Giancarlo Stanton Rumors

Marlins Avoid Arb With Stanton, Cishek

The Marlins have agreed to a one-year deal with Giancarlo Stanton, thereby avoiding arbitration, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun Sentinel (on Twitter). Rodriguez tweets that Stanton will earn $6.5MM in 2014, while Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that he'll earn an additional $100K if he reaches 600 PAs.

The slugging 24-year-old was projected to earn $4.8MM by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz, though Swartz further explained that a substantially higher number would not be surprising. Given the reportedly rocky relationship between Stanton and the Fish, the two sides' ability to reach agreement on a challenging arbitration case would seem to bode well for harmony going forward.

All recent reports have indicated that Stanton is not likely to be dealt over the current off-season, and it will be worth watching to see whether any momentum could build toward an extension. Stanton would reach the open market before the 2017 season if a new deal is not reached in the meantime.

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that the Fish have also avoided arbitration with closer Steve Cishek (Twitter link). The side-arming righty will earn $3.8MM in 2014.

The 27-year-old had projected to land at $3.2MM for his Super Two arbitration year. Cishek has established himself as a strong big leaguer, with a career 2.48 ERA in 192 1/3 innings. That mark has not strayed above 2.69 in any one season, and last year it checked in at a sturdy 2.33 earned per nine. Cishek maintained a stellar strikeout rate (9.6 K/9) in 2013 while improving his command (career-low 2.8 BB/9). He still carries three more years of team control. 


Arbitration Breakdown: Giancarlo Stanton

Over the next few months, I will be discussing some of the higher profile upcoming arbitration cases. I will rely partly on my arbitration model developed exclusively for MLB Trade Rumors, but will also break out some interesting comparables and determine where the model might be wrong.

Giancarlo Stanton has the types of skills that arbitration often rewards most, which is good news as he heads into his first year of eligibility. While players who get on base and play good defense contribute a lot of value to teams, and even get paid handsomely in free agency, they still do not get much recognition in arbitration. The rules of arbitration are not based on estimates of value, but rather on comparisons of salaries of previous players with similar performances (regardless of whether those salaries were fair or not). Stanton has the most important skill that the arbitration process values: power. Stanton

However, there is another way in which the arbitration process hurts Stanton. Although he contributes a lot of value while on the diamond, arbitration awards are based heavily on playing time, regardless of how much value was actually added above a hypothetical backup. Very good players who are often injured can get paid handsomely on the free agent market because of the value they do provide when on the field. However, arbitration panels are typically composed of labor lawyers, who see a lot of merit to the concept of “went to work every day,” so playing time is treated very differently and often treated as more important than the standings treat it.

Stanton has only played in 123 and 116 games the previous two seasons, although he did manage 150 games in 2011. As a result, he has barely cleared 500 plate appearances in each of the past two seasons. This makes predicting his salary somewhat challenging. Our arbitration salary model here at MLBTR pegs Stanton for a $4.8MM salary in 2014, but I could really see that missing in either direction because of how few comparable players there have been in recent years. Although gifted sluggers often get injured more as they age, it is not very common for players like Stanton to miss significant time early in their careers.

So, some of the more classic sluggers to go to arbitration in recent years have had considerably more plate appearances (and the counting stats that go with that). Stanton enters arbitration with 504 PA in his platform season, along with a .249 average, 24 home runs and 62 runs batted in. Prior to his platform season, he had 1498 PA and hit .270 with 93 HR and 232 RBI. Despite the 117 career home runs that Stanton has hit, he is probably going to fall short of the earnings of the three other most recent players to enter their first year of arbitration who can claim triple-digits in career home runs. These include Ryan Howard who had 129 career HR and earned $10MM, Prince Fielder who had 114 career HR and earned $7.5MM, and Miguel Cabrera who had 104 career HR and earned $7.4MM. Although Stanton’s very high service time (just missing Super-2 status last year) has led to similar cumulative career PA, he had far fewer platform-year PA (which are more important) than any of these three, who had 648, 694, and 676 PA respectively, compared with Stanton’s 504. As a result, I don’t expect that any of these three will make for good comparables in negotiations.

