Giancarlo Stanton Rumors

NL East Links: Lester, Stanton, Niese, Mets

Though the Braves met with Jon Lester‘s camp yesterday, the team did not make a formal offer to the free agent lefty, reports David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). Beyond that, president of baseball operations John Hart told ESPN’s Jayson Stark that the possibility of Lester signing in Atlanta is a “long shot,” but added that he is keeping all doors open (Twitter link).

Here’s more from the NL East…

  • In an interview with Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria says that the Giancarlo Stanton extension is only the beginning of his team’s offseason additions. Loria candidly discusses the team’s 2012 fire sale, stating that he knew he was going to get killed for it in the media but simply didn’t feel the mix of players the club had acquired was going to work. Loria adds that he’s not concerned with what other owners think of the Stanton extension and is putting behind him the days of fire sales as he looks to make winning a “part of the tradition of this baseball club.” Loria says he feels that his team will be competitive next season and that come September, the Marlins will not only be competitive, but contending. Nightengale backs up previous reports that the Marlins have indeed made an offer to Adam LaRoche.
  • Jon Niese‘s trade value simply isn’t what it used to be, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News hears, despite what the Mets consider to be a team-friendly contract. Niese is owed $7MM in 2015 and $9MM in 2016 with a pair of club options valued at $10MM and $11MM. However, one executive from a somewhat interested team told Martino, “I think they underestimate the impact his injuries have had on perception. It’s not a team-friendly contract if he is on the DL.” Niese did toss 187 innings in 2014, but he’s had shoulder and elbow issues over the past two years.
  • The Mets are interested in re-signing left-hander Dana Eveland and right-hander Buddy Carlyle, reports Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The Mets cut each reliever loose to avoid arbitration increases but have interest in each journeyman on a lower-cost deal. Both were effective in 2014, though Eveland was sidelined for the final few weeks of the season with an elbow injury.
  • Rubin also hears that the Mets will wait out some free agent options at shortstop and could take action later in the offseason if players on whom their currently lukewarm drop their asking prices (Twitter links). He also hears that the Mets would be willing to forfeit their second-round pick to add another qualifying offer free agent if the player was stuck without a contract come January. Of course, the Mets already gave up their first-round pick to sign Michael Cuddyer.

Marlins, Giancarlo Stanton Agree To 13-Year, $325MM Contract

THURSDAY: The deal also includes $1MM annually in assorted award-related performance bonuses, tweets Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs.

TUESDAY, 4:25pm: Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets the full breakdown: after earning the previously-reported $30MM total over the first three years of the deal, Stanton will take home annual values of $25MM (2018), $26MM (2019, 2020), $29MM (2021, 2022), $32MM (2023, 2024, 2025), $29MM (2026), and $25MM (2027).

The deal also includes a $25MM club option for 2028, which comes with a $10MM buyout to make up the remainder of the guaranteed value in the deal.

2:29pm: The highest annual salary in the deal is $32MM, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. As Rosenthal notes, that rate matches the biggest single hit in the Cabrera deal but falls shy of Mike Trout’s highest-paid season.

12:31pm: ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that Stanton’s contract is heavily backloaded — a structure which Stanton actually desired in order to leave the front office with flexibility to add significant pieces in order to contend in the immediate future.

Stanton will earn just $6.5MM in 2015, $9MM in 2016 and $14.5MM in 2017 before earning $77MM total over the following three seasons. In other words, should he opt out of his deal, he’ll have received $107MM over six years (an AAV of $17.83MM) and be walking away from seven years and $218MM (an AAV of $31.14MM).

MONDAY, 4:40pm: Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has confirmed the signing of Stanton to a 13-year deal, reports Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald. Loria called this a “landmark day” and noted, “It means everything to the franchise. We have a face of the franchise for the next 13 years.” Loria said he expects Stanton to be a Marlin for the next 13 seasons. “I did this for the city, the fans, for Giancarlo, our team, for myself and for baseball,” Loria told Navarro.

2:18pm: Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports (via Twitter) that the deal has been finalized and a press conference will be held at 11am on Wednesday of this week to announce the extension.

10:27am: The Marlins and outfielder Giancarlo Stanton are in agreement on a 13-year, $325MM contract extension that will set the benchmark as the new largest contract in the history of professional sports, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports. While the deal hasn’t yet been made official, Heyman reports that a press conference should be held later this week and “there is a clear understanding the deal will be finalized.” Stanton is a client of the Wasserman Media Group’s Joel Wolfe.

