Miami Marlins President David Samson told the Miami Herald what the entire organization made clear as the season came to end: Giancarlo Stanton will be a Marlin in 2015, regardless of whether he reaches an agreement on a longterm deal this offseason or not.
Samson told The Herald he is excited to sit down with Stanton and his agent and begin the process of discussing details of a possible extension.
While the Marlins will also look to upgrade other positions, Samson echoed what General Manager Dan Jennings and President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill said with regard to to the future of Stanton. Due for another raise, Stanton made it clear the Marlins would need to prove they can win consistently in order to keep him. And Miami responded by winning 77 games, 15 more than they did in 2013.
Stanton is coming off of a 37 home run, 105 RBI season which abruptly came to an end when he was hit by a Mike Fiers' fastball in Milwaukee. The contract he will require is unclear, but the Marlins are reportedly confident they can get a deal done.
Miami's staff was pleased with the offensive improvement, but the organization is likely going to look to add offense at the first base and catcher positions specifically. Protecting Stanton in the lineup was a priority before the start of the season, and will rightfully be one again this winter. Casey McGehee had a hot first half before slowing things down as the season concluded, but a deeper lineup may take the pressure off of Stanton and McGehee.
The Marlins will have a payroll around $60 million in 2015, which gives the organization the opportunity to try and retain and then build around Stanton.
To do that, the Marlins are prepared to increase payroll, going from $44 million in 2013 to about $60 million next year. A sizable percentage of that salary bump will be the direct result of raises given to existing players and, in particular, Stanton.
With their pleasure with Stanton's production comes the Marlins' willingness to pay him. But if Stanton and his agent demand too much, 2015 could be his last season in Miami.
The organization has adopted a positive mindset with regard to Stanton, and is excited to prove to him they can win consistently. Whether Stanton buys into it will be determined. But the Marlins are optimistic knowing Stanton will be in right field for at least another season.