Giancarlo Stanton is hitting home runs at a ridiculous, historic pace; he clubbed his 50th last night, and we might well see someone challenge Roger Maris’s 61 for the first time since Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa demolished it in the late ’90s-early ’00s.
That’s been enough to improbably vault the Marlins to the fringe of playoff contention entering the final month of the season; Fangraphs currently puts their odds of a Wild Card berth at 14.5%, which is not overwhelming, but also much better than the 3.3% chance the site gave them on August 1st.
Turns out one player can make a big difference in baseball, all it takes is for that one player to hit home runs almost every night. Stanton cleared waivers a few weeks ago, likely because no team wanted to be on the hook for Stanton’s entire remaining contract, which amounts to $295 million over 10 years starting in 2018. But, now, having witnessed this power surge, it appears that there are some teams who are quite interested in how Stanton would fit going forward, if the price is right in terms of prospects and/or Miami eating a bit of Stanton’s megadeal.
Enter USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, who is very convinced the Marlins need to trade Stanton, despite the fact that he’s very good, still young, and Miami has new ownership who probably don’t want their first move to be something straight out of the Jeffrey Loria playbook:
The difference now, of course, is that when Stanton is traded, Jeter will be in charge.
Sure, no one likes trading away a star, but the Marlins simply have no choice this time. This is a franchise already with more than $400 million in debt. They simply can’t be viable economically with a player whose salary jumps from $14.5 million to $25 million in 2018, escalates to $32 million, and doesn’t stop until 2028.
Oh, and forget that opt out clause in 2020. No one walks away from seven years and $218 million.
The Marlins, who want to keep their payroll around $100 million, simply can’t have one-third of their payroll tied into one player, no matter how many homers Stanton hits.
Let’s face it, considering Stanton’s injury-plagued past, his trade value may never be higher.
That last sentence, though, is indeed true; if Stanton hits 60+ home runs this year, regardless of the league’s increased home run rate on the whole, that’s a player sure to command a ton of interest on the open market. And Nightengale seems to have just the team in mind to make the move:
But finally, the Marlins say, teams are calling, with the Giants expressing the strongest interest, a high-ranking Marlins’ executive told USA TODAY Sports.
Stanton’s preference would be the Dodgers, where he grew up in the Los Angeles area and still lives during the offseason. But sorry, the Dodgers’ days of wild spending are over, vowing to shed payroll.
You can count out the New York Yankees, who also are trying to drop below the $196 million salary cap next year. The Chicago Cubs have enough stars. There’s no room in the Boston Red Sox outfield. He has already been through enough rebuilding years not to stomach another few in Philadelphia.
The ideal match is the Giants, who not only are desperate for a slugger, but a marquee star, with their sellout skein of 530 consecutive games ending this summer.
That’s some back-of-the-napkin logic from Nightengale, who isn’t exactly a 100% reliable source of information. And SB Nation’s Grant Brisbee broke down why the idea isn’t as feasible as Nightengale would have you believe.
But, it is an interesting thought, and San Francisco is certainly a team capable of paying a contract like Stanton’s. They’re also perpetually seeking outfield offense, too.
Is it likely to happen? Hard to say! Anything can happen. The Marlins keeping Stanton still seems like as good an option as any for them, contract and all. But if they are determined to trade him, the Giants make sense as one of the teams who would be the most interested.