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.