As expected, the Marlins are planning to open extension talks with star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton after the season, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. That seems the logical course after Miami reportedly declined to field trade offers on its best player. While the club intends to make a “legitimate” run at locking up Stanton for the future, some within the front office are reportedly not optimistic about the likelihood of reaching agreement.
The powerful 24-year-old is in the midst of perhaps his finest season as a pro, bouncing back after a down year (by his lofty standards). Through 496 plate appearances in 2014, Stanton has slashed .289/.389/.546 with 27 long balls in the books. Stanton’s career line (.270/.361/.537) is a rare one in today’s game. Of course, that kind of production does not come cheap, and his $6.5MM first-year arbitration salary portends big earnings over his final two seasons of arb eligibility.
With two years of team control left after this season, it could be now or never for Miami to lock up Stanton, who would hit the open market before his age-27 season if he is not signed to a long-term pact. (If neither injury nor ineffectiveness intervene, the free agent bidding for his services would surely be a thing to behold.) Sources tell Heyman that the game’s premier slugger is more motivated to play for a winner than to maximize his earnings, but it remains to be seen whether his personal predilections make it more or less likely that he’ll commit to the Marlins.
Of course, teams will be lining up to talk with the Marlins if negotiations do not progress. With Stanton working hard to round out his game and now profiling as one of the league’s better players and biggest stars, he would have no shortage of suitors. Especially given his age, a not-insignificant portion of the value in Stanton’s rights stems from the exclusive right to negotiate a long-term deal. If Miami cannot cash in on that value, then perhaps another club can. But the Fish apparently are not (rightly, in my view) in any rush to make a move.