Wielding the powers of his full no-trade clause to go exactly where he'd prefer, Giancarlo Stanton is reportedly on his way to the Yankees after turning down the Cardinals and Giants.
What does that mean?
- The Yankees are most likely leading the majors in homers again in 2018. That they did last season was largely a product of Yankee Stadium -- they were 16th in MLB in homers hit on the road -- but now they have a very good case for the most power-laden lineup in the game.
The trade to the Yankees is the pretty much the best-case scenario for Stanton's fantasy value. Yankee Stadium plays even better for left-handers, but it's still right at the top of home run parks for right-handed hitters and a huge change from Marlins Park, which is one of the very worst. Some will argue that since Stanton's homers tend to be no-doubters, the ballpark doesn't make much of a difference. Ballpark overlays even suggest that might be the case. Still, it's not merely dimensions that make the park; the ball travels well at Yankee Stadium, better than it does most places. It doesn't mean Stanton will hit 70 homers next year, but he's a better bet to make another run at 60 than he would have been had he stayed put or landed with the Cardinals or Giants. He's firmly entrenched as a top-five pick in mixed leagues.
- If anyone's value takes a hit, it's Gary Sanchez's. He was probably going to bat third pre-Stanton, but now he might find himself in the fifth spot, assuming that Aaron Boone would like to break up all of the righties some. That would leave the cleanup spot for Gregorius or Bird. Also, the DH spot is now going to be mostly occupied by the three-man rotation of Stanton, Gardner and Judge. Sanchez started at DH 18 times last season. He's not likely to do so as often next year.
- Missing from the lineup is Starlin Castro; in the hopes of staying under the luxury tax, the Yankees have reportedly opted to shed remainder of his deal in the trade. Castro isn't a bad contract -- he's owed $22 million for the next two years or $37 million for three (if his option is exercised) -- so the Marlins should be able to trade him elsewhere. The Angels, Mets and Brewers are among the teams looking for help at second.
- With Stanton in the Bronx, it makes one wonder if the Blue Jays and Orioles will reconsider their 2018 plans. Those two teams had seem to be set on keeping their franchise third basemen (Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado, respectively), but now the path to contention is that much more difficult. I especially think it makes sense for the Jays to sell now. They're not as hopeless for next season as the Orioles appear to be, but they might be able to pull off something similar to what the White Sox did last winter if they opted to trade Donaldson, Marcus Stroman, Roberto Osuna and Kevin Pillar. The Yankees would probably love Stroman in the middle of their rotation, and they have big prospects to offer. If there's a bright side for the Orioles, it's that they might have a slightly better chance of keeping Machado next winter with the Yankees having just absorbed such a huge contract.
- Many are wondering how the Red Sox will respond and whether it will involve J.D. Martinez or Eric Hosmer. Neither free agent seems like a great long-term investment, but the Red Sox wanted to add some power anyway and they have more incentive to do so now. They still might be better off signing a lesser first baseman and using their funds to upgrade their pitching staff. That their preferred rotation includes four left-handers (once Eduardo Rodriguez returns from knee surgery) isn't really ideal with the Yankees possessing three of the game's elite right-handed power hitters.
- As for the Marlins, well, they might as well keep going. The rotation is such a wreck, with little in the well in the minors, that it makes no sense to retain Marcell Ozuna and Justin Bour in the hopes of contending in 2019. They should even consider offers for Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto; they don't need to trade those two, but it's worth seeing if someone wants to bowl them over.