Giancarlo Stanton Rumors

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.

NL East Notes: Stanton, Mets, Nationals, Tomas, Hamels

As expected, the Marlins have begun extension talks with star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports on Twitter. President of baseball operations Michael Hill tells Spencer that the team has “reached out” to Stanton’s representatives and that “negotiations are ongoing.”

Here’s more from the NL East:

  • At present, the Mets are more inclined to fill their needs in the corner outfield via trade than through a free agent signing, reports Marc Carig of Newsday. New York is still hesitant to give up any of its best young talent in a swap. But veterans like Michael Morse, Alex Rios, and Torii Hunter all seem more like fallback options that the team would pursue if value can be had and nothing better has materialized. The Mets are said to prefer to add a right-handed bat.
  • One other hypothetical possibility, Nick Markakis, is not presently engaged with the team in any way, according to Matt Ehalt of The Record (Twitter link).
  • As they weigh their options at second, the Nationals are not unmindful of the Cuban market that has begun to materialize in recent weeks, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports. The primary possible targets, per Wagner, are 26-year-old Jose Fernandez and high-upside youngster Yoan Moncada. The 20-year-old Moncada will draw immense interest, with Ben Badler of Baseball America saying he is talented enough that he would be the odds-on favorite to go first overall in this year’s amateur draft (were he eligible).
  • The Phillies are still the favorite to land Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, with A.J. Burnett‘s decision to decline his option possibly burnishing Philly’s chances. That does not mean they are without competition, of course. Other clubs that have seen (or will soon see) Tomas since his showcase include the Rangers, D’backs, Giants, Dodgers, Padres, Red Sox, and Mariners.
  • Also per Heyman, the Phillies could clear yet more payroll space and add young talent through a deal for pitcher Cole Hamels, with the Cubs still showing interest in the lefty.

Quick Hits: Stanton, Mariners, Rios, Payrolls

The Marlins hope to have Giancarlo Stanton signed to a long-term extension before the Winter Meetings, Miami president of baseball operations Michael Hill tells Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (audio link).  Hill said that Jose Fernandez‘s rehab from Tommy John surgery is going well but the team is “not going to push anything because he is so valuable to us.”  Not included in the audio link, but available via Bowden’s Twitter feed, are Hill’s remarks about wanting to add another starting pitcher and a big bat to the Marlins’ roster this offseason.

Here’s some more from around baseball…

  • Ten hitters who the Mariners could pursue via trades or free agency are listed by Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News TribuneVictor Martinez, Michael Cuddyer and Billy Butler seem to be Seattle’s likeliest targets, Dutton believes, while players like Melky Cabrera (desire to play on the East Coast), Nelson Cruz and Yasmany Tomas (salary demands) seem unlikely to join the M’s.
  • Alex Rios is likely viewed by the Mariners and other teams as “a fall-back option” if their preferred outfield choices aren’t available, Dutton writes.  “Few if any” scouts would sign Rios to a two-year contract, though a one-year deal worth no more than $10MM “could be a reasonable…risk.”  MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes predicted Rios would find a one-year, $8.5MM deal this winter.
  • A number of trends emerged from a study of how the last 46 playoff teams allocated their payroll, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.  Spreading salaries around seemed to be a key factor — only nine of the 46 teams spent more than 17% of their Opening Day payroll on a single player, and the teams averaged 54.5% on their five most expensive players.  Of the 46 teams studied, only two had a highest-paid player who was also their most productive player (according to WAR).
  • With offense down, starting pitchers (maybe even the top arms) could see their market diminished in free agency this winter, ESPN’s Buster Olney writes in his latest Insider-only piece.  Conversely, this also raises the value of free agent hitters, plus some teams could receive some big returns in trades for quality bats.  Olney lists a few hitters that have already been mentioned as possible trade candidates (i.e. Yoenis Cespedes and Cubs‘ middle infielders) as well as longer-shot options as Manny Machado.
  • Mike Elias, the Astros‘ director of amateur scouting, discusses Houston’s scouting department, some prospects the difficulty in accurately grading hitting and a number of other topics as part of a wide-ranging interview with Fangraphs’ David Laurila.

Gammons’ Latest: Sandoval, Hochevar, Stanton

There have been several memorable performances this postseason, “but Madison Bumgarner has not only helped write this October’s script, he wins the Oscar for best actor,” Peter Gammons writes.  Bumgarner’s phenomenal work in the playoffs (only six earned runs allowed in 47 2/3 IP) has already earned him a spot in baseball history, though the Royals still have a chance to get the last word in the World Series.  In a separate piece on his Gammons Daily website, Gammons shares a few news items…

  • A member of the Giants ownership group “said there is a swelling thinking” that the Red Sox will sign Pablo Sandoval as a free agent this winter.  “The bigger the stage, the better he plays.  He would love Boston,” the Giants official said.  San Francisco is no small stage itself, of course, and rival general managers tell Gammons that they think the Giants will re-sign their star third baseman.
  • One GM predicts that Luke Hochevarwill be a big item this winter” in free agency.  The former No. 1 overall draft pick struggled as a starter in the majors but had a fantastic season out of the Royals bullpen in 2013.  Hochevar missed all of 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and, if healthy, would be a nice under-the-radar pickup for teams looking for relief help.
  • Gammons believes the Marlins can’t trade Giancarlo Stanton before his contract expires at the end of the 2016 season.  “If they do, owner Jeffrey Loria’s credibility will take such a further hit that he may have to sell for the Marlins to ever be accepted,” Gammons writes.  I’m not necessarily sure this would be the case — if Stanton makes it clear he won’t sign an extension with the club, Miami fans obviously wouldn’t be happy, but they’d understand that a trade would be a logical move for the Marlins to get a big return.