The extension contains a full no-trade clause and Stanton “will be able to opt out not long after he turns 30,” according to Heyman, so it would seem that the opt-out clause can be triggered after the 2019 season, or after 2020 at the very latest.  Stanton just celebrated his 25th birthday on November 8.
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Stanton’s groundbreaking contract will buy out 11 free agent years, valuing each of those seasons in the $26-27MM range, depending on how much he’d have earned in arbitration over the next two seasons (MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had pegged him for a $13MM salary in 2015 alone). The new contract will run through the 2027 season, after which Stanton will be 37 years of age. Of course, that assumes that Stanton does not exercise the opt-out clause, at which point he could be able to seek an even larger annual commitment over a longer term, should he continue to perform as he has to this point in his career.

The runner-up to Clayton Kershaw in this year’s MVP voting, Stanton finished the season with a .288/.395/.555 batting line and 37 home runs — a figure that tied his career best and also led the National League. Still just 25, Stanton has nearly five full seasons under his belt and has authored a .271/.364/.540 batting line with 154 home runs while playing many of his games in the pitcher-friendly Marlins Park. Defensive Runs Saved considers Stanton to be an excellent right fielder, pegging his career at +26 run. Ultimate Zone Rating has him at +14.3 — an average of 3.3 runs saved per 150 games. In total, Baseball-Reference.com values Stanton’s career to date at 21.2 wins above replacement, while Fangraphs has him at 19.5 WAR.

Unlike many players that sign prodigious contracts, however, Stanton is not only being compensated for what he has done, but for what he could do in his prime. That he’s yet to reach his prime is a frightening thought (particularly for Major League pitchers), and it’s reasonable to think that Stanton’s best years may not even have come yet. The Marlins will secure far more of Stanton’s prime than most $200MM+ extensions do, and the team is well-positioned to take on a significant long-term deal, as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd highlighted recently.

The question, of course, is how Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria will adjust the team’s payroll going forward. The Marlins have operated on a payroll between $40MM and $60MM in four of the past five seasons, but such a sum won’t be feasible if and when Stanton’s annual commitment approaches or even exceeds $30MM per season. Stanton’s extension appears to be as much a statement to the city of Miami that the Marlins intend to compete as it does a commitment to a clearly elite player.

By adding a no-trade clause, the Marlins have broken a club policy. The team’s previous record contract was that of Jose Reyes, but Reyes was dealt to Toronto just one year after signing his $106MM contract, further fueling widespread skepticism and cynicism toward the organization anytime it signed or acquired a player. That trade also enraged Stanton, who candidly tweeted at the time that he was “pissed off.” However, Stanton will have full say over his future, and it can even be argued that the Reyes/Mark Buehrle/Josh Johnson blockbuster helped set the stage for this extension, as it alleviated long-term payroll commitments for the Marlins and brought in talented, controllable names such as Henderson Alvarez, Adeiny Hechavarria, Justin Nicolino and Jake Marisnick, the latter of whom was a key component in acquiring Jarred Cosart.

The Marlins will now field a long-term outfield mix of Stanton in right field, Marcell Ozuna in center field and Christian Yelich in left field — a supremely talented trio that should hit near the top or in the middle of the team’s batting order for the foreseeable future.  Miami also boasts an impressive group of young pitchers, including ace Jose Fernandez (who is recovering from Tommy John surgery), Alvarez, Cosart, and Nathan Eovaldi (to say nothing of top prospects Andrew Heaney and, eventually Tyler Kolek). Additional options that are in or potentially ready to pitch in the Majors include Tom Koehler, Anthony DeSclafani and Brian Flynn. GM Dan Jennings and president of baseball operations Michael Hill will be able to use that pitching talent as they see fit to field a strong rotation and perhaps to acquire young hitters in trades.

Stepping back and looking at the big picture, Stanton’s $25MM average annual value certainly isn’t a record, but the length and guarantee on his commitment certainly are. Currently, Miguel Cabrera is owed $292MM over the life of his contract, although that was actually a $248MM extension on top of two guaranteed contract seasons. In terms of the most amount of “new money” ever guaranteed on a contract, Alex Rodriguez‘s 10-year, $275MM contract set the bar prior to this deal. Other examples of $200MM+ contracts include 10-year, $240MM contracts to both Albert Pujols and Robinson Cano, a 10-year, $225MM extension for Joey Votto and a nine-year, $214MM pact for Prince Fielder. (Clayton Kershaw signed a seven-year, $215MM extension with the Dodgers last offseason as well.)

