Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman began meetings with Miami Marlins’ executives on Tuesday to begin the transition in ownership of the franchise.
Jeter and Sherman have a pending deal in place to buy the Marlins from Jeffrey Loria. The sale is expected to be approved at the next owners’ quarterly meetings in November.
Sherman is the money man behind the deal. However, Jeter is expected to make most of the major baseball decisions following a 20-year career as the New York Yankees’ shortstop that ended in 2014 and will certainly land him in the Hall of Fame in 2020.
The first big decision will be the future of slugging right fielder Giancarlo Stanton. He leads the major leagues with 53 home runs and is hitting .286/.381/.657 in 135 games.
At 27, Stanton is seemingly in the prime of his career. He is also under contract through 2027, with a club option for 2028 as part of the 13-year, $325-millon contract he signed prior to the 2015 season.
Stanton, though, can opt out the contract after the 2020 season. If he does, Stanton would be walking away from a guaranteed $218 million.
What the Marlins must decide is whether to keep Stanton and build around him — and risk him leaving in three years — or trade him and begin rebuilding. They are on course for a seventh consecutive losing season.
With that in mind, we took a quick and unscientific survey of five major-league executives and asked what they would do with Stanton?
All five said they would keep him.
“Of course, I would,” said an executive from an American League team. “I know home runs are up all over baseball, but that doesn’t devalue what he’s doing at all. He is becoming a good all-round hitter. He’s going to strike out a lot, but he’s more willing to take what the pitchers give him. And he’ll take his walks when teams pitch around him.”
The executive added that it would be a public relations disaster for new ownership to trade Stanton.
“The Marlins have created a lot of ill will in Miami over the years and the fans don’t trust the team,” the executive. “This is the chance to hit the reset button for the franchise. You can’t afford to screw that up.”
An executive from a National League team believes that there would be a narrow market for Stanton, despite his talent.
“You’re going to need to match up with a team that would not only be able to take on the contract, but give up a lot of talent in return,” the executive said. “You’d need a couple of controllable young major-leaguers and a couple of premium prospects. How many teams can do all that? Not many.”
Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price had his club option for 2018 picked up over the weekend, assuring that he will be back for a fifth season.
The Reds are just 267-357 during Price’s tenure and have lost at least 86 games each season since he was elevated from pitching coach to replace Dusty Baker. However, the Reds have also been in rebuilding mode throughout Price’s tenure.
“It’s really hard to tell if he’s a good manager or not because he hasn’t had a lot to work with. But his guys keep playing hard and giving good effort, even when they are far out of the race,” a scout from an NL team said. “That tells me his players like to play for him. That’s a plus.”
The Reds are 59-79 and last in the NL Central. However, they were encouraged by going 15-14 in August for their first winning month of the season.
“I know it might not be a big deal to a lot of people, but it was to us,” Price said. “It’s a step forward. It’s a sign we’re getting better, making progress.”
Many scouts are interested in seeing how Luiz Gohara performs at the major-league level after the Atlanta Braves called the 21-year-old left-hander up from Triple-A Gwinett on Tuesday to make his major-league debut with a start against the visiting Texas Rangers.
Gohara was 7-4 with a 2.62 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 26 minor-league games this season, including 2-2 with a 3.31 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in seven starts with Gwinnett. He also struck 12.2 batters per nine innings at the Triple-A level.
“When you have a lefty missing that many bats at Triple-A at that age, it’s special,” a scout from an an AL team said. “He runs his fastball up there at 95-96 mph, tops out at 98 and has a slider that disappears from hitters. He has a chance to be really good. All-Star-caliber good.”
The Braves acquired Gohara and another minor-league lefty, Thomas Burrows, from the Seattle Mariners in an offseason trade for reliever Shae Simmons and outfielder Mallex Smith. Burrows had a 2.16 ERA in 38 relief appearances at low Class A Rome, striking out 92 in 66.2 innings for an average of 12.4 per nine innings.
While this corner suggests that FanRag should be the center of every sports fan’s universe, here are three interesting reads from other parts of the writing world:
Joe Sheehan writes for Slate that baseball is broken, and that if home runs were taken out of the game it would be unwatchable.
Mitch Albom writes for the Detroit Free Press that Justin Verlander goes to a winner but Detroit Tigers’ fans feel lost.
Tim Brown writes for Yahoo! Sports about the Astros returning to Houston over the weekend to the faces of Hurricane Harvey.