The Miami Marlins want/need to cut their payroll.

Giancarlo Stanton makes the most money on the roster.

Thus, trading Stanton is the easiest way to cut payroll without blowing up the team’s entire core.

However, Stanton is also the face of the franchise, their best player, and will presumably be announced as the NL MVP on Thursday. Miami can’t trade him just to cut payroll, because they would be a much worse team in 2018 and would anger a fanbase that has been given the short end of the stick numerous times in recent years.

On Wednesday at MLB’s GM meetings, new Marlins owner Derek Jeter said that trading Stanton wasn’t a given, which opens up a whole new set of questions.

“There are some financial things we have to get in order,” Jeter said. “That’s the bottom line. It’s an organization that’s been losing money for quite some time, so we have to turn that around. How we do that is not clear. It’s easy to point the finger at [Stanton] because he makes the most money, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the move that’s going to be made.

“I understand the assumptions. I do. But we have not come out publicly and said we are trading any particular player. I’ve been a player. You don’t like to see your name constantly in the rumors that are going back and forth with every organization. You can drive yourself crazy. So we have not come out and pointed the finger specifically at any one player.”

Last month, I broke down the silliness of trading Stanton just to cut payroll. Sure enough, teams interested in Stanton aren’t keen on giving up a bounty of prospects *and* taking on his entire contract.

If Jeter holds firm in not wanting to trade Stanton just to trade him, that’s good! But that also means that if he and the Marlins really want to cut payroll, they’re going to need to do it elsewhere. Unfortunately, their other high earners (Wei-Yin Chen, Dee Gordon, Martin Prado, Edinson Volquez) don’t have a ton of value, meaning they wouldn’t get much of a return if they looked to unload the full contracts of those players via trade.

In baseball, it’s not often that the highest-paid player on a team is also the best player, the most marketable player, and the player that could bring back the best return.

The Marlins find themselves with three options in regards to a Stanton trade, if all of these reports have some truth to them.

  1. Trade Stanton, don’t eat money, get a disappointing return of prospects
  2. Trade Stanton, eat money, get an impressive haul of prospects, still need to cut payroll elsewhere
  3. Don’t trade Stanton, still need to cut a lot of payroll

It’s a rough situation, especially if teams continue to play hardball with Miami in regards to a trade because of Stanton’s contract.

What a mess. I can see any of those situations end up happening, and if the Marlins deal Stanton for a middling return, Miami fans have a right to be pissed off at their ownership. Giancarlo Stanton is not Vernon Wells. Trading him is not a salary dump, and the Marlins can’t look at it that way.

About Joe Lucia

I'm the managing editor of Awful Announcing and the news editor of The Comeback. I also made The Outside Corner a thing for six seasons.