ORLANDO – The St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants remain the perceived favorites in the Giancarlo Stanton Derby, but sources say that at least seven teams here have shown some level of interest in Stanton, who hit 59 home runs to lead MLB, may win the N.L. MVP and is the talk of the early winter as the best player on the block.
Marlins people are said to be “encouraged” by what they’ve heard in the early going here at the GM Meetings, as multiple new teams are at least investigating what it would take to add baseball’s biggest power threat. The Cardinals and Giants have been seen as the most aggressive pursuers this past summer of Stanton, along with the Phillies, but they are apparently not along now.
The Red Sox may have checked in but most people close to their situation see them as more interested in J.D. Martinez, or perhaps even Eric Hosmer, due to price. While the Yankees made a call in July, their determination to get under the luxury threshold of $197 million combined with the presence of right-handed hitting sluggers Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez makes them an unlikely trade partner for Miami.
The other teams aren’t known to this point, but word is that the Dodgers, another logical possibility, hadn’t checked in as of yet.
While the Marlins are thought to want to pare their payroll from $115 million to around $85-90 million – not easy with natural raises adding perhaps another $20 million – depending on the return, word is they are open to offsetting Stanton’s record deal to some degree. To get near their payroll goal, moving Stanton is almost a necessity.
“Stay tuned,” an executive with another team said. “They are serious about moving this deal.”
The Marlins are thought to most prefer pitchers back in return, but Marlins people are open to any sort of talent, as they want to bolster an overall depth issue – and cut expense.
Marlins GM Michael Hill declined to say which teams might be involved in the proceedings, or much of anything else related to Stanton, either.
The Cardinals are believed to be one of the preferred trade partners for Miami since they are well stocked with prospects, particularly pitchers. The Giants don’t have prospects to match the Cardinals.
But Stanton himself will eventually have the ultimate say in where he goes since his contract, which has $295 million to go over 10 years, contains a full no-trade clause. Folks around the team suggest Stanton most wants to go to a winning team, and though a couple people hinted that he might prefer the West Coast, a Marlins person suggested that wasn’t necessarily the case. The Phillies are not believed to be a preferred destination of Stanton’s, though the slugger has not said a word about his preference publicly.
The Marlins are also talking to teams about star second baseman Dee Gordon and also third baseman Martin Prado, and perhaps some relievers, as they endeavor to cut payroll and rebuild for the future.