Stanton will surpass all of those impressive names in setting a pair of records that don’t figure to be broken in the near future. Though he’s been a fixture among trade rumors for the better part of four years, Stanton will ultimately remain rooted in Miami sports for at least the next several years and within the history books long after his days as a Marlin are done.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal first reported that Stanton and the Marlins were discussing a deal in the 10-year/$300MM range.  Christopher Meola appears to have been the first to learn of the deal’s finalization, as he tweeted the exact terms on Thursday night.


Marlins Notes: LaRoche, Pitching, Payroll, Stanton

Earlier today the Marlins officially announced their 13-year, $325MM extension with Giancarlo Stanton. Here’s the latest on the team following that historic agreement…

  • The Marlins have made a two-year, $20MM offer to Adam LaRoche, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Recent reports have indicated that the Marlins are strongly interested in LaRoche, and Jackson’s report would back that up, though the $20MM may be a bit light to seal the deal. I recently pegged LaRoche for a two-year, $30MM deal, and he just wrapped up a two-year, $24MM pact. LaRoche is also said to be drawing interest from the Padres and White Sox.
  • Also from Jackson, the Marlins have expressed interest in free agents Jason Hammel and Justin Masterson. Miami is said to covet a veteran arm to add to its rotation while ace Jose Fernandez rehabs from Tommy John surgery. James Shields‘ name has also been floated recently, though he’d obviously come at a much higher cost than either of the targets named by Jackson. The Fish are also interested in Wade Miley as a trade target, Jackson writes, but the D’Backs have very little pitching depth as it is, so moving one of their only reliable arms would seem a bit curious.
  • The Marlins say their payroll will top $60MM in 2015, according to Jackson. With Stanton set to earn just $6.5MM in the first year of his extension, the Marlins currently have about $22MM committed to next year’s roster. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects an additional $20.3MM in arb raises, but the Fish should be able to add at least $20MM or so worth of salary this winter. A LaRoche signing, I would think, could lead the team to shop Garrett Jones, which would remove another $5MM from the currently projected commitment.
  • Jackson’s column is rife with excellent quotes from Stanton’s press conference, including quotes from Stanton himself, from agent Joel Wolfe and from team president David Samson. Jackson hears that the Marlins’ first offer to Stanton came shortly after season’s end and was worth roughly $130MM over six years. However, Wolfe says that Stanton told him, “if it’s not a lifetime contract, there’s no point in talking.”
  • The Marlins still won’t be giving out no-trade clauses to other players, according to Samson, but they had no problem giving one to Stanton. The opt-out clause was much trickier, as the Marlins were very resistant. The Marlins wanted the opt-out to be conditional based on team performance, only allowing Stanton to elect free agency if the team lost a certain number of games. Samson explained, however, that Stanton made it very clear he wasn’t interested in opting out to earn more money after that point of the contract, but rather to protect himself from being part of a losing culture. “Once we believed the opt-out clause would be used as a shield and not a sword, we were OK with it,” said Samson. Stanton also comfortable with the idea of earning less money up front in the deal to surround him with better players. A new TV deal could be in the offing for the Marlins soon, which would of course allow them a better payroll.
  • Also of note from Jackson is that owner Jeffrey Loria has no intentions of selling the team. Though Samson says many people place calls with interest in buying, Loria is “in it for the long run because he loves it.”
  • Shifting away from Jackson’s must-read piece — the highlights here are but a fraction of the interesting points within — former MLBTR scribe Cork Gaines writes in a piece for Business Insider that the Stanton extension can be used as leverage in negotiating a new TV deal. Miami currently has the worst local TV deal in all of baseball, paying them $13-18MM annually (the Dodgers’ deal, in contrast, pays them $334MM per year, Gaines writes). Gaines notes that having a legitimate superstar on the team will increase the value of the new TV deal. Gaines speculates that negotiations could begin in 2016 as there appears to be some kind of opt-out on the current contract, which runs through 2020. Indeed, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that they are aiming for a new TV deal to begin in 2017 — which, perhaps not coincidentally, aligns with the first significant spike in Stanton’s salary.
  • In a full column, Rosenthal points out that the Rangers, Tigers and Angels each spent significant money prior to signing their new TV deals so they had a more attractive product in place for negotiations. While history has the skeptics gearing up for a fire sale in the near future, Rosenthal opines that this doesn’t look like a club that’s merely going to tear it all down again in two years.


