If you’re a General Manager in professional sports, being sentimental can get you fired. Of course, incoming Owner/Head of Baseball Operations/GM, Derek Jeter isn't about to dismiss himself anytime soon, especially if he’s actually making what is alleged to be $5 million per year, which is a joke. Still, it’s hard to imagine a Marlins future with Giancarlo Stanton in it.
Lately, there have been numerous articles, including one by our own Daniel Smith, highlighting the potential for the new ownership to cut payroll after officially taking over the Marlins. The obvious first step in that process is dealing MVP candidate Stanton.
The Marlins will be on the hook for $285 million for Stanton from 2018 to 2027. His 2018 pay jumps from $14.5 million this year to $25 million next. Stanton’s annual pay tops out in years 2023-2025 at $32 million per year before declining slightly in 2026 and 2027. By then, he will be 37 years old.
A handful of teams have expressed interest in trading for Stanton, including the Phillies, Cardinals, Rangers and Giants. So what could the Marlins expect in return for the MVP candidate and the leading home run hitter in baseball?
Last week, Nick Cafardo wrote a piece in the Boston Globe that suggested what it might take for the Red Sox to acquire Stanton from Miami. One trade example included a combination of outfielder Andrew Benintendi, 24 year-old starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, and 23 year-old pitching prospect Jalen Beeks or 41st-ranked MLB pitching prospect Jay Groome.
Just spitballing here, but let’s say the Marlins have to pick up 20 percent of Stanton’s pay over the next 10 years — they would save over $225 million. Now you have freed up additional dollars down the road to sign players like Marcell Ozuna, J.T. Realmuto or Justin Bour before they hit free agency in the future. If you look at it from that viewpoint, you might be trading Stanton for three to four quality players upfront, but the reality is you are able to sign even more players thanks to the money saved with the trade.
I realize this isn't a fun conversation to have, but it’s a necessary one for the future of the club under new ownership. Giancarlo has been an absolute superstar for this team since the four-time All Star burst onto the scene as a 20 year old in 2010. However, he can’t do it all on his own as this year has demonstrated. Stanton carried the team on his back to within 4.5 games of the final wild card spot last month, but as soon as he cooled down, the Marlins slid backwards. They’re now ten games back and losers of eight of their last ten games.
Unfortunately, if new ownership is intent on cutting salaries, Stanton will be the first to go in order make room for the future nucleus of the Marlins. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Jeter is as good an owner as he was a player. He needs to get maximum value for Stanton to start earning that five million annual salary he’s intent on paying himself.