Instead, it might make sense to look at players who meet more Stanton-like criteria in terms of PA and HR. There have been a couple players who have fit the mold of having fewer than 600 PA, but at least 20 home runs in their platform season, as well as at least 50 home runs prior to then. One of these was Nelson Cruz in 2011, who had 445 PA, but hit 22 home runs to supplement his 55 home runs before his platform year. He earned $3.65MM, which could be a floor for Stanton, even though Cruz did hit .318, far better than Stanton’s .249.

Another possible comparable might be Carlos Quentin in 2010, who earned $3.2MM and hit only .236, while amassing 21 HR in 399 PA. Quentin only had 50 career home runs before his platform season, making him a more obvious floor than Cruz on all fronts.

Josh Hamilton could be considered a floor as well at $3.25MM, since he only had 11 home runs in his platform season, but had hit 51 leading into that year.

Another possibility is that the case may focus on pre-platform statistics. I looked for players who had hit between 10-29 home runs their platform year, but had hit 60 before their platform year. This produced only one player, Jeff Francoeur in 2009, who earned $3.375MM after struggling through a 2008 season in which he hit just .239 with 11 HR and 71 RBI. Francoeur did have 62 pre-platform HR though, which is still a far cry from Stanton’s 93. That would make a salary of $3.375MM look extremely low as well.

Between Cruz, Francoeur, Quentin, and Hamilton, we have four guys that all earned between $3.2-3.65MM and Stanton seems to have a leg up on each one of them. If nothing else, this should be able to convince all involved to see $3.65MM as a floor for Stanton, while Cabrera’s $7.4MM can serve as a ceiling. The problem is how few players seem to fit in that large window.

Few power hitters have fallen in that range. One exception is Dan Uggla, who is a second baseman, so he wouldn’t usually be used as a comparable but his low-average high-power history might make him a useful comparable. He earned $5.35MM after hitting .260 with 32 HR and 92 RBI in 2008, which followed up on a career .263 average, with 58 HR and 178 RBI prior to his platform-season. Given his 619 PA in his platform season, along with clearing 30 home runs, he might be seen as a ceiling for Stanton as well, but the fact that the projection is now five years old calls into question how useful it is or whether it would be taken seriously in negotiations.

Otherwise, it is very challenging to find good comparables for Stanton and that is why I think that he has such a tough case to guess. I do think that any offer under $4MM by the Marlins will probably be seen as too low, and any request of $7MM or more by Stanton’s team at Wasserman Media Group would be seen as overvalued. I also think that even inching up towards $6MM might be too much of a gamble as well. In the end, the model’s $4.8MM projected value doesn’t seem entirely out of whack, but if he came in closer to $4MM or $6MM, I also would not be surprised. As an added wrinkle, if Stanton does end up getting traded this offseason, and he gets traded before reaching an agreement, his future team may decide that breaking rapport with an ugly negotiation or a hearing is too risky and may offer him more money to avoid such a scenario. This may not end up happening anyway, but it shows how much of challenge it will be to guess Stanton’s 2014 salary.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


NL East Notes: Bourjos, Young, Cano, Stanton

People in baseball are trying to figure out the team that has not been named yet that could surprise everyone and come away with top free agent Robinson Cano.  Some have theorized that the Marlins could be that team to shock everyone, but new Miami GM Dan Jennings threw cold water on that idea when asked by Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  “It probably doesn’t fit,” said Jennings, who reportedly offered big bucks to Jose Dariel Abreu before he signed with the White Sox. “We have to know our market and our payroll and our history. And our history is to build around young players and add pieces when it has become very clear that we are ready to win.

