There’s a strong possibility that the Miami Marlins trade Giancarlo Stanton this offseason. However, it bears repeating: nothing gets done without his approval. Stanton would need to waive his no-trade clause to complete any deal, so that complicates the negotiations for Miami’s front office.
What other teams is the reigning NL MVP willing to play for? And which of them have the motivation and resources to make a competitive offer?
After several weeks of slow progress, Stanton and his representatives seem to be finally identifying their ideal landing spots. MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi hears that the Marlins received a wish list of desirable trade partners, headlined by the Los Angeles Dodgers:
Sources: Giancarlo Stanton’s camp has given #Marlins a list of teams to which he would accept trades. #Dodgers are among them. To this point, Stanton has not formally rejected any trades. @MLB @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 27, 2017
Not surprising at all. Stanton was born and raised in Southern California, and he’s been very clear over the years that he’d welcome a return to the region. Combine the Dodgers’ location with the organization’s depth and recent success, they figure to be his No. 1 destination.
Still, that leaves plenty of possibilities for the remaining spots on Stanton’s list. To narrow them down, let’s go through five teams who are obviously not in the mix. They would save us all some time by backing away from the bidding and getting their holiday shopping done elsewhere.
From Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to Jim Leyland and Anibal Sanchez, fans have grown sick of seeing their former Fish wearing the old english “D” on their heads.
Good news: there’s no chance of losing Stanton to the same fate.
In the early stages of a rebuilding process, the Tigers are looking for “bargains” on the free-agent and trade markets. Dominant as Stanton has been for most of his career, 10 years and $295 million of contract guarantees disqualifies him from their search.
Tampa Bay Rays
Because the Marlins and Rays are interleague rivals (meeting each other every season), Stanton has a decent understanding of what Tropicana Field offers. What reasons does he have for choosing it as a home ballpark if given any alternatives?
In 11 career games there, Stanton owns a .222/.286/.400 batting line with only one home run. Those results would improve over a larger sample size, but one perk of leaving Miami ought to be settling into a more hitter-friendly environment. The Trop consistently suppresses long balls.
That’s before even worrying about the effects of the artificial playing surface. Lower-body injuries—specifically to his knee and hamstring—have sidelined Stanton in previous years. Why increase the risk of losing chunks of his prime to the same sort of physical setbacks?
And that’s without even mentioning Tampa Bay’s payroll constraints. Until a new stadium actually comes to fruition or the Rays create additional revenue streams, it’s difficult to imagine how they could surround him with enough talent to contend.
A trade here would bring Stanton back to the west coast. He loves the west coast!
It’s also the only franchise with a longer active postseason drought—16 years and counting—than the Marlins. And every time the Mariners fall short of that goal, general manager Jerry Dipoto makes significant changes.
Also consider that the M’s were betrayed by their pitching staff last season. They cycled through 17 different starters and allowed a franchise-record 237 home runs. Stanton has criticized Miami’s front office for not doing enough to address its own pitching struggles, even citing that as a reason it might be time to go in a different direction.
Several of the disadvantages working against the Rays apply here.
The Brewers opened 2017 with the lowest payroll in Major League Baseball, only adding to it late in the summer when their club of misfits and journeymen overachieved. They recently expressed interest in accomplished, free-agent starting pitchers and wouldn’t necessarily have the funds to continue those pursuits while absorbing most of Stanton’s contract.
The NL MVP has always been awful at Miller Park (.169/.289/.325, 3 HR in 97 PA). Poor performance there this past year made a dent in his overall numbers and nearly cost him the award. Who could blame him for holding a negative opinion of the place?
Not to pile on, but the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that Milwaukee is by far the smallest “Metropolitan Statistical Area” to host an MLB team (h/t Marquette University Law School). He’s craving a broader platform.
New York Mets
On the opposite end of that spectrum, there’s New York. Specifically, Citi Field, one of Stanton’s favorite venues. He established a new record for the ballpark with a home run in 2015, then broke that record the following season.
The endorsement opportunities are tempting. The existing roster has real upside (coming off a miserable, injury-riddled campaign).
Of course, we’re talking about the Mets. They’ll be second-class citizens in the Big Apple as long as the Yankees have World Series potential. Similarly, Stanton would be a smaller attraction than Aaron Judge, both literally and figuratively.
After being saddled with incompetent ownership throughout his entire career, the Wilpon family is just more of the same. They find a way to embarrass their team, even when things are going well.
With the leverage to influence his future, Stanton owes it to himself to find relief from that kind of circus.