Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton declines opt-out


Giancarlo Stanton will not opt out of the final seven years of his contract to become a free agent.

Still owed $218 million over the course of the 13-year, $325 million deal he signed with the Marlins in 2014, Stanton is now on the books through 2027, with a $10 million buyout — or another $25 million salary — in 2028.

As part of the agreement the Yankees made with Miami when they traded for Stanton in December 2017, the Marlins will pay the Yankees $30 million of his remaining contract since he did not opt out of the deal.

Stanton, who turns 31 in November, foreshadowed the news on Instagram earlier this month, when he captioned a picture of himself hitting at Yankee Stadium with “We’ll be back.”

He’s due to make $29 million in each of the next two seasons before a bump to $32 million per year from 2023-25.

With the Yankees expected to try to get under the $210 million luxury tax threshold next season, the presence of Stanton and Gerrit Cole — who will make $36 million — will no doubt limit what they do elsewhere.

giancarlo stanton declined to opt-out of his yankees contract
Giancarlo StantonCorey Sipkin

They officially declined J.A. Happ’s $17 million team option, making the 38-year-old a free agent and will have to look for additional starting pitching.

The DH spot, meanwhile, appears to be locked up for the foreseeable future.

Stanton arrived with much fanfare after Derek Jeter took over the Marlins and traded Christian Yelich to the Brewers and Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis to shed salary.

The trade for Stanton also basically took the Yankees out of the sweepstakes for Manny Machado and Bryce Harper the following year.

Stanton’s tenure with the Yankees has been marred by injuries interspersed with flashes of the power that led him to the NL MVP in 2017, when he hit 59 homers before being shipped out of Miami.

He’s been hampered by lower body injuries and a torn bicep that have helped limit Stanton to just 41 regular season games over the past two seasons.

Still, when healthy, Stanton remains one of the most feared hitters in the game — which he showed last postseason.

After a mostly miserable 2020 that saw him on the IL again and then lost at the plate heading into the playoffs, Stanton erupted in the postseason, going 8-for-26 with six homers against the Indians and Rays.

The Yankees have to hope to get more of that out of Stanton, especially since general manager Brian Cashman said after the season that Stanton is likely to be a full-time DH to help him stay  healthy.

“Given the injuries we experienced with him thus far, the safe bet is for him to focus at DH,’’ Cashman said. “Just this postseason, you could see what he’s capable of doing. Whenever he’s healthy, he seems to hit.”

As for Happ, the left-hander had an up and down 2020 season, being skipped in the rotation early on before bouncing back to pitch to a 1.93 ERA over a six-start stretch. He pitched just once in the playoffs, when Happ allowed four runs in 2 ⅔ innings in a Game 2 loss to the Rays in the ALDS.

He expressed displeasure in how he was used over the course of the season and implied the Yankees were manipulating his workload to keep him from reaching the numbers that would make his $17 million option kick in for 2021.

Happ fell short of those numbers and the Yankees unsurprisingly didn’t pick up the team option. After arriving prior to the trade deadline in July 2018, Happ was 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts, but pitched poorly in an ALDS start against the Red Sox.

A year ago, Happ struggled, finishing with a 4.91 ERA and allowing a career-high 34 homers.


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