As offseasons go, this had been a slow one, with none of the top free agents finding new homes and only a couple of trades with any long-term significance. A big part of that reason was this month's big fantasy drama: the Quest for Giancarlo Stanton. After more than a week of the Cardinals and Giants unsuccessfully trying to persuade the reigning NL MVP to sanctify arrangements with the Marlins, the Yankees swept in at the last second and finally got the thumbs-up.
We talked a lot about Stanton's possible new homes in our feature late last month discussing the benefits and hurdles to a Stanton acquisition for 10 teams, including the Giants, Cardinals and Yankees.
New York's challenge coming into this trade was -- unusually for the Yankees -- a payroll issue. The team would very much like to get below the luxury-tax threshold for a year because of some craggy rules in the collective bargaining agreement that are too long to go into here. However, the Yankees figured out how to avoid this obstacle by sending Starlin Castro and his $10 million 2018 salary to Miami, resulting in just a $15 million boost to the payroll next season. This leaves the Yankees some room to do other things this offseason.