Years of losing have soured Giancarlo Stanton on the notion of an upcoming Miami Marlins rebuild. Does that make a trade even more likely?
As Giancarlo Stanton chases a milestone 60th home run of the season in this afternoon’s final game of the 2017 campaign, uncertainty continues to swirl around the slugger and the Miami Marlins. The incoming ownership group will have numerous decisions on its plate, including what to do with the franchise icon.
Trade rumors and speculation followed Stanton throughout the summer nearly as often as he launched moonshots over the fence. With reports that the new owners want to slash payroll, it makes sense to explore a move of Stanton and his massive $325 million contract, as difficult as it would be to jettison the face of the club after an historic year.
With full no-trade rights, Stanton can decide for himself whether he’d like to stay in Miami or approve a deal elsewhere. His comments to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports suggest he’s more than willing to move on if the team is indeed headed for yet another lengthy reconstruction process.
“I don’t want to rebuild,” the right fielder said. “I’ve lost for seven years.” Considering all signs point to a transitional period for the Fish, it sounds like Stanton wouldn’t stand in the way of a trade, if not welcome it.
In terms of on-field performance, his stock has never been higher. He boasts a .280/.376/.633 slash line with a majors-leading 59 home runs and 131 RBI. His 7.0 fWAR ranks third in baseball, following Aaron Judge (8.2) and Jose Altuve (7.5). The NL MVP Award is a distinct possibility, but the most satisfying thing for Stanton might actually be that he’s stayed healthy, appearing in 158 games after averaging 115 over the previous five seasons.
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Nevertheless, that contract will be a beast to move, even with a handful of MLB clubs that can comfortably carry an expansive payroll. Stanton’s salary shoots up to $25 million next year and climbs past the $30 million mark in 2023. A team option could keep him under control all the way through 2028 and his age-38 season. Needless to say, that’s an enormous commitment even for a player of Stanton’s current caliber.
Derek Jeter, Bruce Sherman and company might take flak from some for letting go of a player who just had the season Stanton did. But the financial benefits of unloading his contract are too significant to ignore. Add the fact that Stanton himself isn’t enthused by the idea of a multi-year rebuilding process, and circumstances are shifting into place to make an eventual trade seem even more inevitable.
Which teams would be interested in such an undertaking? Heyman mentions some of the possibilities that have been thrown around over the past couple months, including the Phillies, Cardinals, Yankees and Red Sox. All have the payroll elasticity and big-market bona fides to make a deal work, though there would obviously still be many moving parts in play. Others could certainly emerge as well.
The Marlins organization as a whole will be one of the major storylines to watch this offseason. Stanton may not be the only prominent member of the club to hit the trade market, either.