Florida Notes: Stanton, Rays Manager

The Marlins and slugger Giancarlo Stanton may be on the cusp of a 13-year, $325MM contract extension, but Stanton may be “playing a dangerous game,” writes Yahoo’s Jeff Passan. The Marlins under Jeffrey Loria and David Samson have bamboozled and excused their way out of spending money on the major league product. Passan wonders why Loria would eschew the methods that have made him money over the years. The rumored payday could be a “Faustian bargain” if the front office doesn’t properly fill the roster around Stanton.

  • Stanton’s negotiations are all about power – and not just home run power – says Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. As it stands, Stanton is still two years away from free agency. The rumored deal is expected to contain a no-trade clause and an opt-out after the 2019 season. Both clauses give Stanton leverage. He can potentially dictate where he’s traded, force a mid-contract extension, or hit the open market as a 30-year-old. To me, this mitigates the risk of Loria-being-Loria.
  • The Rays have concluded the first round of interviews for their open manager position, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Barry Larkin was the last of ten interviewees in the initial round. The club will step back before deciding how many candidates to bring back for a round of in-person interviews.
  • Andrew Velazquez and Justin Williams – the players acquired in the Jeremy Hellickson trade – were immediately ranked as the ninth and tenth best prospects in the Rays system by MLB.com, Topkin notes.

Marlins, Stanton Closing In On 13-Year, $325MM Extension

11:20pm: The opt-out clause being negotiated is expected to become effective after the 2019 season, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. That would essentially make the deal a five-year pact that provides Stanton an eight-year player option, which would be a unique arrangement. Most recently agreed-upon opt-out clauses can be exercised after the bulk of the contract has already been performed.

2:42pm: The Marlins and Stanton are close to agreeing to terms on a 13-year, $325MM contract that is expected to contain a no-trade clause and an opt-out clause, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

9:36am: Heyman reports that the two sides are very serious about getting a deal done, suggesting that it could end up being for a whopping 13 years. The two sides are said to be on the same page regarding money, Heyman writes, but one or two non-monetary issues still need to be worked out — perhaps a no-trade clause and/or an opt-out clause. One source characterized the negotiations as being on the 10-yard line.

As Heyman notes, the Marlins feel an increased need to lock up Stanton due to the fact that they have become discouraged about their ability to sign right-hander Jose Fernandez to a long-term deal of his own.

8:40am: ESPN’s Buster Olney hears that one possibility that has been discussed is a 12-year, $325MM contract (ESPN Insider required and recommended). Olney also wonders how the frightening, season-ending injury to Stanton has affected his perspective and influenced his willingness to accept a deal like this. As Olney notes, Stanton acknowledged after the injury that had the fastball which struck his face hit him just millimeters in a different direction, his injury could have been career-threatening.

FRIDAY, 7:39am: Stanton and the Marlins have been discussing an extension in the 12-year, $320MM range, tweets Rosenthal.

Stanton could earn something in the $35MM range for his final two years of arbitration, even without the extension,  so it seems that his free agent years are being valued under $30MM per season if those exact numbers hold.

THURSDAY, 5:14pm: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports hears that the $300MM+ deal being discussed could span as long as 12 years (Twitter link). That deal would run through Stanton’s age-36 season.

4:23pm: The Marlins and superstar right fielder Giancarlo Stanton are discussing a record-breaking $300MM contract extension that would span “at least” 10 seasons, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

The two sides have also discussed shorter contracts, according to Rosenthal’s sources, but it’s not surprising to see Stanton’s agent, Joel Wolfe of the Wasserman Media Group, eyeing a record-setting figure. Stanton, who somewhat incredibly just turned 25 years old last week, is under team control through the 2016 season as things currently stand and is projected to earn $13MM in arbitration next year.

While there will be plenty of cynics that point to the Marlins’ history of fire sales, Miami GM Dan Jennings indicated earlier this week that the Fish would potentially be open to breaking club policy and including a no-trade clause if it meant locking up the game’s premier power hitter.

