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Volume 24 No. 176
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Yankees' Trade For Giancarlo Stanton Seen As Signal Of Club's Return To Big Spending Ways

The Yankees have "reverted to form" by acquiring RF Giancarlo Stanton -- and the remaining 10 years and $295M on his contract -- from the Marlins, according to David Waldstein of the N.Y. TIMES. A source said that the Yankees will "surrender two modest prospects" and 2B Starlin Castro. The source added that the Marlins will also put about $30M into the deal to "offset some of what the Yankees will owe Stanton." Waldstein noted the deal means the Yankees will have MLB's two "most intimidating sluggers," Stanton and RF Aaron Judge, in the same lineup and "may again become baseball's marquee team." Stanton is "due to make" $25M in '18, which would "seem to jeopardize the team's stated intent" to have a payroll that is under the luxury tax threshold of $197M. However, the source said that the Yankees "remained confident they could find a way to abide by the threshold even with Stanton aboard" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/10). On Long Island, Carig & Lennon wrote as recently as Thursday morning, the Yankees' "mindfulness of luxury tax considerations rendered them non-factors in the Stanton sweepstakes." The Yankees in recent years have "broken from form," acquiring "young talent rather than trading it away for established stars." They sought to "transform themselves into a leaner operation payroll-wise, entrusting their fate to homegrown talents" such as Judge and C Gary Sanchez rather than "costly free-agent contracts that hampered their flexibility." But the Yankees "again shifted gears when the opportunity arose" (NEWSDAY, 12/10). ESPN.com's Andrew Marchand wrote the Yankees' main goal this offseason remains "resetting the luxury-tax number." There was "no way" Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner would "agree to make this trade without being able to fall under the tax" (ESPN.com, 12/9).

EVIL EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: THE ATHLETIC's Ken Rosenthal wrote the Yankees' "return to their Evil Empire ways will command attention, polarize the public [and] elevate the sport." So much for the "young, likable Baby Bombers" (THEATHLETIC.com, 12/9). ESPN.com's Marchand wrote, "The Evil Empire is back." The Yankees are the "undisputed center of the baseball universe once again." They are the "Golden State Warriors of baseball, just with more size" (ESPN.com, 12/9). In N.Y., Mike Mazzeo wrote so much for the Yankees "being considered 'likeable.'" The Stanton trade "would mean the Evil Empire is back" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/10). Also in N.Y., Kevin Kernan wrote the Yankees are "back where they belong, as public enemy No. 1." The club is "going to be loathed this season by everyone who is not" a Yankees fan (N.Y. POST, 12/10). NEWSDAY's Lennon wrote Yankees haters "immediately launched into the familiar Evil Empire refrain." Lennon: "Darth Vader gifs, dancing storm troopers. The whole spiel. The Bronx Baddies were back." However, there was "nothing sinister" about the trade, as it was just "smart business" (NEWSDAY, 12/10). In N.Y., John Harper wrote the Yankees are now "officially back to being the behemoth everyone loves to hate." Adding Stanton actually may "take a bit of the fun from Yankees fans as well, many of which seemed to enjoy seeing their team build a winner with a nucleus of emerging young stars rather than high-priced stars" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/10).

THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE: In N.Y., Tyler Kepner wrote the Yankees are "always fascinating because they inspire such extreme emotions." The sight of Stanton in pinstripes will "delight and nauseate many." But this is "who the Yankees are, always and forever -- big-game hunters." They will "inevitably spend themselves into some bad deals." They also have "always been keenly aware that their business model depends on must-see superstars" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/10). Also in N.Y., Mike Lupica wrote under the header, "Yankees Return To Vintage Big Business Ways With Stanton Trade" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/10). USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale wrote the Yankees are "back to being the Yankees again" (USATODAY.com, 12/9).

GOOD FOR BUSINESS: NEWSDAY's Lennon wrote the team's "bottom line" needs to be considered, as baseball "is entertainment." The Yankees' mission is to "sell tickets and attract eyeballs to YES." Lennon: "Remember the pure spectacle of Judge's every turn at the plate, beginning with each day's batting practice?" Adding Stanton "multiplies the must-see TV factor times two." Now every batting practice session will be like a "rematch of last July's riveting home run derby" (NEWSDAY, 12/10). MLB Network's Jon Heyman said the Yankees are "guaranteed to be exciting, guaranteed to get great ratings." Heyman: "They had their best ratings when they had A-Rod on the team, and they sunk a little bit without A-Rod. Now they obviously have Judge, Giancarlo -- they’re going to have fabulous ratings, they are going to be must-watch TV. Love them or hate them, it’s great for baseball.” MLB Network’s Dan O’Dowd said, “We are in the entertainment business. These guys, this is must-see TV.  I know from a scheduling standpoint, all the heads of business in every other club are going to be looking at the Yankees when they’re coming to town because they will have great, great attendance” (“MLB Tonight -- Winter Meetings,” MLB Network, 12/10). In New Jersey, Pete Caldera wrote the Stanton trade is going to "spike season ticket sales" and "send the YES Network ratings to new heights." Attendance "should soar on the road, too" (Bergen RECORD, 12/10).