Giancarlo Stanton could go to St. Louis.
Or Los Angeles.
Or San Francisco.
Look up almost any team, couple it with Stanton’s name, and you’re bound to find either a rumor or a wishful article by fans and news media alike tying Stanton to their respective team.
How, then, to sift through the noise and determine where he actually might end up?
We know that he has a no-trade clause and can veto any deal Derek Jeter brings before him. This is important to remember, because if, say, the Toronto Blue Jays come up with the best package, it might be entirely irrelevant based upon Stanton’s opinion of maple bars (they’re delicious Giancarlo give them a try).
We also know that Stanton is tired of losing, and doesn’t want to stick around for a rebuild. That, coupled with the sure knowledge that Jeter has by now spoken to Stanton about trading him, would lead one to believe that Stanton would be open to being moved. To the right team.
We think we know that Stanton wants to play on one of the coasts, ostensibly to keep him closer to his swanky new Miami digs, or to get him closer to his original stomping grounds in Southern California.
Taking into account these variables in regard to the five teams currently most spoken of in the same sentence as Giancarlo Stanton, and taking these rumors and Stanton’s word himself very seriously, I think we can play a little game of elimination. Stanton doesn’t want to lose anymore. I think that safely eliminates the Philadelphia Phillies, who are beginning to gather up some nice pieces (who wouldn’t want Rhys Hoskins right now?) in their rebuild but are not quite there yet in terms of contention.
It would also seemingly eliminate the San Francisco Giants. Although it would put him back on the west coast, the Giants don’t really appear to be on the verge of contention again after losing almost 100 games this past season. Also, they might not have the all-important combination of money and prospects to get the deal done.
I don’t think there’s any doubt that Stanton would love to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team he rooted for growing up. That would put him squarely back in his hometown, with a team that was a maddening game seven loss away from World Series glory a mere 10 days ago. The real question is: Do the Dodgers want Stanton?
It doesn’t appear to be that way, with the NL Champions looking to reduce the game’s highest payroll prior to the start of next season, to help curtail excessive luxury taxes. Every team would love to have Stanton, money aside, but it’s hard to say that the Dodgers really need him, given their already talented lineup.
So where does that leave us? The Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals. Both teams have the need, the prospects and the money required to get the job done. Both clubs have established a firm tradition of winning (imagine saying that to a Red Sox fan circa 2003...time changes everything), so either would be sure to satisfy Stanton’s quest for post-season glory (or post-season anything, really).
Interestingly enough, average flight times between Boston and Miami and St. Louis and Miami aren’t really all that much different (give Boston about a twenty minute advantage), so if proximity to Stanton’s downtown condo were important to him, travel time shouldn’t be a factor. It seems to me, all things being equal, that Stanton would prefer to be on a coastal winner, and that would seem to give Boston an edge (though I am sure that as a human being with an innate desire to feel wanted, he could potentially be convinced by Jeter to accept a trade elsewhere).
Stanton may seem to hold all the cards but he’ll still have to play the hand he’s been dealt.