  • The Phillies remain in the market for starting pitching and relief help after signing Marlon Byrd earlier today, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.  Starter Bronson Arroyo and reliever Joe Smith are two pitchers that the Phils have discussed.  Meanwhile, they might not be quite done in the outfield and they still have their eye on Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos.
  • A source tells Marc Carig of Newsday (on Twitter) that the Mets are showing interest in free agent outfielder Chris Young.
  • No surprise here, but Jennings also shot down the notion that the Marlins will trade Giancarlo Stanton.  That certainly won't stop other clubs from trying, however.
  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson told reporters, including Mike Puma of the New York Post, that the club likely won't be signing anyone to a $100MM contract.  Alderson said that while the Mets broke the $100MM barrier for star third baseman David Wright, he says that those were special circumstances.
  • The Mets are known to have interest in Curtis Granderson, but he could very well wind up outside of their price range, writes David Lennon of Newsday.  It's possible that a $50MM deal will be too rich for the Mets' blood and a $60MM asking price isn't out of the question.
  • The Nationals will likely need to add a more experienced backup catcher this offseason, someone who can step in full-time if Wilson Ramos gets injured again, writes Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com.


NL East Notes: Logan, Nationals, Mets, Samson

The Braves will be moving into a brand new stadium in time for the 2017 season, the team announced today.  The new ballpark is located in Cobb County, about 14 miles northwest of Turner Field.  The move will end the club's tenure at Turner Field after an even 20 seasons — "the Ted" was originally built as the main venue for the 1996 Olympic Games and then converted into a ballpark for the start of the 1997 season.

Here are some more items from around the NL East…

  • The Nationals are interested in free agent southpaw Boone Logan, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports.  Logan posted strong numbers out of the Yankees bullpen over the last four seasons and is expected to fully recover from recent surgery to remove a bone spur from his throwing elbow. 
  • Kilgore notes that Washington is expected to target left-handed relief this winter and besides Logan, the team could also check in on J.P. Howell or Manny Parra, as the Nats had interest in both pitchers last offseason.
  • Also from Kilgore, an American League executive tells him that the Nationals would likely have to part with Anthony Rendon as the key piece of a David Price trade package.
  • Marlins president David Samson discussed Giancarlo Stanton's contract and the Marlins' policy against no-trade clauses in an appearance on MLB Network Radio's Inside Pitch with Jim Bowden and Casey Stern on SiriusXM.  Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel has a partial transcript of Samson's comments.
  • If the Marlins are serious about convincing Stanton to stay over the long term, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro says the club needs more stability in the dugout.  Frisaro notes that in Stanton's short career, he has already played under five different managers and five different hitting coaches.
  • Of their two first base options, the Mets would reportedly prefer to trade Ike Davis over Lucas Duda, though Andy Martino of the New York Daily News thinks Davis is a better option for the team going forward.
  • From earlier today on MLBTR, Zach Links shared some more NL East notes, and we also posted team-centric collections of about the Phillies and the Mets.

East Notes: Napoli, Phillies, Marlins, Anthopoulos

The Braves, Mets, Yankees and Red Sox have each received team-centric news posts today on MLBTR, so it's time to collect up more news from around both the NL and AL East…

