What if the New York Yankees traded for Yelich instead of Stanton?

Giancarlo Stanton, New York Yankees. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Giancarlo Stanton, New York Yankees. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

In 2017, the New York Yankees traded for Giancarlo Stanton in a trade that shocked the baseball world, but what if they got Christian Yelich instead?

Back in December of 2017, the New York Yankees pulled off one of the most shocking trades in recent MLB history. They acquired the reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton in exchange for Starlin Castro and two lower-level prospects.

At the time of the trade, it looked like the Yankees hit the lottery with the trade, and Yankee fans everywhere were drooling over the possible lineup the Yankees could have with Aaron Judge and Stanton on the same team.

Soon after the Yankees traded for Stanton, the Marlins continued to trade away their star players, sending Christian Yelich to the Brewers for four players.

Looking back to 2017, if you gave Yankee fans a choice to trade for Stanton or trade for Yelich, almost all Yankee fans would have picked Stanton. He just came off one of the best seasons in recent years, hitting .281 with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs, and won the NL MVP to put the cherry on top.

Now if we look back at the trade a lot of Yankee fans wonder, what if the Yankees had traded for Yelich instead of Stanton?

In 2018, Stanton’s first season with the Yankees, he had a very productive year, hitting .266 with 38 home runs and 100 RBIs. The key was that he played 158 games that season.

The scrutiny from Yankee fans began in the 2018 postseason when Stanton hit 4 for 18 against the Red Sox in the ALDS. He didn’t record a home run or an RBI in that series. In the 2019 season, Stanton only played in 18 regular-season games due to a vast number of injuries. He then proceeded to play in only five postseason games.

In this shortened 2020 season, Stanton got off to a hot start but then got injured again, only playing in 19 games so far. The player the Yankees could have traded for in Christian Yelich has been a top-three baseball player over the last few seasons.

In his first year with Milwaukee, Yelich hit .326 with 36 home runs and 110 RBIs while winning the NL MVP award. In 2019, Yelich followed it up by hitting .329 with 44 home runs and 97 RBIs. Along with the hitting stats, Yelich is a better outfielder than Stanton, as Stanton is primarily a DH for the Yankees when healthy.

The biggest difference between these two players is their health. While Yelich has dealt with some injuries of his own, he seems to be on the field a lot more than Stanton. Yankee fans are beginning to get tired of seeing Stanton’s name show up more on the IL than on the lineup card.

It’s easy to look back now and wish the Yankees traded for Yelich instead of Stanton, but at the time it seemed like the better move. Still, it’s hard not to imagine what the Yankees could have been with Yelich in their lineup.

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Yelich would have been an anchor and given that he’s a lefty, his power numbers only would have gone up in Yankee Stadium with their short porch.

A possible lineup for the Yankees in 2020 if they traded for Yelich instead of Stanton:

DJ LeMahieu 2B
Aaron Judge RF
Christian Yelich LF/DH
Gleyber Torres SS
Luke Voit 1B
Aaron Hicks CF
Gio Urshela 3B
Gary Sanchez C
Mike Tauchman LF/DH

That is a terrifying lineup, that Yankee fans would have loved to see.

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Nonetheless, the Yankees have Giancarlo Stanton and now that he’s healthy again, hopefully, he can stay that way.