This Yankees-Cardinals Giancarlo Stanton Trade Could Actually Work

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 12:  Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the New York Yankees is congratulated by his third base coach Phil Nevin #88 after his solo home run against the Houston Astros during the sixth inning in game one of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 12, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
League Championship Series - New York Yankees v Houston Astros - Game One | Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Giancarlo Stanton is an impact power bat and an MVP candidate when healthy, which should remain his legacy. Instead, we're stuck with "soft" and "a choker" after another subpar postseason and disappearing act.

But while none of the names he's been called or labels he's been affixed with are entirely fair, it is completely factual that the Yankees won 103 games in 2019 largely without his presence. Simply put, if New York has budgetary limitations and rotation holes, there simply has to be a better use of that money.

So, would anyone like to overpay to get the Yankees off the hook for this mega-deal, the way the Dodgers saved the Red Sox from Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford in 2012? Perhaps the team that pursued Stanton the hardest in 2017's offseason, and is coming off a high-profile playoff failure of their own, would like to check in here.

The Cardinals doggedly pursued Giancarlo Stanton two winters ago, at which time he repeatedly rejected their overtures. But now, the NL Central has flipped, and the Cards have a young core that's vaulted them above the Cubs. Stanton could contend in St. Louis for the next five years. Beyond that, though, Stanton's gotten the taste of New York he so desired...and he can't have enjoyed very much of it.

Though he carried the Yankees through their Aaron Judge-less months in 2018, he never got the credit, instead remaining known for whiffing at breaking balls. After 2019, he's an afterthought more than a pariah, which is the hardest part.

The Cardinals have a contract of their own they'd like to get out of, though for a shorter length of time. Matt Carpenter, a proven playoff bat who regressed significantly in '19, has two years left on his extension at $39 million. Ever-versatile and a recent MVP candidate himself (ninth-place finisher in 2018), a Carpenter-for-Stanton swap, with likely a prospect added on each side, least some sense. Cards lefty starter Zack Thompson (No. 5 in MLB Pipeline's top 30) and Yankees outfield breakout Everson Pereira to round things out, perhaps?

It's wild, but you can see a roadmap. Now, will either team's executives, constantly on the hot seat, have the gumption to pull the trigger?