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Giancarlo Stanton's extension opens up significant budget room for Marlins

Even if the Marlins do not bump their payroll, the structure of Giancarlo Stanton's contract at least opens room for an additional move in free agency.

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The last time we discussed Giancarlo Stanton's new contract, we did not have the details of the salary breakdown for his deal. But now that those salary details have been revealed, we find that the Miami Marlins had backloaded the contract in an unexpected fashion. As is customary for the Marlins, the team backloaded the deal, but this time it was at Stanton's request, as it would allow Miami more payroll room to try and fit pieces around Stanton earlier in his run with the team.

Just how much payroll room did Miami open up? The last time we discussed the team's payroll and budget, we said that Miami would have just under $3 million available to them if they did not budge from that $60 million target payroll for next season. The breakdown was as such:

Type Salary ($mil)
Guaranteed contracts 15.6
Arbitration 33.3
Pre-arbitration 8.9
Total 57.8

Now the deals have switched around a bit.

Type Salary ($mil)
Guaranteed contracts 22.1
Arbitration 20.3
Pre-arbitration 8.9
Total 51.3

Stanton is slated to make the same $6.5 million that he made last season with Miami. This opens up $6.5 million in payroll space for the Fish, giving them closer to $8.7 million to work with in terms of space to add contracts. That is significant enough that, if you stretch it by a few million or backload a free agent contract, you could look at a middle-tier addition like Jed Lowrie, Chase Headley, or Brandon McCarthy as a possibility.

But it seems as though the Marlins are clamoring for bigger names. The James Shields rumors have resurfaced, as the Marlins are again looking at starting pitchers despite having known depth at the position. The Fish want a front-line starter, but Shields would cost them closer to $18 million a season (MLB Trade Rumors projected a five-year, $96 million contract), and Shields's numbers have slowly been on the decline. Even if you backload the first year, you would suspect Shields would make $13 million in that firrst year, which at least stretches the Marlins payroll a bit more.

But the suspicion right now, based on the rumors regarding Shields and Adam LaRoche, is that the Marlins are not staying in line with a $60 million or so payroll. Right now, it would not surprise anyone to see Miami open up with one or two new names on the roster and a payroll of closer to $80 million, though no official numbers have been released by any sources. With the team pursuing talent in a seemingly win-now fashion, payroll may become less of a concern.

Stanton's contract helps that to a degree. He is slated to make just $30 million in his first three seasons, which includes one free agent year. This is far less than what he would have made in the free agent market and arbitration. Compared to our expected contract structure, Stanton's actual deal opens up about $27 million in payroll stretched over three years. Those savings are bigger in the second and third years of the contract, meaning they open up significant potential space for long-term deals now.

This is also especially true if the Marlins follow up on their plan to try and extend young talent already on the roster. The concept of extending Adeiny Hechavarria is nonsensical, but the thought of offering Christian Yelich a deal this offseason would be an excellent move. Yelich figures to make the next-most amount of money among position players on this team once arbitration rolls around, so locking him up earlier is a wise payroll move that could help save dollars to open up for longer-term deals like a potential Shields contract.

Miami has seemingly made a sudden U-turn with expectations to win coming soon. The Stanton has been a game-changer in more than a few ways, so expect Miami to remain active in the Hot Stove going forward.