Giancarlo Stanton’s name has not come up in any trade talks yet – but that may only be because current ownership owner understands his Marlins fate will be left up a new owner (with Stanton’s considerable input since he has a full no-trade provision in his record $325-million contract).
There’s been significant and understandable speculation on the part of rival teams about Stanton’s future in Miami since his record deal looks especially steep considering the team’s low revenues and a strong belief that a new owner may want to re-set the course of their team in light of those revenues and current losses (yes, people who have seen the books say the Marlins weren’t fudging when they claimed significant annual losses).
The Marlins are generally believed to be “in limbo” regarding trades while they assess the possibility they could work their way back into the race and await the Miami All-Star celebration at the moment, but until recent speculation on the part of rivals, the assumption has been that the Marlins will look to trade only marketable, much lower-priced veterans such as no-hit man Edinson Volquez, plus Dan Straily, A.J. Ramos, Brad Ziegler, Junichi Tazawa and others, but commissioner Rob Manfred’s recent statement that a sale could be in place before the end of July (and by definition before the trade deadline) seems to suggest its possible a prospective new owner could look to make bigger trades involving bigger contracts – and Stanton’s is the biggest in baseball.
Marlins people aren’t commenting on trade talks, and Stanton’s name isn’t coming up in trade talks yet according to sources, but one person with knowledge of the sale talks says on the issue of Stanton and his record deal: “It matters what the new owners want to do.”
Rivals confirm the Marlins have “shown no inclination” to trade Stanton to this point. But it could be a whole new ballgame once a new owner takers over –whether that be Derek Jeter, the Tagg Romney-Tom Glavine group or someone else (yes, there’s said to be at least a third interested party.)
Of course, it would be quite an undertaking to trade Stanton, especially with weeks or days to go before the deadline (assuming a sale even is completed by then). And Stanton also has that full no-trade, though while sources say he has not requested a trade with the team that’s off to a slow start (they have gotten much hotter only lately, winning 13 of 19), Stanton’s greatest concern remains winning and people close to him say he was enthralled by the taste of winning he got with Team USA’s WBC championship, which may or may not mean he’d at least consider a trade that’s brought to him.
If the Marlins aren’t able to extend the recent winning to get back into the race, they are expected to consider selling some obvious veteran pieces after the All-Star Game at Marlins Park. But the question of Stanton remains the most interesting one.
Sources suggest no prospective owner has yet broached the subject of Stanton – who has a whopping $297 million to go over 11 years after this year – but it’s the elephant not yet in the room. Of course they are wondering about what to do about such a large commitment for a team whose revenues aren’t currently justifying it, and sources confirm as much.
With Wei-Yin Chen and very likely Dee Gordon not tradeable due to their own vast contracts well beyond their current production, the productive and dynamic Stanton would be the one obvious high-priced player who could impact the books via trade. His record deal, which is backloaded, contains no deferred dollars plus an opt-out after the sixth year, which at this point wouldn’t seem to make financial sense for him to exercise (though that could change, and Marlins people have always believed he will opt out).
Anyway, with the terms of his deal, with its backloading and the knowledge of slugger salaries declining over the last year, the Marlins would have to offset his contract by quite a bit to entice anyone, executives with other teams say.
One rival GM says flatly that the record contracts means they are surely “stuck with it,” but several others suggest that a $100-million (or so) offset could be appropriate and make a trade work. One rival GM also suggested it’s possible the Marlins could even try to pair a much more cost-efficient player, such as J.T. Realmuto or Christian Yelich or Marcell Ozuna, with Stanton, to make accepting his contract more palatable for a taker.
It’s all highly speculative at this point, but the sale of the team is reasonably at the forefront of this, and offloading a salary that looks like it is simply too high for that market does make some real sense.