  • Mike Napoli is such a good fit for the Red Sox and in Boston that the club needs to re-sign him, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald opines.  It was reported earlier today that Napoli will test the market, though the Sox have already offered him a multiyear deal.
  • If the Red Sox signed Carlos Beltran, however, they wouldn't necessarily need Napoli, John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes.  Beltran could play left field, causing a few lineup shifts that would settle on Daniel Nava as Napoli's replacement at first base.
  • Center field is the most logical place for the Phillies to add offense, according to David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News, so the Phils should pursue someone like Curtis Granderson as an upgrade over Ben Revere.
  • Giancarlo Stanton is a "pie-in-the-sky target" for the Phillies, CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury writes.  A somewhat more realistic trade option could be Mark Trumbo, though Salisbury notes that the Phils lack the young pitching that the Angels want in return.  The Halos have been linked to Kyle Kendrick in the past, so Salisbury opines that Kendrick could be part of a Trumbo trade package.
  • Speaking of Stanton, Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill again reiterated that the slugger isn't available for trade offers, Hill tells MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.  Hill says the team is having "an ongoing discussion" about approaching Stanton with a long-term extension offer.
  • The Marlins' maximum payroll is expected to be in the low-to-mid-$40MM range, Frisaro reports.  This is a slight increase over Miami's $38MM payroll from 2013.
  • The Blue Jays haven't been very active in free agency under Alex Anthopoulos' watch but the Toronto general manager tells Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca that this could change this winter.  "It seems like with all the different things we’re looking to do, half of the scenarios are in free agency, half of the scenarios are in trade," Anthopoulos said.  He feels the Jays also still have enough minor league depth to offer in trades, though the farm system was thinned by last offseason's blockbuster deals.
  • It doesn't make sense for the Orioles to shop J.J. Hardy, MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski argues, since Hardy's importance to the O's is even greater in the wake of Manny Machado's injury.
  • In East division news from earlier today, MLBTR's Matt Swartz broke down Chris Davis' arbitration case, the Nationals could use their minor leaguers to acquire a starting pitcher, ESPN's Buster Olney discussed the Red Sox and the David Price trade market, the Yankees aren't interested in Ervin Santana but are prioritizing Masahiro Tanaka,

NL Notes: Stanton, Ruiz, Kershaw, Cardinals, Phillies

Here are some National League notes to round out the evening …

  • The Marlins are not going to trade star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton in the offseason, newly minted GM Dan Jennings emphatically asserted. As ESPN's Jim Bowden reports (via Twitter), Jennings said that "Mr. Stanton is not available" and that the team is "building around him."
  • The Rockies are making a run at free agent catcher Carlos Ruiz, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Incumbent Wilin Rosario would presumably get some or all of his playing time at first or in the outfield if Colorado were to land Ruiz. The soon-to-be 35-year-old backstop landed at number 29 on the list of MLB's top fifty free agents compiled by MLBTR's Tim Dierkes, who sees a return to Philadelphia as the most likely scenario.
  • Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers said yesterday that he was "curious" about free agency but "open-minded going into the off-season," Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reported. He also expressed some frustration with the recent reports that he turned down a $300MM deal from the club. Now, says Hernandez's colleague Steve Dilbeck, the team may be facing something of a catch-22: the team surely must sign him at some hard-to-fathom rate, but the risks are enormous.
  • Though the Cardinals' future remains unquestionably bright given the organization's array of young talent, says Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the club faces some significant questions. If Carlos Beltran can be brought back on a reasonable deal, Miklasz writes, it is possible that the club will use super-prospect Oscar Taveras in center with a combination of Beltran, Allen Craig, Matt Adams, and Matt Holliday at first base and the corner outfield. But if Beltran leaves, he says, it is not unrealistic to think the club might pursue Jacoby Ellsbury
  • The club's greatest hole, of course, is at shortstop. GM John Mozeliak needs to make a proactive move at this point, says Miklasz, either by signing a player like Stephen Drew or Jhonny Peralta or by trading from the team's pitching depth. Fellow Post-Dispatch writer Rick Hummel looks at some possible trade targets for the team.
  • For the Phillies to return to contention, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the club must spend big in free agency. Gelb says the club has ample room to increase spending above the $189MM luxury tax line if it wants, though GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has expressed hesitation. "Obviously, we had a lot less people coming to the ballpark this year," Amaro said at season's end. "We have to be cognizant of that. We have been greatly supported – our payroll was, what, $165MM? That should be enough to put a contender on the field." Dierkes sees the Phils as the front-runners for Nelson Cruz, Ricky Nolasco, Ruiz, and Edward Mujica, though he notes that it all depends whether the team is willing to tack on $40MM+ to its 2014 obligations.

