It wasn’t too long ago that New York was bustling with love for the “Japanese Bath Ruth,” Shohei Ohtani, and who could blame them right? Easily doubling as the prize free agent and best prospect, the Yankees were widely viewed as the favorite to land him.
Then, a funny thing happened. Ohtani listened respectfully to the Yankees’ pitch (amongst others), and afterward, narrowed his list of teams down to seven — none of which were the New York Yankees.
Yankees fans were not pleased. The New York Daily News (now infamously) threw Ohtani on their front page calling him a chicken. Bomber fans took to twitter to throw him under the bus for the audacity of not wanting to be in black and white pinstripes.
All in all, it was a highly enjoyable viewing experience, would see again. So it was with particular glee that I discovered we were going to be treated to a sequel so soon after the original.
Cardinals and Giants not on Stanton's approval. Unclear if either or both teams have been told anything to this point.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) December 8, 2017
But...we were told that these two teams were the finalists! Who could Stanton possibly —
Now told Stanton will approve :— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) December 8, 2017
Predictably, as soon as it appeared that Stanton was spurning the Cardinals, redbird fans flocked to social media to express their disdain for the reigning MVP.
I’m embarrassed as a @Cardinals fan with Stanton. We are a great franchise and Stanton has never been to the playoffs. He should beg us.— todddrake (@todddrake) December 8, 2017
What is so wrong with st. Louis that Stanton doesn't want to come play for the Cardinals? #STLCards— Phillip Johnson (@Philjohnson_24) December 8, 2017
So Stanton will now accept a trade to the #Yankees⚾️ #Astros ⚾️ #Cubs ⚾️or the #Dodgers⚾️ ... So why yank the chains of the #Cardinals & #SFGiants & expose potential players in deals for nothing ... Why not say this from day 1 ? Step down from the Pedestal #CheckTheEgo— Shaun ⚾️ ⚾️ (@TeamLG3) December 8, 2017
Mmm, those tears taste soooooo good, Scott Tenorman.
The thing is, nobody feels bad for the St. Louis Cardinals (or the relatively recently, wildly successful San Francisco Giants). They will both be fine. Hell, they may even both still end up with a Marlins outfielder at the end of the day (just not plan A).
Back to the crux of the article here, though. While Ohtani’s list of seven teams appears on it’s surface to at least be partially motivated by the desire to be a franchise savior, the goal of Stanton’s comparatively abbreviated list is much clearer: He wants to play for a winner.
Neither the Cardinals or the Giants made the postseason last year, and while it’s not a huge stretch of imagination to see either team make it back in 2018, the Astros, Dodgers, Cubs and Yankees all made it to the League Championship Series last year and seem poised to be highly competitive again, with or without Stanton.
The interesting thing here, to me, is that while the market has seemingly expanded because Stanton would accept a trade to any of these four teams, it may have in fact just shrunken considerably. Bear with me here.
The Dodgers, Yankees and Astros have all been on the periphery of the Stanton sweepstakes since the beginning. They’ve all checked in, doing due dilligence when a MVP is on the marketplace, but none of those teams had gone the distance that the Giants and Cardinals had. Ditto the Chicago Cubs, a team that until up to this point had been almost entirely absent from the conversation.
I think you could say that all of them would be interested “under the right circumstances.” The big question for Miami’s front office, now, is if they can convince one of those teams to take on substantial salary obligations.
If they can’t...then, surprise! Giancarlo Stanton might not be traded after all. The Marlins aren’t going to dump their superstar just because. If they can’t get the majority of that contract paid down, they’re not going to see the point in moving him.
Craig Mish mentioned that people are underselling how much Stanton wants to win. I think people are underselling how much Stanton likes being in Miami. From his perspective, if the Marlins can negotiate a deal that sends him to a big-time winner, great, but if not, well, he’ll just keep swinging that big stick from the comfy confines of the place he’s been content to call home the last seven plus years.
I know it’s been widely reported that he doesn’t want to go through another rebuild and I believe that to be true, but he’s also got that opt-out sitting in his back pocket if he needs to escape in a couple of years.
Giancarlo Stanton appears to be woken to the fact that he has all of the power in this situation, and if you, the fan, holds that against him, well, that’s on you.
We all know that Stanton knows what to do with power.
He uses it.