You might’ve actually heard about this, but Giancarlo Stanton is really good at baseball. Like, really, really good. He came within one home run of hitting SIXTY bombs in 2017, so that’s reason enough to be a popular topic of discussion throughout the offseason amongst baseball fans, but there’s more to it than that.
After the Marlins were sold to a group that Derek Jeter is at the forefront of, the ownership group made it very clear that their goal is to cut payroll down to somewhere in the $90 million range. As of today, the Marlins have already committed $131,725,000 to the 2018 roster, and $25 million of that is set to be paid to Stanton. One might correctly assume that in order to get closer to that target payroll of $90 million, you have to unload Stanton.
Somewhat easier said than done, I suppose. Sure, there will be suitors for the slugger, but only so many teams can afford a player that is still owed $285 million guaranteed over the next 10 years, while also having a prospect package, which could also include a major league player, that’s enticing enough to acquire a superstar.
Stanton’s contract also includes a $25 million club option for an 11th year that could make the total commitment $310 million over the next 11 years. By the way, that 2028 option includes a $10 million buyout. There are two very important details in Stanton’s record contract — the first being that he has an opt-out after the 2020 season. If he opts out, then the receiving team would be on the hook for $77 million over three years. Not bad. Not bad at all.
The second major detail is that Stanton has a full no-trade clause. So, if you were curious as to why Stanton’s preference was important this offseason if he’s not a free agent, it’s because he can literally shoot down any deal that he wants. It’s also hilarious how candid he was about wanting to play for the Mets. The organization is currently a dumpster fire, which is par for the course, and his reasoning for not wanting to play there is that he’d much rather play against them. Stanton has a .928 OPS against the Mets in his career, and he’s hit more home runs against them than any other team in baseball (35). Fair enough.
Some interesting comments about the Dodgers and Red Sox, though. He grew up a Dodgers fan, so obviously there’s going to be an element of appeal with any player when presented with the opportunity to play for their hometown team, even more so if they’re coming off a World Series title or at least the chance to get back to one after losing. Money is not an object to the Dodgers, either, so say Stanton goes to LA, loves it there and puts up monster numbers, he’d feel pretty good about opting out and re-signing for even more money.
As far as the Red Sox go, you heard it right from the horse’s mouth that Stanton doesn’t mind switching to a full-time DH, or at least getting a majority of his at-bats as one. Of course, that would present an issue if Hanley Ramirez isn’t healthy enough (or willing enough) to switch back to being the team’s everyday first baseman in 2018 with Mitch Moreland headed to free agency this winter. However, Hanley underwent shoulder surgery following the conclusion of Boston’s season, so if it was his shoulder issues that were preventing him from playing first base every day last year, then I’d be interested to hear what his excuse would be if his shoulder is now surgically repaired.
Of course, the Mets, Dodgers and Red Sox won’t be the only teams to come calling to inquire on Stanton this winter. The Cardinals, Giants and Yankees also come to mind. I’m sure there will be others beyond those aforementioned teams, too. It’s not often that a player with 60-homer power who’s headed into their age-28 season will be up for grabs. Easily going to be the biggest storyline to follow this offseason.