One day after Japanese slugger Shohei Ohtani chose to play for the Angels and in turn kicked off the 2017 MLB offseason, we have our second piece of big news. Giancarlo Stanton, who was linked to both the St. Louis Cardinals or the San Francisco Giants for the last few weeks, reportedly has been dealt to the New York Yankees. The clubs have not yet confirmed. Stanton, who has a no-trade clause, limited his trade options earlier this week to the Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, or Houston Astros. Rather unsurprisingly, the Derek Jeter-led Marlins agreed to trade Stanton to the Bronx for Starlin Castro and prospects. Here’s my take.
Giancarlo Stanton, who plays right field, has gained a notorious reputation in the MLB for hitting an absurd amount of home runs. Just last year, Stanton blasted 59 (!) home runs for the Marlins. He has hit 267 dingers in his seven seasons in Miami, and has hit for a .268 average throughout those seven years. Stanton is entering his age 29 season, and carries a massive contract, where he will make north of $25 million dollars (!!) for the next 10 (!!!!) years. This is a huge burden added to an already humongous Yankees payroll. Starlin Castro, who the Yankees reportedly gave up for Stanton, is a contact hitter. Castro, in eight seasons with both the Cubs and Yankees, has hit 99 home runs and has hit for a very solid .282 average. He mimicked those stats in the 2017 season, hitting 16 homers and sporting an even .300 average. Both of these players add something to their respective teams.
I have a different take on this trade. As Nats fans, the single most important event of 2018 will be the free agency of Bryce Harper. Harper is a generational talent, and like most generational talents, he has been linked to the New York Yankees. In 2009, when he was featured in Sports Illustrated, he said, “I want to be in the Hall of Fame, play at Yankee Stadium, play in the pinstripes, and be the best player ever.” Now while this was 2009, almost ten years ago, Harper seems as if he would love to play for the New York Yankees. After the trade for Stanton, the Yankees would likely be unable to offer a mega-deal to Harper too. With a stacked outfield including Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Jacoby Ellsbury, there might not be space on the field or in the wallet for the Yanks.
However, this is a great deal for the Yankees. After shocking the league by making it to game 7 of the ALCS, the new-look Yankees will be poised to return to the bright lights of the World Series. And they will have two of the strongest players in the league, with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton batting in the same lineup. I’m just glad that they don’t have to sport such a dangerous lineup in the NL! As a fan of the game, I’m really looking forward to May 15, when the Yankees come to D.C., but fear the results on the scoreboard. After these two big trades, the upcoming Winter Meetings are sure to be full of interesting deals and blockbuster free agent signings. We’ll see what the future holds for baseball.
The big fish has been caught.
In a move that sent shockwaves across Major League Baseball, Shohei Ohtani made his decision to “take his talents” to the Los Angeles Angels. The Japanese 2-way player chose to play in Anaheim with Mike Trout and the Angels on Friday, with his agent citing that he “felt a strong connection with the team, and are the most capable to achieve his goals in Major League Baseball.” Here are my thoughts about the signing.
Here’s some background information about Ohtani, if you need a refresher. He is a 23-year old, can play both outfield and pitcher, and is the most highly touted Japanese prospect since Ichiro Suzuki. Ohtani has played for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters for the last five Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) seasons. At the plate, Ohtani has hit .286 and hit 48 home runs in his five seasons at the top level of Japanese baseball. He might even be more impressive on the mound. In the same five seasons, he went 42-15 and posted a a 2.52 ERA. To put his stats into comparison, Trea Turner hit for a .284 average during the 2017 MLB season.
The real question most people have about Ohtani’s big switch from the NPB to the MLB is how he will perform on the field, and how the Angels will be affected by the signing. The Angels have some amazing talent on their team, including Mike Trout, Andrelton Simmons, and Kole Calhoun. While they have Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker, the pitching staff of the Angels was really lacking in the past season, causing the Halos to finish the season two games under .500. Giving the Angels an ace to strengthen the pitching staff is huge. On days where Ohtani isn’t on the mound, he can take advantage of the designated hitter rule and solely bat. He also can fill in for the Angels’ already impressive outfield and play there. Secondly, I believe that Ohtani will have some struggle at first, because the MLB can be much more competitive than the NPB. When Ichiro first entered the Majors, he had a major drop in his batting average. Masahiro Tanaka, another international free agent, had his ERA shift from 1.27 to 2.77 after he made the jump. Even so, he will add something to the Angels that they don’t currently have.
I support the signing of Ohtani by the Angels. In a highly competitive AL West division including the reigning World Series champions and the new-look Mariners, the Angels needed to make a splash like this one to virtually stay in the hunt for a playoff spot. I believe that the Angels will be competitive in the race this year, and possibly obtain one of the two wild card spots. With the Winter Meetings still yet to occur, the stove has just started to heat up. The crazy 2017 offseason has begun.