A $300MM commitment would set the record for the largest contract in Major League history. Currently, Miguel Cabrera is owed $292MM over the life of his contract, although that was actually a $248MM extension on top of two guaranteed contract seasons. In terms of the most amount of “new money” ever guaranteed on a contract, Alex Rodriguez‘s 10-year, $275MM contract is still setting the bar. Other examples of $200MM+ contracts include 10-year, $240MM contracts to both Albert Pujols and Robinson Cano, a 10-year, $225MM extension for Joey Votto and a nine-year, $214MM pact for Prince Fielder serve as other examples of $200MM+ deals for hitters. (Clayton Kershaw signed a seven-year, $215MM extension with the Dodgers last offseason as well.)

Though the number is staggering, one thing separating Stanton from other $200MM+ deals for hitters is that a 10-year contract would cover a large portion of his prime and not much of his decline phase. Stanton would be 34 years old at the end of a 10-year pact, while players such as Rodriguez, Cabrera and Votto will be approaching or will have surpassed their 40th birthdays.

Stanton led the National League with 37 homers this season and is a lifetime .271/.364/.540 hitter with 154 homers in 634 games. His best season at the plate came this past year, when he batted .288/.395/.555 in 145 games before being struck in the face by a fastball — a frightening injury that ultimately cost him the remainder of the season. He’s one of the finalists for the NL MVP Award this season, though he’ll have to contend with Kershaw and Andrew McCutchen.


NL East Notes: Desmond, Fish, Phils, Hamels, Braves, Medlen

The Nationals made Ian Desmond a seven-year, $107MM extension offer last year, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports, though that also included contract deferrals that would have reduced its true value. Negotiations are expected to pick back up in the months to come, per Kilgore, and that offer will presumably be the starting point. Desmond, who put up another strong year and is now one year away from the open market, is one key piece of the team’s increasingly pressing long-term strategic questions.

Here’s the latest out of the division:

  • The Marlins‘ interest in the starting pitching market is fairly diverse, as Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. Possible trade targets range from buy-low (Ubaldo Jimenez) to buy-high (Johnny Cueto), and interest on the free agent markets includes Kyle Kendrick and Ervin Santana. The unifying force here is probably the expected ability of these varying arms to provide innings; as I noted yesterday, the Fish hope to add a solid, veteran presence to their staff.
  • Spencer also spoke with the Miami brass about Giancarlo Stanton, and discusses the team’s reasoning for trying to build a winner around him now, even if an extension cannot ultimately be worked out. “We’re trying to get away from that, that we have to trade everybody because they get expensive,” Hill said. “Enough of that. We want to win. We want to keep as many of our pieces as we can.”
  • There are “a lot of good fits” for Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd, who is likely to be traded, sources tell Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Philadelphia is seeing interest in Ben Revere as well.
  • Of course, the flashier chip for the Phils is lefty Cole Hamels. As Salisbury reports, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says “the free agent market will kind of dictate where this thing goes,” referring to the possibility of striking a deal. “[A]t some point the dominores will start to fall and then we’ll see where it takes us,” said Amaro, who notes that there is no need to deal Hamels since he “traverses the timeline” of contention that the club has in mind.
  • Hamels would prefer to be dealt, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Nightengale provides additional teams to which Hamels cannot decline a trade (on top of the previously-reported Cubs): the Yankees and Rangers are the two A.L. clubs, with the Dodgers, Nationals, Cardinals, Braves, and Padres among the National League teams.
  • The Braves increasingly sound inclined to aim for the near future, and we’ve already heard several prominent names listed as possible trade candidates. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman provides two more, via Twitter: reliever Jordan Walden (who projects to earn $3MM in arbitration) and young second baseman Tommy La Stella.
  • Braves president of baseball operations John Hart says the sides will “need to get creative” to work out a deal to keep Kris Medlen, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. While the team has every hope of keeping the righty, his second Tommy John procedure and $5.8MM projected arb price tag do not make for a straightforward situation given the team’s tight payroll. Sherman suggests that a significantly lower guarantee, combined with incentives and a 2016 option, could be palatable for both sides. It seems that Medlen would be able to do better, however, were he to force the Braves’ hand: he would either be tendered a contract, or hit the open market with plenty of suitors given his upside.

Hill, Jennings Discuss Marlins’ Offseason Plans

The Marlins are continuing to look for upgrades wherever they make sense, taking a flexible approach to improving their roster as they look to put a winner on the field in 2015. Speaking from the GM Meetings in Phoenix, president of baseball operations Michael Hill and GM Dan Jennings told MLBTR that the organization is very high on its assemblage of controllable talent and is ready to take the next step.

