An already awkward situation for the Miami Marlins became even more so on Thursday. Giancarlo Stanton, the slugging outfielder who blasted 59 home runs in 2017, was named the franchise’s first ever MVP in a close vote over Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto.
Now the focus goes right back to what appears to be the inevitable. In the coming months, weeks and perhaps even days, the Marlins new ownership group led by Derek Jeter is going to trade Stanton for the best possible return package. The trade will have to earn Stanton’s seal of approval to be completed, but conversations are already reportedly intensifying to the point where a deal almost certainly will be agreed upon and presented to Stanton.
It’s an odd predicament for all parties involved. Overall, only two reigning MVPs have ever been traded. The first The first was Eddie Collins, whose contract was sold from the Philadelphia Athletics to the Chicago White Sox for $50,000 in 1914. The most recent occurred in 2003, when Alex Rodriguez was traded from the Texas Rangers to the New York Yankees.
Looking to get out from under the remainder of A-Rod’s 10-year, $250 million contract signed before the 2001 season, the Rangers traded him to New York for Alfonso Soriano and Joaquin Arias. While there, Rodriguez would win two more MVPs and a World Series while teaming up with Jeter.
Like the Rangers, the Marlins are looking to escape the clutches of a massive contract that threatens to drain their resources. Stanton will be entering year four of a 13-year, $325 million contract that was agreed to under Jeffrey Loria’s ownership. Stanton has an opt-out after the 2020 season, but Jeter’s group isn’t waiting around for that decision. They want to mold the organization within their vision, and their vision doesn’t include paying one player in upwards of $25 million per season.
Ironically, and perhaps also fittingly, the Yankees are reportedly one of several teams to have inquired on Stanton. It would be a total Yankees move to swoop in again and absorb a contract like they did with Rodriguez 14 years ago. Given the Jeter connection and the potential of pairing Stanton with Aaron Judge, that’s a storyline that could reach epic proportions.
The possibility of Stanton to the Red Sox would be interesting too, especially with Jeter being one of the figureheads behind a move that would strengthen the Yankees biggest rival.
There’s also still a chance Stanton goes nowhere. While seemingly remote on the surface, the Marlins asking price is reportedly “shockingly high.” If they don’t budge, Stanton could easily be back next season. Take this as a reminder that when it comes to baseball trades, nothing should be assumed. It’s never over until it’s over.
For Stanton, that means a lot of waiting, a lot of thinking and a lot of planning.
Stanton on trade rumors: "It's an interesting feeling and situation for me. We're going to try to figure out a plan."
— clarkspencer (@clarkspencer) November 17, 2017
Hopefully he’s able to put that off until Friday. For one day anyway, the MVP announcement should give Stanton and Marlins’ loyalists a much-needed distraction from reality.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – – –