Can the Dodgers have their Stanton and eat it too?
Supposedly the Dodgers would like to get under the luxury tax threshold this winter but Derek Jeter is throwing a monkey wrench into this by deciding to trade the greatest active player who played high school ball within 100 miles of Dodgers Stadium.
I was wondering if the Dodgers could not only trade for Stanton but also get under the luxury tax for 2018.
This is going to involve math.
This is going to involve speculation
Getting Stanton doesn’t seem so hard. The Marlins want to trade him, he has a huge contract making him less desirable for teams who don’t have the capital to afford him, he has a no-trade contract and would like to play for the Dodgers. He would like to play for a winner so I don’t think the Giants are exactly in play for him given their present and probable future situation.
What is hard, is adding Stanton and his contract and staying under the threshold for 2018. A task made harder by the horrible Cuban contracts still on the books for Oliveras / Erisbel Arruebarrena / Yaisel Sierra. According to Eric $10M is still owed Arruebarrena and Sierra for 2018 but he does not have Oliveras on his worksheet. Baseball Reference says we owe Oliveras. I’ll always trust Eric on this and go with the $10M for the two players mentioned. Not only did the Dodgers get zero return on an investment of $50M but that cost is now problematic as they try to get below the Luxury Tax in 2018.
Still, it could be accomplished but how? And the bigger question besides how, is should they?
|2020||30||$26,000,000||may opt out of contract following 2020 season|
Working with $25M for 2018, we need to turn to the Eric Stephen Luxury tax worksheet we mentioned above. The Luxury Tax in 2018 will be $197M. According to Eric the Dodgers are currently at $179M for 20 players on a 40 man roster.
If we add Stanton that puts the Dodgers at $214 for 21 players on a 40 man roster.
So we need to do some serious deducting.
Since the Marlins are trying to get out from under the Stanton contract the only way the Dodgers can deal with them is if they take some bad contracts back from the Dodgers that will expire after 2018. That won’t be hard as the team has a series of bad contracts that expire in 2018.
I’m speculating that two bad contracts and four other parts could persuade the Marlins to make the move.
Scott Kazmir is one. According to Eric his Luxury Tax salary for 2018 would be $15M. That is a nice place to start.
Brandon McCarthy is another one. Again, according to Eric his Luxury Tax salary for 2018 would be $12M.
Boom you just removed $27M from your payroll while adding $25M.
But hey, if you going to ask the Marlins to take Kazmir and McCarthy you have to give them some toys.
Joc Pederson and Alex Verdugo would be some nice toys for them. Two possible cost-controlled starting outfielders for years to place around Yelich. Pederson is estimated to make $2M in 2018 from arbitration.
Right now you have given them two starting pitchers whose contracts expire in 2018. If either of them show anything they might be able to flip them this summer and get more toys. If they don’t, they are done with the contracts after 2018.
You have a starting left or right fielder in Joc Pederson. Plenty of warts but plenty of promise.
I already see a problem here. Three left-handed outfielders. The assumption here is that Marcell Ozuna will also be traded as he’s about to get very expensive and would bring back some very nice parts.
I’m going to swap out Alex Verdugo with Enrique Hernandez who is only estimated to make $1.3M in 2018. If the Marlins are able to deal Dee Gordon as they are trying to do, Hernandez can become their 2nd baseman. This is also a team that had Riddle and Miguel Rojas start 130 games at shortstop so you could see where Hernandez could be used.
The next two toys are just my speculation. One will be Wilmer Font the PCL pitcher of the year. He may or may not be anything but he’s worth the Marlins finding out.
The final toy has to be a real prospect. I would give them a choice between the right hand hitting CF Diaz or Dennis Santana. They were both in AA in 2017 and in most Dodger top ten prospect lists.
So what you have is Kazmir/McCarthy/Pederson/Hernandez/Font/Santana for the best power hitter in the National League in his prime.
You could easily argue the Dodgers don’t need Giancarlo Stanton. This was after all a team that just won 114 games, came one game short of a World Championship, and looks built to make another run in 2018 without Stanton.
But……… if you want to look not only at 2018 but after 2018 you might want someone like Stanton in your lineup.
Puig is probably gone after 2018 leaving a fairly large hole in RF. Stanton can fill this hole and when he fills the hole it will be a mountain.
You could also argue that Stanton isn’t healthy enough for the contract he has. I’m not sure getting hit in the face counts, and when it comes to health, recent bias works here and Stanton played 156 games in 2018. The most games any Dodger played in 2017 was 152 by Puig. You might remember that Puig also had health concerns entering 2017.
