After one of the more exciting playoff runs in recent memory, baseball is now entering into what many consider to be its most intriguing season – the hot stove season. Many questions will be answered this winter before pitchers and catchers report, and even more questions will likely arise. But if you’re looking for just one place to focus your interest on this offseason that is guaranteed to give you all the baseball drama you can handle, look no further than the ever-fluid roster of the Miami Marlins, and in particular slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
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Stanton paced the league this past season with 59 home runs and 132 rbi, all while posting a ridiculous .281/.376/.631 slash line, and a 6.9 WAR season. Stanton is clearly one of the game’s best players, and after signing a record setting 13-year, $325 million contract before the 2015 season, one would think he would be a mainstay on South Beach for the foreseeable future. But as any Marlins fan knows, things are never as they seem with this team. The new ownership group led by Derek Jeter has hinted multiple times at slashing payroll in order to finally rebuild properly, and that would seemingly have to begin with not only shedding Stanton’s increasingly-onerous salary, but getting major building blocks back in return. Stanton has also very publicly made known that he will not endure another rebuild, and that he is more than willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to a contender. Given all of these factors, a blockbuster involving Big G seems all but a certainty at this point.
With the proper surroundings, Stanton’s is the type of bat that can be the difference between being World Series contenders, or middle of the pack hopeful, and likely just about every team in the league will make a run at him. Several landing spots would make sense for different reasons, and be attractive to both teams and player. But two landing spots have emerged as front-runners, with both the Giants and Cardinals having made formal offers for the Miami slugger. Both deals are said to involve at least one top prospect, and most, if not all of Stanton’s remaining contract. The Cardinals deal is said to revolve around pitching prospect Sandy Alcantara, and the Giants deal also around a starting pitcher in Tyler Beede. The Dodgers and Yankees have also been in touch, but are not said to be overly serious contenders in the matter. All of this, of course, hinges on Stanton waiving his no-trade clause in order to go to one of these teams, and the Giants are said to be the favorite, unless the Marlins can somehow strike a deal with the Dodgers. Another element to a potential deal is that while Stanton would make the Dodgers instant World Series favorites, he likely would not do the same for the Giants or Cardinals, so the question remains whether it would even be worth taking on a contract that provides no guarantees of success. So while a deal seems imminent at this time, there are some who feel that it provides more questions than answers for both sides. But in baseball, and especially with a deal of this magnitude, only time will tell.