Giancarlo Stanton caught the attention of the baseball world on Monday when a Yahoo! Sports article quoted Miam's star right fielder expressing his disappointment in the organization's unsuccessful history.
The question was whether the events of this season had altered his top-down view of the organization. He'd raised his eyes, thinking.
"Five months," he said, "doesn't change five years."
Of all the Marlins teams Stanton has played on, the 2014 squad, with postseason hopes still alive, has been the most competitive. In the past, Miami has struggled to find an ideal core to complement a pitching staff that only in recent years has become notably young and productive. The Marlins' young rotation and productive lineup have to this point led to an average year.
While Stanton has made it clear he wants to be part of a team that wins consistently, the Marlins may be in a position do to that moving forward. Acknowledging both his past experiences and future options, Stanton said the statement was taken out of context, and that it had nothing to do with his future in Miami.
Before Wednesday night's series finale against the Angels, Stanton clarified what he meant. In no way was it a cryptic code for his desire to play elsewhere at the first opportunity.
"There is no answer to what my future is," Stanton said. "If I say, 'I don't know,' then it's 'He's out.' If I say anything else, 'He's in.' That's the basis of it…It's not completely positive because of the past. There is no good. There is no bad. We're here. We're in a good spot. There's where we are now. There is no, 'Am I staying forever, am I leaving forever?' There is no answer to that."
There doesn't have to be an immediate answer with regard to Stanton, considering the Marlins have made it clear they have no issue taking Stanton to free agency without a long term contract extension. An extension, though, would put the Marlins in a position to build around a core that has improved in 2014.
With it likely being up to him, Stanton may eventually have to choose between staying in Miami or joining teams such as the Dodgers or Red Sox, who have proven they can compete consistently. And while he does not want to discuss his contract situation, the fact that he speaks negatively of the last few years could hurt Miami's chances.
Stanton has seen a fire sale and several young starters fail, but now has also had the opportunity to watch top prospects grow. The Marlins are encouraged by their current performance coming off of a 100 loss season, and while they may struggle in 2015, with Stanton healthy and Jose Fernandez returning, the team may be even better.
Stanton has emerged as one of baseball's best young players, and he deserves to be on a winning team while in his prime. Front office instability has made it difficult to predict the club's future, although General Manager Dan Jennings did acquire Jarred Cosart before the non-waiver trade deadline partially to try and prove to Stanton the organization is serious about winning.
Considering the Marlins have yet to make Stanton an offer he has considered, he has no reason to be incredibly optimistic. And Stanton's true thought process may not be revealed until the offseason, when Miami will try and keep him in South Florida long term.