Marlins Plan To Build Around Stanton In 2014

While there's been plenty of speculation regarding changes to the Marlins' front office lately, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports that there's little chance the team will make the ultimate change to its big league roster by trading Giancarlo Stanton this offseason. One MLB official told Frisaro he doesn't see "any scenario" where the Fish would trade their prized right fielder, and another source indicated to him that the Marlins would like to build around Stanton next season.

Miami controls Stanton through 2016, and his salary figures to skyrocket this offseason, as he is eligible for arbitration for the first time. Frisaro speculates that a salary north of $7MM is attainable, and notes that such a number is "highly affordable" for the Marlins.

Ideally, the club would like to extend Stanton, writes Frisaro, but they have some concerns about his durability. Those concerns would seem to be justified, as Stanton missed more than 40 games this season due to injury — most of which was the result of a hamstring issue that landed him on the disabled list. In 2012, he underwent knee surgery to remove loose bodies — a procedure that cost him a month of action. Stanton's raw power is arguably unmatched, but his total of games played has declined in each of the past two seasons. Assuming he plays all three games this weekend, he will have averaged 130 games per season from 2011-13.

If they decide to pursue an extension, one way the Marlins could increase Stanton's interest in remaining with the organization would be to bring in the fences, according to Frisaro. The slugger recently told Frisaro he thought Marlins Park cost him multiple home runs this season, adding: "I want the normal ones, too. Where I don’t have to crush it 500 feet all the time."

Frisaro notes that the team's payroll is likely to be around $37MM in 2014, which could make it difficult to supplement Stanton's bat with other solid hitters. However, the club currently has just $8.2MM committed to the 2014 payroll: $1.5MM to Jeff Mathis, $1.7MM to Greg Dobbs following yesterday's somewhat questionable extension, $4MM of Heath Bell's remaining salary and a $1MM option on Jacob Turner that is a lock to be exercised.

Steve Cishek, Ryan Webb, Logan Morrison, Mike Dunn, Justin Ruggiano and Chris Coghlan are eligible for arbitration in addition to Stanton. Even if all those players are retained and given raises, however, the team should have a bit of money to work with in free agency. One thing working in their favor is that the Marlins likely don't feel a need to spend heavily on starting pitching; Jose Fernandez, Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez each posted an ERA and FIP under 4.00, while Turner had a 3.74 ERA and 4.42 FIP.


Quick Hits: Red Sox, Stanton, Collins, A-Rod

For the Red Sox, 2013 has increasingly taken on the feel of a triumphant return to glory. Now enjoying a seemingly insurmountable division lead, the Sox have engineered one of the greatest season-to-season turnarounds ever. Jonah Keri of Grantland looks back on each of the key free agent signings made by GM Ben Cherington, arguing that the team's "passel of midlevel free agents" were hardly the overpays that they were labeled.  Here's more from around baseball..

  • The Phillies are still interested in Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says that he's tried to trade for him "at least ten times," writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.  Unfortunately for the Phils, Marlins president Larry Beinfest has rebuffed them each time and made it clear that they're not moving him.
  • A Mets source told Mike Puma of the New York Post (via Twitter) that manager Terry Collins isn't being evaluated by wins and losses in September.  "There's different criteria at different times of the year," the offical said.
  • Alex Rodriguez's attorneys fear that the MLBPA won't fight hard for their client as he fights a 211-game ban, writes Michael O'Keeffe of the New York Daily News.  Sources say that the relationship between team A-Rod and the union is rather uneasy at this point.
  • Twins pitcher Mike Pelfrey needs 10.2 innings to reach a $100K bonus and manager Ron Gardenhire won't get in his way as he says that he never lets bonuses affect his decisions, tweets Phil Miller of the Star Tribune.
  • Regardless of his light-hitting, Brendan Ryan left his mark on Mariners baseball, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.  The shortstop was traded to the Yankees earlier this week for a player to be named later.
  • Three years after signing Jayson Werth to a seven-year, $126MM deal, Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner says that he's still pleased about the deal, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.