I kind of feel that Stanton is being discounted because of the contract and the fact he has the no-trade. If the price is right I think you do this deal provided the Marlins want to play ball with the 2018 contracts of Kazmir/McCarthy.
If you do that there are still plenty of ways to keep lowering the tab in 2018 before adding the contracts of the rest of the team.
Adrian Gonzalez certainly stands out. Adrian is a 10-5 guy but I doubt he wants to sit on the Dodger bench in his walk year. I would think that the Dodgers could find a team for Adrian if the Dodgers pay all but $5M of his salary, thus saving them $5M in 2017.
The Dodgers went with Austin Barnes as their starting catcher for most of the playoffs. Grandal was not hurt, he was simply made into the backup catcher. He’s due to make about $7.7M in arbitration this year. For a backup catcher. The Dodgers could either trade Grandal or simply not offer him arbitration thus freeing up another $8M (rounding up). A team with no conscious about their payroll budget could afford an $8M backup catcher. A team trying to get under the Luxury Tax cannot. Not with the unmoveable Cuban contracts still on the books. Just to show this isn’t complete speculation, a story appeared the day after I wrote this the the Dodgers are actively trying to trade Grandal.
“Rival clubs say #Dodgers are willing to trade catcher Yasmani Grandal, who is entering his final season of arbitration eligibility,” Morosi tweeted on Wednesday night. The Dodgers have not confirmed the report.
A projected 2018 team with Stanton:
1st – Bellinger, 2nd – Forsythe, SS – Seager, 3rd – Turner, C – Barnes
RF – Puig, CF – Taylor, LF – Stanton
Bench – Segedin, Toles, Thompson, Culberson, Backup Catcher type
Kershaw, Hill, Wood, Ryu, Maeda, Jansen, Cingrani, Avilan, Stewart, Stripling, Fields, Baez
Top prospects Verdugo and Buehler are still in AAA to start the year ready to help when injuries show up or they simply knock down the door. Others ready at AAA to help would be Locastro as the utility player and whoever they sign as veteran minor league depth.
A projected 2018 Lineup:
Looks very intimidating does it not?
Of course, it does. But that is for 2018. And it will look just as good for 2019 – 2020. If Stanton ops out after 2020 isn’t that a win-win? That would mean he was so good over the prior three years that he and his agent feel they can do even better on the market than the huge contract he has. It also means the Dodgers would not be on the hook for the downside of his career.
The downside, of course, is that you would have Stanton on your books until the baseball age of 38. The final 3 – 5 years could just be Carl Crawford/Andre wasted money.
It could be. Stanton has no real comps. The closest physical specimen to him was Dave Winfield or Darryl Strawberry. Winfield was productive into his late 30’s. Straw of course had the huge drug problem and crashed early. It should also be noted that at the time the Dodgers got Strawberry he was also the best active player who had played baseball within 100 miles of Dodger Stadium. Unless it was Eric Davis.
I created a leaderboard list to show what Stanton has accomplished. This is a list of every major league player 6’6 or more and what they had done by the age of 27 related to home runs.
Player HR Ht Age PA OBP SLG OPS Giancarlo Stanton 267 78 20-27 4120 .360 .554 .914 Adam Dunn 238 78 21-27 4098 .381 .519 .900 Darryl Strawberry 215 78 21-27 3928 .358 .520 .878 Troy Glaus 182 77 21-27 3479 .357 .497 .854 Frank Thomas 182 77 22-27 3492 .450 .593 1.044 Mark McGwire 178 77 22-27 3156 .351 .488 .839 Freddie Freeman 166 77 20-27 4304 .376 .496 .872 Dave Kingman 150 78 22-27 2456 .296 .482 .779 Richie Sexson 146 79 22-27 2645 .341 .521 .862 Dave Winfield 134 78 21-27 3869 .356 .466 .822 Derrek Lee 130 77 21-27 3314 .353 .467 .820 Tony Clark 127 80 23-27 2483 .351 .503 .855 Frank Howard 123 79 21-27 2321 .326 .495 .822 Jason Heyward 115 77 20-27 4502 .344 .412 .756 John Olerud 109 77 20-27 3689 .395 .471 .866 Mike Marshall 106 77 21-27 2550 .327 .457 .785
I don’t care what the Dodgers do. If they make the trade it would be exciting to have someone like Stanton on the team. If they don’t, the team itself will be exciting.
I just hope they are serious about getting under the luxury tax because anyone can simply outspend everyone else. I’d like to see what this management team can do while under some actual constraints.