this current incarnation of the Bronx Bombers as they've worked through an effective rebuild focused on youth, athleticism and homegrown talent.
On Saturday morning, the Yankees reminded the baseball world that some things never change. The swift, shocking decision to acquire Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins was a move that would have made George Steinbrenner proud.
• Hot Stove Tracker
No reason to let Aaron Judge's presence in right field stop you from adding the only guy who hit more homers than he did last year, not when the price was Starlin Castro and a couple of B-level prospects.
The Yankees have created a modern-day Murderers' Row, giving new manager Aaron Boone the most power-packed lineup in the game with Judge, Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius and Greg Bird filling the Nos. 2-6 spots in the lineup.
Stanton, Judge, Sanchez and Gregorius combined for 169 home runs last season. The Red Sox -- all of them -- hit 168.
The Baby Bombers are no more. The Bronx Bombers are back.
The Yankees have tried to get away from simply being the team that can out-spend everybody else, but the Stanton acquisition is a not-so-gentle reminder that when it comes to financial wherewithal, they are still a force to be reckoned with.
Still, don't mistake Saturday's move as a concession by Hal Steinbrenner that the Yankees will blow past the luxury-tax threshold. They did that in 2014 when they signed Masahiro Tanaka, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, but this is different. That team had numerous holes that needed to be filled for the Yankees to fancy themselves a contender. This one does not.
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Second base is the only position of uncertainty, though general manager Brian Cashman has already stated publicly that Gleyber Torres -- the Yankees' top prospect and the No. 2 overall prospect in the Minors, according to MLBPipeline.com -- will have a chance to win a job this spring. If he's not quite ready, Ronald Torreyes or Tyler Wade can keep the position warm until Torres' arrival.
Beyond that, the rotation has one opening, though it's widely assumed that Carsten Sabathia will return to the Bronx for at least one more season. Following the Game 7 American League Championship Series loss in Houston, Sabathia spoke of coming back to finish the job. Now that they've added Stanton to an already potent lineup, why wouldn't he want to come back?
The bullpen? Loaded. Albertin Chapman, Dellin Betances, Player Page for David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Chad Green and Adam Warren all return for another season, so there's no heavy lifting to be done in that area.
As for the payroll math, the Yankees now have about $123 million guaranteed to seven players (Stanton, Tanaka, Ellsbury, Chapman, Chase Headley, Brett Gardner and Robertson), plus a projected $35-40 million that will go to their eight arbitration-eligible players. Add in $6-7 million for the 0-3 service guys -- there are a whopping 10 of them, which is why this all works out for the Yankees -- and you're looking at about $170 million before paying Sabathia or another starter. Things can and do change, but that's a rough estimate.
• DYK: Stanton, Judge facts and figures
As old-Yankees as the Stanton move appears on the surface, it was far from it. Hal Steinbrenner is a measured businessman, always looking for the best opportunity to improve the club without being reckless. He's made it clear that getting under that threshold is a priority, and with about $80 million dropping off the payroll this offseason, 2018 is the best opportunity for that to happen. It's difficult to believe that he would have approved such a move if it would have pushed his team past the $197 million threshold.
Likewise, the Yankees would not have been involved in a bidding war for Stanton, sacrificing the upper echelon of their prized farm system, even for the reigning National League MVP. But once Stanton rejected proposed trades to both the Giants and Cardinals -- and it became known that the Yankees were one of four teams to which he would reportedly accept a trade -- the Marlins had very little leverage and the Yankees knew it.
The Dodgers were hesitant to add Stanton's contract to their hefty payroll, while the Astros and Cubs never seemed to engage in any serious manner with the Marlins. That left the Yankees seizing an opportunity to acquire Stanton.
Gary Denbo, Miami's vice president of player development and scouting, certainly had a good feel for the Yankees' prospects following his recent stint running their Minor League system, but for the Yankees, holding on to the likes of Torres, Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield and Estevan Florial was crucial.
The Marlins thought they needed to get rid of as much of the $295 million remaining on Stanton's contract, even if it meant taking back lesser prospects.
Thanks to their work over the past few years to reshape and rebuild their roster, that money wasn't an issue for the Yankees, even as they strive for financial responsibility.
These are not your father's Yankees. Even they would be envious of this move.
Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.