Giancarlo Stanton is likely being traded this offseason. We know this much about the Marlins' slugger. What we don't know, and maybe no one else knows, either, is just what a trade of Stanton is going to look like.
There are a number of complicating factors at play with any Stanton deal. For one, he's owed at least $295 million over the next 11 seasons. The average annual value is "just" $25 million, which for luxury tax purposes isn't extraordinary, but again, it's a deal for a player who could very well already be under contract for the entire rest of his MLB career, so the money we're talking about here is unheard of. The Dodgers and Red Sox didn't move this much money in one deal back in 2012, and that megatrade involved multiple expensive contracts.
The Marlins aren't going to pay for any of it. The whole idea behind trading Stanton is that the new Miami owners want to reduce payroll while the team rebuilds, so they won't have to spend for a talent like Stanton while they're losing if they deal him. Maybe they'll chip in a little bit just to get out from under the whole, but by and large, Stanton's contract will be his new team's responsibility.
The Marlins are going to want serious young talent back in exchange for Stanton, who is the likely National League MVP this year after mashing 59 homers, one of the top 10 single-season totals for dingers all time. Asking for serious prospects — to the point of maybe pushing someone with a weak farm system like the Giants out of negotiations altogether — while also asking for Stanton's new club to pay for all or almost all of the remaining $295 million on his contract is a serious ask. On the other hand, Stanton did just hit 59 dingers, and will be 28 in 2018.
To make matters that much more difficult, Stanton also has an opt out after the 2020 season. This could create the real negotiating sticking point in any Stanton talks, as teams trying to acquire Stanton won't want to give up too much for a player they could have for three seasons, while the Marlins can argue that even just three seasons of Stanton should be atop everyone's holiday wish list. And the Marlins would not be wrong to say so.
If Stanton had three seasons left on his deal, no contending team would blink at giving up major prospects and young talent in order to get what is, presumably, the missing piece in a championship puzzle. Which brings us to reality again: Any team getting Stanton is likely hoping he opts out after three years so they don't have to deal with the expensive risks of Stanton's bat slowing or injuries taking their toll or whatever could befall him over the next decade-plus.
That creates this weird balance of "We want Stanton on our team, but not for too long, but if we end up stuck with him after his opt out because of X, Y, or Z, we really are going to wish we hadn't also given up all of these players to get him and maybe you could chip in some cash for those later seasons just in case?" while the Marlins are just sitting there going, "Are you in or are you out?" to everyone on the line.
Oh, and one more thing: Stanton has a full no-trade clause, so all of these issues need to be worked out and he needs to want to go to the team they’re worked out with.
Watching all of this unfold is going to be fascinating, and hopefully much of the negotiations play out in public so we can see how the Marlins end up building to a completed deal. There are so many concerns on both sides, and none of them are wrong, exactly, so they'll all have to be taken into consideration.
- Mookie Betts was a competitive bowler in high school, and was once again competing in the World Series of Bowling during the offseason this past weekend. In one of this 40 qualifying games, the Red Sox star bowled a perfect 300.
- ESPN has their annual Hot Stove Survey of 40 MLB insiders, asking them the key questions of the offseason on players like Stanton, Shohei Ohtani, and more.
- What terrifies fellow SB Nation newsletter-er Matthew Collins about the Stanton rumors is that they are full of unknowns.
- The Braves have hired former Blue Jays' GM and current member of the Dodgers' hive mind Alex Anthopoulos as their new general manager.
- The Marlins aren't the only ones cutting payroll this offseason, as the White Sox are looking at returning to 2005 levels.
- The Brewers are reportedly looking to topple the Cubs in 2018 with some help from one of their best pitchers, Jake Arrieta.
- Fish Stripes envisions what the Marlins would look like if Derek Jeter filled the roster with his former teammates and rivals.
- The Giants are interested in Jackie Bradley Jr., which feels like one of those rumors that has existed for half-a-decade now.
- According to Jon Heyman, all nine players who received a qualifying offer are expected to reject it.
- Let's wrap up this Stanton-focused edition of Say Hey, Baseball with a look at the Cardinals' competition for the slugger.