Of course, as has been reported recently, the primary focus now is on locking up superstar Giancarlo Stanton while also exploring early extensions with several other younger players. Hill characterized those efforts as exploratory, but backed by intention. “When you lock up your core, good things happen,” Jennings explained.

Though Hill acknowledged that the team had not done that at times in the past, he made clear the team is serious about committing future cash to its homegrown talent. Miami is aided in that effort, of course, by a virtually unblemished future balance sheet.

In terms of outside additions, Hill and Jennings emphasized the organization’s ability to act opportunistically.

Miami has long been said to be in the market for a veteran pitcher to insert into a rotation that is full of live, young arms. The optimal addition would, of course, be young and cost-controlled, in the mold of Jarred Cosart, who was added in a trade-deadline deal last year. Hill touted Cosart as a durable, solid arm who has yet to reach his ceiling.

Ultimately, Hill says the team is most interested in adding a “little more established” starter to anchor the staff, rather than making a high risk-high reward play. “We already have the upside,” he said.

In terms of bats, the Fish would be interested in an upgrade if the incremental improvement it could expect would warrant the price tag, as Hill put it. That holds true at first base as well as second.

Regarding the keystone, Hill and Jennings expressed comfort in the team’s internal options, naming Derek Dietrich, Donovan Solano, and Enrique Hernandez as possibilities to battle in camp. Though the power-hitting Dietrich has had his struggles, Jennings emphasized that “nobody is giving up on him.”

In that sense, the flexibility afforded by the team’s slate of young keystone options has it well positioned. Hill and Jennings indicated that the Marlins will consider several high-profile international middle infielders on a case-by-case basis. The team will not be impacted by the uncertain timing of the market entry of players such as Jose Fernandez and Hector Olivera, per the front office duo, in part due to their familiarity with that pair of Cuban stars and in part because a plausible internal solution is already in place.


NL East Notes: Stanton, Heyward, Nats, Mets, Cuddyer, Phillies

For those who need further convincing that the Marlins are serious about extending Giancarlo Stanton, president of baseball operations Michael Hill told reporters, including the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo (Twitter link), that teams aren’t even bothering to call and ask about Stanton’s availability anymore. Joel Sherman of the New York Post expands on that quote from Hill, noting that there are some indications that the team is willing to break its policy of not giving out no-trade clauses in order to lock up Stanton. Hill wouldn’t directly state that the team is willing to give Stanton a no-trade clause, but that could certainly be inferred from his comments: “It’s been an organizational policy, but you are talking about a star talent. You look at the marketplace and what other stars have gotten. It will be a topic of discussion.”

More from the NL East…

  • Braves president of baseball operations John Hart tells David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he doesn’t envision an extension for Jason Heyward this offseason (Twitter links). That’s not due to a lack of interest on Atlanta’s behalf, but rather due to Heyward’s proximity to free agency. With Heyward set to hit the open market next winter, Hart said that his assumption is it’s “probably the wrong time,” though he said the team could still try to sign Heyward as a free agent.
  • Nationals GM Mike Rizzo acknowledged to James Wagner of the Washington Post that he’s been in contact with Asdrubal Cabrera‘s agent as the team looks at all options on the second base market (Twitter link).
  •  Wagner also tweets that the Nationals and right-hander Jordan Zimmermann aren’t engaged in any form of extension talks at the moment. The ace righty is slated to hit the open market next winter after pocketing a $16.5MM salary in 2015.
  • Marc Carig of Newsday provides a breakdown of where the Mets are in their pursuit of a shortstop. The Mets aren’t big on the idea of multi-year deals for either Jed Lowrie or Asdrubal Cabrera, and looking to the trade market has been difficult thus far. Arizona’s asking price on Didi Gregorius is high — GM Dave Stewart said the return would need to be “earth-shattering” in terms of controllable pitching — and the Cubs haven’t given indication they’ll part with Starlin Castro. The Mets are concerned about Alexei Ramirez‘s declining range, and while they briefly floated the idea of pursuing Jimmy Rollins, that notion went nowhere when they learned that Rollins wouldn’t waive his no-trade rights to go there. A trade for Troy Tulowitzki is considered an extreme long shot, he adds.
  • Matthew Cerrone of SNY.tv’s Metsblog has some highlights (and the audio) from the Mets‘ conference call announcing Michael Cuddyer‘s signing today. Within, he notes that GM Sandy Alderson admitted to being caught off guard by the Rockies’ qualifying offer, but they ultimately decided that they’d prefer to sacrifice a draft pick rather than sacrifice a current minor league prospect in a trade for an outfielder. That makes some sense, considering they figure to do so in order to acquire a shortstop at some point.
  • The Phillies are willing to trade anyone, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, but they may have to wait until the free agent market pans out a bit further before seeing some big deals come to fruition. If they’re able to find a taker for Ryan Howard, it may not come until big bats like Victor Martinez, Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera are off the market. The same could be said regarding Cole Hamels in relation to Max Scherzer, James Shields and Jon Lester; GM Ruben Amaro Jr. might find teams more willing to part with a significant prospect package when there are no longer ace-caliber alternatives in free agency.