NL Notes: Cubs, Weiss, Rockies, Manuel

On this date in 1961, 40-year-old Warren Spahn became the 13th pitcher in MLB history to win 300 games as he went the distance in the Milwaukee Braves' 2-1 victory over the Cubs. The complete game was the 317th for the left-hander, who also drove in Milwaukee's first run with a sacrifice fly. Spahn was enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973 with 363 victories, the most by any left-hander and the most by any pitcher who played his entire career in the live ball era. Here's more from this era's National League: 

  • Cubs catcher Welington Castillo is having a strong season behind the plate and he's showing the club he can be a valuable piece for the future. The same can't be said for the rest of the catchers in the Chicago farm system and the position is thin enough that GM Jed Hoyer said this weekend the front office plans to make acquiring more backstops a priority this winter, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.  
  • Walt Weiss signed only a one-year contract to manage the Rockies this season, but he told the Denver Post's Patrick Saunders he wants to return in 2014. "Yes, sure. I knew it wasn't going to be all fun and games," Weiss said. "I have been through enough Major League seasons to understand that you'll get beat up. But I want to be a part of building something special here. That's what drives me."
  • The final weeks of the season provide the Rockies a platform for cold-hard analysis, opines Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. The Rockies need more talent and Renck names Giancarlo Stanton and Nelson Cruz as aquisitions who could fill the club's void of a right-handed power bat and Jesse Crain should be a free agent priority as a much needed late-inning arm.
  • The Phillies need to provide clarity to their managerial situation, according to Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Brookover writes the assumption is Charlie Manuel will step aside for Ryne Sandberg and, if that is the Phillies' desire, the announcement should be made now so Manuel can use the remainder of the season as a well-deseved bow for being the franchise's winningest manager while also giving the players, who will be around when Spring Training opens in February, an idea of what they can expect from their next manager.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


East Links: Napoli, Sox, Stanton, Schierholtz, Yanks

There has been plenty of news out of baseball's Eastern divisions already today; the Phillies' agreement with Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is in jeopardy, the Blue Jays released Michael Schwimer and Alex Rodriguez has officially filed an appeal of his 211-game suspension. Here's more on a releatively busy August day for MLB's east coast teams…

  • An MRI on Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli's hips showed that his avascular necrosis (a degenerative hip condition he learned he had last offseason) has not worsened, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Bradford spoke to Napoli about his upcoming free agency, and Napoli said he feels more at ease this time around and is relieved to know that his condition hasn't worsened.
  • John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes that Red Sox DH David Ortiz doesn't think last year's team would have rallied to erase a 5-0 defecit and defeat the Astros 15-10 as they did last night. “I would say it was a lot of things going on and I don't think a lot of guys were focused on the things that we need to do to win ballgames.” Ortiz went on to praise Boston GM Ben Cherington and the team's front office for making tough decisions and reworking the entire organization in such a short time.
  • MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports that the Marlins never got to the point where they even received specific names in trade proposals for Giancarlo Stanton this July. Four high-ranking officials shot down a rumored blockbuster proposal from the Pirates involving Starling Marte and Gerrit Cole. Frisaro adds that the Marlins want to build around Stanton and will discuss a long-term contract this offseason.
  • There was less risk to keeping Nate Schierholtz around than there was in non-tendering him for the Phillies last offseason, opines David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Murphy questions GM Ruben Amaro Jr.'s claim that the team couldn't get a good look at Schierholtz last season as he missed time with a broken toe shortly after being acquired, noting that team could've tendered him a contract and just traded him at the end of Spring Training if they weren't impressed. However, as Murphy notes, Schierholtz alone would not have come close to solving all of the Phillies' 2013 problems.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman is operating under the assumption that he will have A-Rod for the remainder of the season, but he's also scouting the trade market for secondary options, writes MLB.com's Joey Nowak.