The San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies have all recently called the Miami Marlins with interest in star slugger Giancarlo Stanton. But, this development is old news, as “interest” doesn’t necessarily mean “serious” inquiry.
Not so fast.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that the Giants have serious interest in Stanton, and are expressing the most interest out of any team in baseball right now, per a high-ranking Marlins’ executive.
Stanton is hitting .296 with 50 homers, 108 RBI and a 1.059 OPS, including 29 homers in his last 46 games. He’s become a must-see player for fans and media every time he comes to the plate. With his incredible performance, the Marlins find themselves 4.5 games back of the Colorado Rockies for the second wild-card spot. Despite the concerns that lie for the Marlins — starting pitching is a noticeable one — Stanton has lifted this team into contention.
If Stanton is traded, it won’t be until the offseason. However, major obstacles lie ahead for a potential blockbuster deal. Stanton’s 13-year contract gives him a full no-trade clause, and Nightengale notes that no teams have shown a willingness to absorb the remaining 10 years and $295 million on Stanton’s contract beyond the 2017 season.
Trading Stanton seems far-fetched and dumbfounding. Aside from the team’s recent success, Stanton is the main reason why fans come to the ballpark. For those who may question that, Adeiny Hechavarria confirmed it with Nightengale.
“Just about everybody that goes to the ballpark goes just to see him,’’ says Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who was jettisoned from the Marlins on June 26 to save his $3.5 million salary. “Everyone wants to see him play.
In addition, the Giants’ minor league system is underwhelming. Tyler Beede entered the year as the top pitching prospect in San Francisco’s minor league ranks, but he’s pitched poorly in Triple-A this year, raising questions about how high his ceiling really is. Right-hander Joan Gregorio posted a 3.04 ERA in 74 Triple-A innings but saw his season end in early July due to a PED suspension.
The Marlins’ preference under the Bruce Sherman/Derek Jeter-led ownership group is to keep the payroll around $100 million, according to Nightengale. Stanton’s salary will balloon to $25 million next season. He’ll be paid $26 million in both 2019 and 2020, after which he can opt out of the remaining seven years of the deal. Except, there’s a good chance he won’t. No one walks away from that kind of money.
The Marlins’ preference to keep the payroll around $100 million is a prideful pill that must be swallowed. Swapping a package of prospects and/or good players who may or may not pan out is something unpredictable — it’s not going to attract the fans to the ballpark.
Watching Giancarlo Stanton flourish as one of the best hitters in baseball is the only thing that can be predicted — something the entire city of Miami is proud of.