Giancarlo Stanton could become the next star athlete in South Florida. At least that is what the Miami Marlins want. But if a long term deal cannot get done this offseason, MLB insider Peter Gammons believes Jeffrey Loria may be indirectly forced to sell the team.
Although there is no timeline, the Marlins are expected to meet with Stanton's agent at some point in November. Neither Stanton nor his agent have discussed the length or value of a contract that would be viewed as ideal, but Miami is rumored to want to lock their star right fielder up for six or seven years.
Several times throughout the season Stanton said he wanted to be a part of a team that would be able to win consistently, and the Marlins took a step in the right direction, winning 77 games in 2014 after losing 100 the season before. He at times has been linked to the Dodgers and Red Sox, and has publicly expressed his disappointment in the organization that drafted him over the past few years.
I know we hear "it isn’t about the money," but in Stanton’s case, if he is convinced that the Marlins are going to try to be consistent contenders like the Cardinals, Giants and franchises like that, he is going to listen. But that’s a long way off.
Considering the organization has been reportedly internally planning for a payroll increase that would follow a Stanton extension, the financial aspect hasn't been as widely discussed. Most of the conversations have revolved around Stanton's attitude towards his future, which few are truly aware of. He didn't say much over the summer, and was focused on bouncing back from a season-ending injury for the final part of the year.
In the context of Major League Baseball as a whole, if the Marlins can't get a deal done and decide to trade Stanton prematurely, Loria may be forced to sell the team, something South Florida baseball fans have supported since the fire sale trade with Toronto. But if a deal cannot get done, would Loria be wrong?
But they cannot trade him before he goes to free agency at the end of the 2016 season. If they do, owner Jeffrey Loria’s credibility will take such a further hit that he may have to sell for the Marlins to ever be accepted.
Despite the fact that nothing between the two sides has occurred, it seems unlikely that the Marlins would trade Stanton unless they knew for sure he was not going to stay in Miami long term. And while nobody wants to see Stanton walk, gaining something in return could prove to be valuable if he openly has no interest in remaining a Marlin.
Loria is already not viewed as a notably credible source. And trading Stanton without proper justification may be enough to force him to sell.