Shohei Otani may be the most exciting free agent of this baseball offseason, but Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins is the most exciting trade possibility. With the Marlins trying to cut their payroll down to $90 million this offseason, Stanton and the nearly $300 million remaining on his contract is at the top of their “must-trade” list.
The yearly general manager meetings started on Monday, and with a few days to chat and talk deals with other clubs, how are the Marlins doing so far in their efforts to trade The Mighty Giancarlo Stanton?
Some rival execs view the Marlins' prospect asking price for Giancarlo Stanton as shockingly high and somewhat out of touch with reality, and not discounted nearly enough given the whopping $295 million he's owed (with the forthcoming out clause after the 2020 season).
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 14, 2017
So not that great, then. “Shockingly high” aren’t words you want to hear from someone you’re trying to make a deal with.
That seems pretty discouraging, but it’s important to note that a lot of this can be optics and posturing. It’s how negotiations work. The Marlins are starting with their ideal, dreamworld package for Stanton, and they can negotiate down from there. Other teams are leaking to the media that the Marlins’ price is astronomical in the hope that the Marlins will get scared and lower the price out of the gate. The Marlins want to get as much as possible, and other teams want to give up as little as possible.
What we don’t know is the makeup of that “shockingly high” asking price. Are they asking for a huge amount of salary relief and prospects? A team isn’t going to take on a massive portion of Stanton’s enormous contract and also give up several possible future impactful players, especially since Stanton has an opt-out coming in two years.
That opt-out after the 2019 season is what’s really throwing a wrench into the works. Teams are essentially trying to trade for two guaranteed years of Stanton, with a possible option of more depending on what he wants to do. Two years of Stanton is better than two years from many other players, but it comes with a lot of risk. He had a fantastic 2017, but he spent big chunks of 2016 and 2015 injured, and there’s no guarantee that won’t happen again.
All of this may end up being completely moot, though. The Marlins can create any deal they want with whatever team they want, but it doesn’t matter unless Stanton himself wants to go there. As part of his giant contract, Stanton has full no-trade protection, meaning he can turn down any deal the Marlins present to him simply because he doesn’t want to play there.
Now the big question: what are the teams that Stanton has to choose from? Thus far, there are four in the mix.
Sources: In Giancarlo Stanton trade talks, #Marlins have had preliminary communication with #RedSox, #STLCards, #SFGiants, #Phillies. Talks expected to intensify at GM Meetings next week. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 11, 2017
The St. Louis Cardinals are interested, because missing the playoffs two years in a row is definitely not part of The Cardinal Way. The San Francisco Giants are also rumored to be serious about Stanton, with the team needing a major shot in the arm if they’re to avoid a slow slide to a rebuild. The Philadelphia Phillies have been connected to Stanton for years, though trading for him now makes little-to-no sense for a team that’s still at least two years away from contending. The Boston Red Sox have emerged as suitors as well, and at least that rumor makes sense: the Red Sox hit the fewest homers in all of baseball last season, and adding Stanton would fix that quickly.
There are four possible landing spots, but we have no idea which one Stanton prefers, if any. Stanton himself has said nothing about his preferences, and probably won’t in the future. The Miami Herald reported that Stanton wants to play for a winner, which knocks the Phillies out of contention (if they were ever really there to begin with). Beyond that, there’s nothing concrete.
In the end, it’ll be Stanton’s choice. It’s hard to imagine the Marlins passing up the chance to trade him, especially since there aren’t a lot of other options to shear their payroll. They’ll pick a team and hope Stanton wants to go there. If he doesn’t, the Marlins are out of luck, and when opening day 2018 comes along the Marlins team taking the field might be Giancarlo Stanton and eight mannequins.
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