Just when it seemed like there wouldn't be anything else to talk about with regard to Giancarlo Stanton, the Miami Marlins found something new. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported in the middle of last week that the Marlins are "fully committed" to signing their star right fielder long term, but that the club would not speak about the process publicly. And while their were no new details about the negotiation process included, Hill told ESPN's Jim Bowden on Sunday the organization wants Stanton locked up before the Winter Meetings.
Michael Hill just told us their goal is to get Giancarlo Stanton signed to a long term contract by the Winter Meetings…Sirius 209 XM 89— Jim Bowden (@JimBowden_ESPN) November 2, 2014
Miami has said several time since the middle of the 2014 season that the club's primary goal this offseason was to sign Stanton to a long-term contract. However, neither Hill nor General Manager Dan Jennings have been specific with the duration or worth of a proposed contract. MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reported in October that the Marlins would likely begin speaking to Stanton's agent in November, and Hill's comments supported that.
Whereas in the past the Marlins have immediately tried to make signings and trades that would give them depth and strengthen the roster, this offseason a lot may not get done until Stanton is signed. If the Marlins feel as if Stanton is being stubborn or doesn't want to remain in South Florida, they may shift their attention elsewhere.
Stanton has consistently said he wants to be a part of a winning team, and the Marlins were able to improve by 15 wins last season. He has not forgiven them for what he felt was a premature fire sale trade, though, and feels the organization could have done more to put a winning product on the field on a year to year basis.
Miami's biggest offensive contributor posted a .288/.395/.555 batting line to complement 37 home runs and 105 RBIs. He was, before being hit by a pitch in Milwaukee, among the favorites to win the National League MVP award, and after appearing in 145 games appears to be healthy heading into the offseason.
Considering Stanton had such specific problems in the past, getting a deal done by December may be a challenge. The Marlins have, to this point, proven they are growing, but still have positions to improve on the roster. If conversations do stall, it could be for the Marlins to make other moves in order to prove to Stanton they are committed to winning.
At last year's Winter Meetings and then the trade deadline last July, Stanton's name has come up frequently. Signing Stanton before this year's meetings would ensure they would not have to waste time explaining that he is unavailable. Even if a deal cannot get done, the Marlins said Stanton will be on the roster in 2015.
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