With rumors continuing to swirl around 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, Craig Edwards of Fangraphs took a close look at the value of the Marlins outfielder’s opt-out clause, and how it might suppress his trade value. It’s well-known by now that after the 2020 season, Stanton will have the power to opt out of the remaining seven years and $218MM left on his contract to pursue a new deal. Edwards examines scenarios in which Stanton ages well, normally and poorly, estimating his contract’s potential surplus (or dearth of) value in each instance based on projected WAR output. The obvious conclusion is that Stanton’s opt-out clause negatively impacts his trade value. He would be highly likely to opt out if he ages well or even normally, limiting the value he’d provide to his new team in each case. However, if he ages poorly, he’d most likely opt into the remaining seven years on the contract; in such a case he’d provide negative surplus value over the life of the ten years with his new team. The piece uses a series of charts to make a case. It’s a fascinating read from beginning to end, shedding light on the unique risk teams face in deciding upon the prospect value they’re willing to give up for a player who gets to choose whether to be with them for three years or for an entire decade.
More opinion pieces on Stanton on a slow Thanksgiving afternoon…
- Earlier this month, Eno Sarris of Fangraphs also wrote about Stanton, making the case that teams should be pushing hard to acquire the slugger. Sarris delves into a number of pros: he’s young, he’s not injury prone, he’s capable of incredible offensive output during his prime and his contract could potentially provide $100MM in surplus value if he ages well. The latter point is particularly interesting; Sarris makes the case that part of Stanton’s skill set lies in his plate discipline. Although there’s some swing and miss in the Marlins slugger’s game, he walks a lot and doesn’t often swing at pitches outside of the strike zone. Perhaps the most compelling part of Sarris’ case is the fact that Stanton is available at age 28, which is increasingly rare in an era where many of baseball’s superstars don’t become available to acquire while in their twenties.
- Stanton has a full no-trade clause in his contract, which is an even bigger roadblock for the Marlins than his opt-out clause. Buster Olney of ESPN (insider subscription required and recommended) writes that Stanton should take full advantage of this leverage. The Marlins have made it well-known that they want to cut payroll, and trading Stanton is the most obvious way to do that. Meanwhile, a wide variety of teams will want his potential 60-homer power if he comes at their reasonable price. Due to these factors, Stanton has all the power in negotiations, prompting Olney to express that the NL MVP ought to hold out for a trade to whatever team for whom he wishes to play. “Stanton is in no way obligated to the Marlins or their new ownership to solve their debt crisis for them,” Olney writes. “If they bring a proposal to him in the next week or two and Stanton has any reservations about playing for a team he’s not prepared to wholly embrace, he should say no.”