Giancarlo Stanton Rumors

Cafardo On Stanton, De Aza, Porcello, Drew, Britton

In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders if Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton could wind up with the Red Sox.  Marlins GM Dan Jennings swears up and down that Stanton isn't going anywhere and even if he was for sale, Boston would be one of many clubs in pursuit.  If things suddenly changed and the Fish made Stanton available, Cafardo wonders if a package of Will Middlebrooks or Garin Cecchini plus Matt Barnes, Christian Vazquez, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts could get a deal done.  More from today's column:

  • The Twins have some interest in White Sox outfielder Alejandro De Aza, who is getting interest even though he's not everything a club would want in a center fielder, leadoff type.  Last season, De Aza slashed .264/.323/.405 with 17 homers in 675 plate appearances.
  • Major league sources say the Tigers are still willing to listen to offers on Rick Porcello. While he has shown promise, Detroit would like a hurler with more consistency.
  • The bidding for Ervin Santana has reportedly come down to the Orioles and Blue Jays.  Cafardo hears the Rockies were also in it for some of the day while the Phillies did their due diligence but did not appear to be in the hunt.
  • Bud Norris could be an alternative if Tommy Hunter can’t do the job as Orioles closer, but he also has trade interest and could have some appeal in the NL.  For budgetary reasons, the O's probably wouldn't go for Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, but it's possible if the Angelos family believes that they have a chance to win it all.
  • One Red Sox player says that he's not crying for free agent Stephen Drew.  “Why not accept a $14.1 million qualifying offer for one year?” the player said. “Is that a bad deal? That’s a lot of money. Stephen would be here playing with us by now if he’d done that.
  • Scouts are watching Orioles pitcher Zach Britton closely as he is out of options. Still only 26, Britton is still a pitcher scouts think they can salvage.  The O's are aware of his value and the interest other clubs have, but could stash him in the bullpen if they can’t get good value for him.

NL East Notes: Rollins, Phils, Stanton, Harvey, Lagares

Jimmy Rollins spoke with MLB.com's Todd Zolecki regarding the team's struggles last season and noted that 2013 was just one year, and he is looking forward to a new chapter. Rollins spoke about trade rumors that surrounded his name last summer, noting that he had no plans to waive his 10-and-5 rights if asked. Rollins, who is just 60 hits shy of becoming the franchise leader, said he doesn't plan on ever playing for another club: "I don't plan on putting on a different uniform," he said. More links pertaining to the Phillies and the NL East…

  • Until the Phillies share their side of the Ben Wetzler controversy, the team will simply look vindictive, opines David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer. He adds that the Phillies clearly thought they'd be able to sign Wetzler, who instead returned to Oregon State for his senior season and is now unable to play after the Phillies notified the NCAA that they feel he violated the "no agent" rule. Murphy goes into detail on how the vast majority of draft prospects circumvent this rule.
  • The only rationale that Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan can see for the Phillies' decisions regarding Wetzler and Jason Monda (who also declined to sign but has already been cleared by the NCAA) was to send a message to future draftees: "Sign or face, at the very least, an extended, attention-grabbing inconvenience." Like Murphy (and many baseball fans), Sullivan hopes to hear the Phillies' side of the story and their explanation behind making what he calls an "unambiguously bad decision" that seemingly benefited no one.
  • Greg Stoda of the Palm Beach Post writes that Giancarlo Stanton is ok with the fact that the Marlins don't want to have extension talks until after the season. Stanton said that Freddie Freeman's recent eight-year, $135MM extension with the Braves won't be on his mind this season, though he did tip his hand a little in stating, "The contract would be similar, I guess."
  • Mets ace Matt Harvey tells Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that he's been cleared to begin tossing a baseball in the next couple of days. Rubin writes that Harvey is not yet resigned to missing the entire 2014 season, but the Mets have stated in the past that Harvey will not pitch in 2014. "I'd always love to pitch and get back out there, but I don't make those decisions," said Harvey.
  • Newsday's Marc Carig writes that despite his elite defense in center field, Juan Lagares isn't a lock to be an everyday player for the Mets in 2014. Carig talked with an official from another club whose background is in analytics, with that official noting that a key factor in defensive metrics is a need to factor in regression due to the volatile year-to-year nature of defensive numbers.

Quick Hits: Harden, O’s, Arroyo, Stanton, d’Arnaud

32-year-old righty Rich Harden is not retiring, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com. Though he has not played professionally since 2011, and had a comeback bid with the Twins fall apart last year due to multiple, ongoing injury issues, Harden will apparently give it another go. Harden has been brilliant at times in his career, and owns a lifetime 3.76 ERA over 928 1/3 innings (including 9.2 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9).

Here are a few more notes to round out the evening:

  • One factor in Bronson Arroyo's decision to sign with the Diamondbacks rather than the Orioles, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, was the fact that Baltimore had scrapped deals with Grant Balfour and Tyler Colvin over concerns with their physicals. The O's offer was on par with that of the D-Backs: it was for slightly less guaranteed money, but carried a greater third-year option value. While Connolly writes that other factors — including a preference for the NL West — certainly played a role, he says that the risk of a deal falling apart at this stage of the off-season weighed substantially in Arroyo's decision-making process.
  • The Marlins have made clear that they hope to extend star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, but MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports that Stanton still wants to see what the organization does moving forward. "I want some team security as well," Stanton said. "I'm very pleased with how things panned out for me. But I would like to see it grow. I have my security, somewhat now. I'd like to see a team full of that, which we are going in the right direction." The 24-year-old slugger inicated that he does not expect to engage in talks until after the coming season. "In order for the team to have security," he said. "that doesn't happen in two seconds. That happens over a season or over two seasons. You show me that, and we can get something going."
  • A major factor in the rebuilding process of another NL East club — the Mets — is the development of young catcher Travis d'Arnaud. Though he struggled at the plate in limited action last year, the backstop comes with an excellent pedigree with the bat. Promisingly, moreover, he also showed signs of adding value in another area, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com: in his short season of work at the MLB level, d'Arnaud flashed outstanding pitch-framing ability.


Marlins Want To Extend Giancarlo Stanton

The Marlins have told star Giancarlo Stanton that they wish to sign him to a long-term extension, GM Dan Jennings told Jim Bowden of Sirius XM MLB Network Radio (Twitter link). Miami hopes to work out a deal sooner rather than later, according to Jennings.

Needless to say, the contract situation of Stanton has been one of the most watched in the game. He recently agreed to a one-year, $6.5MM deal to avoid arbitration, but reports have suggested that extension talks were not underway. Stanton is currently set to reach free agency before the 2017 season. If the Fish can lock up their best position player, he would join young ace Jose Fernandez as a franchise cornerstone under team control for the foreseeable future.


Marlins, Stanton Not Talking Extension

Recent negotiations between Giancarlo Stanton and the Marlins focused purely on the arbitration-eligible outfielder's 2014 salary, not on a long-term extension, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports. "From the outset, I think it was in everyone's interest to try [to] reach a fair and amicable settlement on a one-year contract," says Stanton's agent, Joel Wolfe of the Wasserman Media Group. Stanton, who will make $6.5MM this season, is due for free agency after 2016.

Due to the Marlins' reputation, there will be questions about whether they plan to trade Stanton until they sign him to a long-term deal or actually do trade him. They plan to keep in Miami in 2014, however. Stanton hit .245/.365/.480 in 504 plate appearances for the Marlins last season.


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,