Whenever a team falls under new ownership, change throughout the organization is inevitable. That’s why when Jeffrey Loria sold the Miami Marlins to a group that included Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush, people started speculating about the futures of several of those in the organization. Those talks caught fire when Jeter announced that he wanted to drop their $130 million payroll down to around $95 million. All heads turned towards superstar rightfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who still has $295 million remaining on the 13-year $325 million extension he signed a few years back. The Marlins brass have already begun fielding offers for Stanton, so let’s take a look at where the MVP candidate could land.
But first, let’s get to know Giancarlo. He’s been with the Marlins since he debuted in 2010 at the age of 20 and was known as “Mike” Stanton until 2012, when he elected to start going by his birth name of Giancarlo. Mike is a middle name. Stanton is known for not only his great size but prolific power. He stands at 6’6 and 245 pounds of solid muscle and at the age of 28, he is already the Marlins franchise leader in career home runs with 267, including a franchise record 59 in 2017. Stanton won the 2016 home run derby (which I had the honor of helping set up for) by SHATTERING all kinds of records. Before Stanton in 2016, the record for home runs in a single derby was 41 by Bobby Abreu in 2005. Stanton hit 61. I could go on about this guy’s accomplishments but I think you get the point.
It’s also important to know the details of Stanton’s contract. The bulk of the contract will take into effect starting in 2018, where he will earn at least $25 million for the remainder of it and will top out at $32 million between 2023-25. He can, however, opt out of this deal in 2020 and become a free agent. His contract also includes a full no-trade clause, so no matter what kind of deal the Marlins are able to strike, Stanton has the final say on where he goes. Stanton has made it clear he wants to play for a contender, which is something the Marlins have not been since they won the World Series in 2003. But given how large his contract is, not only from a financial standpoint but in duration as well, a lot of teams may be scared off, particularly the smaller market teams. So with all these factors in mind, let’s take a look at some potential landing spots for Stanton.
Los Angeles Dodgers
This one almost makes too much sense. First of all, money isn’t an issue for this franchise. At one point under the current ownership group that includes Magic Johnson, the Dodgers had nine players making at least $20 million a season. NINE. They’re more than capable of taking on another big contract in Stanton, who is from Panorama City in the Los Angeles area. The Dodgers also have the prospects to send the Marlins. This list includes (with their MLB.com prospect ranking in parentheses) pitcher Walker Buehler (10), outfielder Alex Verdugo (23), pitcher Yadier Alvarez (45), outfielder Jeren Kendall (73), outfielder Yusniel Diaz (76), and catcher Keibert Ruiz (100). The Marlins have arguably the weakest farm system in the majors, as they don’t field a single player in MLB.com’s Top 100 prospects. If I’m the Marlins, Stanton is going to command at least three of these guys. Let’s look at what the Red Sox gave the White Sox for Chris Sale as an example. The White Sox received four prospects, two of which ranked in MLB.com’s Top 10 (Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech). So one would have to think that Stanton would have to command at least that much, given that he plays everyday whereas Chris Sale, a pitcher, only plays every five days. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Marlins asked for all of them. Not only is Stanton a heck of a player, but his power will bring in large crowds and will sell a lot of jerseys, so the risk would be worth it to me.
New York Yankees
This could be an interesting one. The Yankees are notorious for how much money they can dedicate to their payroll so Stanton’s contract isn’t an issue. What could be an issue is the Yankees don’t have a ton of prospects left after a bunch of them either reached the majors or were dealt for talent. However they do still have Gleyber Torres, who is MLB.com’s number 1 prospect. He missed much of last season with Tommy John surgery (he’s a shortstop) but as a developmental guy it’s hard not to be excited about his potential, especially considering the Marlins don’t have much at shortstop after trading defensive wizard Adeiny Hechavarria. The Yankees also have pitcher Chance Adams (52), outfielder Estevan Florial (78), pitcher Justus Sheffield (79), and third baseman Miguel Andujar (91). It’s a lighter group than what the Dodgers have to offer, however the Yankees do have one trade chip that could rock the baseball world if they were to include him and that’s AL Rookie of the Year and MVP candidate Aaron Judge. Judge only made a little over $500K this season so that’s a LOT of cap space the Marlins could clear away for a similar style of player. I don’t think the Yankees would be willing to part with their young superstar, but if I’m the Marlins, I definitely would try and throw the name in there.
Boston Red Sox
This one is a little less likely because Stanton said that the Red Sox are one of two teams that he likely wouldn’t waive his no trade clause for (the Cardinals being the other). But if Stanton could be convinced otherwise, then the Red Sox could present an interesting package of players. The Red Sox have the money to support the contract, however they lack the prospects. Pitcher Jason Groome and shortstop Michael Chavis are the only Red Sox prospects in MLB.com’s Top 100 list and they come in at numbers 42 and 92, respectively. However the Red Sox have a bunch of young talent currently in the Majors, such as outfielders Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, and third baseman Rafael Devers. Betts is likely off limits but the others are very possible. Of the guys I listed, only Bogaerts and Bradley make over $1 million ($4.5M and $3.6M, respectively) so they make sense as contracts for the Marlins to take on. I don’t envision the Red Sox pulling off a trade for Stanton, but they do have some options should they become desperate.
Chicago White Sox
Now this one might seem a bit random, but hear me out. The White Sox may have struggled a bit this season but they’ve pulled off a lot of savvy moves to rid themselves of a bunch of big contracts and acquire a lot of top prospects. The White Sox have the deepest farm system in baseball and it’s not even close. Not counting former #1 prospect Yoan Moncada, who used up his eligibility this season, the White Sox can offer outfielder Eloy Jimenez (4), Michael Kopech (9), outfielder Luis Robert (22), outfielder Blake Rutherford (39), pitcher Dylan Cease (57), and pitcher Alec Hansen (90). The White Sox also have pitchers Lucas Giolito and Carson Fulmer, who have spent time at the top of many prospect lists. Only 3 players that finished the season with the White Sox made over $1 million last season so they have all the cap space in the world for Stanton. I can’t imagine that Stanton would accept a trade to the White Sox, however, as they are a few years from contending, unless they make a couple of big free agent pickups to help build around first baseman Jose Abreu. But the White Sox could be a sneaky team in this scenario.
San Francisco Giants
This is actually the team I’ve heard the most rumblings about in regards to a potential Stanton deal. Like with the Dodgers, Stanton’s California roots could incite him to accept a trade to San Francisco. The Giants were BAD in 2017, but with a manager as good as Bruce Bochy, I don’t anticipate them being down for long. Plus, odd number years have been struggles for the Giants this decade, so that would suggest that they are due for a big 2018, though I doubt Stanton is looking too deep into that. The Giants may be a little strapped cash-wise, as they’ve got a lot of money dedicated to a few players, including over $10 million each for Denard Span and Hunter Pence, both of whom were very ineffective in 2017. Prospect-wise, the Giants have third baseman Christian Arroyo (56) and that’s about it. Arroyo played a decent amount for the big club last season, however he hit just .192 in 125 at bats in his brief stint. Ultimately, I don’t really get why the Giants are a candidate, but they are the team I’ve heard about the most as being in on Stanton so that’s why they make this list.
There are of course numerous others that could be in on the Stanton sweepstakes but these are the teams that I think have the most to offer. I personally think that the Dodgers make the most sense, as they have the cap space and the developmental talent. Are there any teams I missed? Let me know in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10.