The rumored mega-contract between the Miami Marlins and Giancarlo Stanton is finally official. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that a deal was complete early in the morning. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reported mid-afternoon that a deal was final. Finally, Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald quoted owner Jeffrey Loria himself, who confirmed the deal.
"A landmark day. It means everything for the franchise," Loria told the Miami Herald over the phone. "We have a face of the franchise for the next 13 years."
"I expect him to be a Marlin for the next 13 years. We are going to be surrounding him, we already started to surround him, with All-Star caliber players, and there will be more."
Stanton was rumored to be close to signing a deal that eventually came out to almost exactly what Marlins fans were expecting. Stanton's contract runs 13 years, but has an opt-out clause after the 2020 season, when Stanton can re-enter the free agent market at age 31. The deal also contains a complete no-trade clause for the Marlins, meaning the Fish will have to get any permission from Stanton to decide if an eventual trade will be made.
This deal gives the Marlins six seasons of Stanton's complete prime, and allows Stanton to leave and re-enter the market for an even larger contract after his best seasons are almost done. It is a win for Stanton, who will make an average of almost $27 million per year likely for the three free agent seasons he gives to Miami, and then can pick up a Robinson Cano-like 10-year pact if he remains a star player. For the Marlins, it is a benefit as well. it gives Stanton's prime to them, when he will most likely be able to exceed or at least match the value of his deal, while likely excusing him of his decline years unless the team renegotiates after the inevitable opt-out.
Miami will now be tasked with building a franchise around Stanton, but admittedly the club already has a few things in place. The presence of players like Jose Fernandez, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna undoubtedly affected Stanton's thoughts about committing six more years to Miami. And Loria said that the franchise is ready to build its new, established centerpiece.
"We can afford it," Loria said. "We are going to surround him with an improved lineup as well. We need another bat in this lineup that can help him out."
It remains to be seen how well the franchise will perform that task, but the fact that the team completed the first step of our Marlins Offseason Plan is a huge benefit. The Marlins will have to spend more money to create a competitive franchise, but this may be a sign towards the better with the team spending competitive dollars to keep one of the top players in baseball.
Stay tuned to Fish Stripes for more on the signing!