Sherman On Marlins, Kang, Joyce, DeJesus, Braves

The latest out of the GM Meetings from the New York Post’s Joel Sherman

  • Regarding negotiations with Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins GM Dan Jennings tells Sherman, “There’s only one hope — we want to sign him.” Negotiations between the two sides are ongoing, Sherman writes, and the Marlins are aware with and comfortable with the fact that Stanton could require a $28-30MM annual value on a long-term deal. The relationship between the two sides seems to be in a good place, he adds.
  • In addition to a Stanton extension, Jennings told Sherman that the team would like to add a veteran starter either via free agency or trade to help stabilize the rotation while Jose Fernandez rehabs. They’d also like to add a middle-of-the-order bat to either hit behind Stanton or bat in front of him. This is my own speculation, but I listed Miami as a potential landing spot for Adam LaRoche in my free agent profile and picked him to land there in MLBTR’s Free Agent Prediction Contest as well.
  • Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang is being represented by agent Alan Nero of Octagon, who joked to Sherman and other reporters that if Kang were coming from Cuba, he’d earn $100MM+ after hitting .354 with 39 homers. However, KBO is known to be a fairly low level of competition and an offense-friendly environment, and as Sherman notes, many scouts have expressed skepticism that his power will translate to Major League Baseball. Still, Kang is just 27, and Nero says his client feels comfortable playing shortstop, third base, second base and even center field.
  • The Rays are said to be working toward a trade of Jeremy Hellickson to an NL team, but he’s not the only candidate to be moved by Tampa. Sherman reports that they’d like to move Matt Joyce or David DeJesus as well.
  • It may seem counter-intuitive for the Braves to be aggressively shopping Evan Gattis when their team needs offense, but Sherman hears the team wants to diversify its offense after becoming too reliant on an all-or-nothing approach from right-handed hitters. The Braves also feel they have a big need in the rotation, as they’re looking to replace 400 innings from Ervin Santana and Aaron Harang.

NL Notes: Reds, Stanton, Cubs, Mets

The Reds could improve considerably in 2015 simply by getting the most out of their current roster, writes Richard Justice of MLB.com. With four starting pitchers a year from free agency, GM Walt Jocketty has the difficult decision to “hold ‘em or fold ‘em.” He could take one more shot at the postseason by luring a Michael Morse-type player, or he could begin the rebuilding process now. The market for his soon-to-be free agents could help him make the decision.

  • Marlins GM Dan Jennings says contract extension talks with Giancarlo Stanton are ongoing, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). There is no time table on the talks. In Justice’s article, he mentions the Cardinals as a possible fit for Stanton is extension talks with Miami fizzle.
  • We’ve heard everything when it comes to the Cubs and their place in the free agent market. GM Jed Hoyer showed part of his hand recently, reports Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago. The club would like to add some veteran leadership with Hoyer saying: “maybe a player in the starting lineup, maybe a bench player, maybe someone in the bullpen, maybe someone in the rotation.” That’s a lot of maybe’s, but the idea is that a veteran presence in each role can help the youngsters improve and develop character. Rogers has more comments from Hoyer that are well worth a read.
  • The Mets need to answer three questions at the GM Meetings, opines Mike Puma of the New York Post. Assuming the club isn’t satisfied with Wilmer Flores, the shortstop market must be gauged. A trade with either Chicago team might be the way to go. Outfield is another area of concern, with only Juan Lagares and Curtis Granderson scheduled for regular roles. Lastly, GM Sandy Alderson should measure interest in Daniel Murphy.