The Giants have joined the Cardinals in announcing that Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton has rejected the chance at a trade. Both clubs had worked out deals with Miami and then sat down with the slugger to convince him to waive his no-trade protection.
In combination with the earlier announcement from St. Louis, this operates as a huge shift in the market for Stanton — one of the game’s preeminent stars, its highest-paid player, and a nearly-necessary trade piece for the cost-cutting Marlins. The Giants and Cardinals were both willing to take on at least the bulk of Stanton’s contract. It’s not clear at all that other teams will do so.
Stanton, of course, is under no obligation to green-light a deal. He bargained for his no-trade protection and has every right to use it however he sees fit. But his stance has certainly jammed things up for the Marlins, who have little alternative but to find a trade that he’ll authorize given the team’s determination to oversee a drastic payroll reduction.
The only reason that Stanton ended up meeting with these two teams, of course, is that they were the preferred matches from the Marlins’ perspective. Now, with both evidently out of the picture, the Fish will have to be fishermen, seeking another team to take the hook.
Indications last night were that Stanton has indicated he’d be open to joining the Dodgers, Yankees, Astros, or Cubs. But only the first two of those clubs have been tied to Stanton in any meaningful way, and both are also reportedly uninterested in taking on the full $295MM still owed to Stanton, owing at least in part to luxury tax considerations. Working something out, then, will surely require some creative accounting work. And there’s also little question that the Dodgers and Yanks will milk their leverage for everything it’s worth.
It’s tempting, perhaps, to label this an instance of miscalculation by the Marlins. Entering the winter with new ownership and a new payroll plan, the team certainly did roll the dice that it would generate enough interest and that Stanton’s no-trade rights would not pose too great an obstacle. Clearly, there’s some blame to be distributed around South Beach.
At the same time, it’s understandable in some regards that the organization penciled in finding an acceptable Stanton deal — and disappointing in some respects to see this situation unfold this way. The Marlins were the relatively rare small-market team that was able to extend a youthful star. When circumstances changed, they might have reasonably hoped to have some way of relieving the pressure. Stanton, after all, is still in his prime and just wrapped up an MVP performance. As things stand, though, it seems that the Miami organization may end up stuck in the middle of baseball’s two biggest-spending clubs — unless, at least, they can find a way to cook up a new strategy after Plan A evidently failed.