The Red Sox, Cardinals, Giants and Phillies are early contenders to put together a trade for Marlins superstar Giancarlo Stanton, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports (on Twitter). There has been “preliminary communication” regarding the right fielder between each of those teams and the Marlins, according to Morosi, who adds that talks are likely to “intensify” at next week’s general managers meetings.
With the Marlins primed to slash payroll under new owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, Stanton stands out as their most obvious trade candidate. The 2017 major league home run king (59) and National League MVP finalist is owed either $295MM through 2028 or $77MM through 2020, depending on whether he exercises his opt-out clause. The amount of money left on the contract, the opt-out and Stanton’s full no-trade rights could combine to make a trade rather complicated. But the 27-year-old Stanton’s no-trade clause may not be a major hindrance, given that he is fed up with losing and would like to join a contender. The Marlins appear poised to embark on a lengthy rebuild, so it seems doubtful Stanton would stand in the way of a deal if he feels the acquiring team would give him a chance to play meaningful games into the fall – something he hasn’t done since bursting on the big league scene in 2010.
While the Marlins have never even posted an above-.500 season during Stanton’s eight-year career, the Red Sox, Cardinals and Giants have typically served as contenders during that span (though San Francisco’s coming off a major league-worst 68-win season). The Phillies, meanwhile, have finished toward the bottom of the NL East for five years running, but several of their young players showed progress in 2017, and the club figures to return to its high-spending ways when it’s officially ready to leave its own long rebuild behind. Stanton reportedly wasn’t willing to waive his NTC to go to Philadelphia as of late in the season, though, and it could also hurt the team’s cause that it shares a division with the Marlins, who would have to face the p.r. backlash of dealing the face of their franchise to a close rival.
As with the Phillies, there are reasons why a Stanton acquisition would and wouldn’t work for each of the other three suitors (and several other teams), as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd deftly laid out on Thursday. Regardless of whether the Marlins ultimately send him to one of the four front-runners or another club, the Stanton sweepstakes will go down as one of the most fascinating sagas of the offseason.