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'Financially Enhanced' Trades, Such As Giancarlo Stanton Deal, Shouldn't Be Allowed

December 11, 2017
You've probably heard or read this rant before, but bear with me while we take a look at another one of those "financially enhanced" trades -- and then a glance at baseball's latest Hall of Fame election.

It goes without saying that the New York Yankees' trade for outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was more than just another "I'll show you!" statement after they had been dismissed as possible bidders in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes. It was another one of those deals that reeks of the stench that results when a team buys its way out of a contract it couldn't afford in the first place.

And if this all sounds familiar, well it should. Remember when the Texas Rangers had to pay the Yankees to take Alex Rodriguez and his $252 million contract? That deal was negotiated by a group that knew it was halfway through the revolving door that seems to trap baseball owners on a regular basis. On the way out the door they cost the Rangers $10 million a year for two years -- or until A-Rod opted out and then the Yankees had nobody to blame but themselves for what happened later.

There's not quite as much money involved this time, but the fact that the Yankees are beneficiaries on what seems to be a short-term insurance policy that will reportedly pay them $30 million doesn't make it any easier to digest. And it certainly doesn't detract from the fact it's one of those obscene deals that attempts to make two wrongs equal a right -- and shouldn't be allowed. I don't know if commissioner Rob Manfred even has the authority to get around the Major League Baseball Players Association on this one, but for the good (not to mention the integrity) of the game he should at least try. 

Miami Marlins' outgoing owner Jeffrey Loria, who had no intention of staying longer than he had to, needed Stanton to give the team value. He is the one who signed Stanton to a $325 million, 13-year contract, so he gets credit for botching things up in the first place. Derek Jeter, who has made more errors in his first two months as a partner with new owner Bruce Sherman as he did in a bad week of his playing career, takes the hit for messing up the trade. And the system has to take blame for the way finances affect these kind of transactions.

As if his contract weren't deterrent enough, Stanton also had a no-trade clause and used it to decline potential deals Jeter had in place with the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants. That's the scenario the Yankees were facing after being turned down by Ohtani -- they were the only trading partner still available and Jeter, who should've done more homework on this one, had no bargaining power. I don't know what kind of deal Jeter had in place with the Giants and Cardinals, but the bottom line is that taking on the responsibility of the entire contract should be part of the any deal. It's as simple as that -- if you want the player, you take the contract; if not then it's signer (and signee) beware.

There simply isn't any way the Marlins, or the Rangers before them, should be able to offer compensation to escape a bad deal. Just what the American League East needed -- the Yankees being paid to take the most prolific home run hitter in the game. Egads.

***

There is bound to be a lot of controversy over Marvin Miller's exclusions from baseball's Hall of Fame after the Modern Era Committee voted in Jack Morris and Alan Trammell. But, more than anything, it pointed out the difficulty of survival against qualified veteran candidates, a situation no different than the one facing voters on the active ballot -- the results of which will be announced next month.

Morris received 14 votes from the 16-member committee, while Trammell received 13. Ted Simmons fell one vote short of the 12 needed. Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker and Luis Tiant all received fewer than the seven votes cast for Miller.

The omission of Miller once again will cause almost as much discussion in some quarters as the election of Morris and Trammell, especially among players who were involved labor negotiations, which is a shame. But, if anything, it simply emphasizes that it's a tough process, as it's supposed to be, and that veterans committees generally have believed the Hall of Fame is reserved for "in house" candidates.

We'll take another look at the entire process later in the month.

Jim Henneman can be reached at JimH@pressboxonline.com