For the past three years, Giancarlo Stanton‘s name consistently appears when discussions about trades begin. After all, the Miami Marlins are known for shipping talent out of town once they become expensive – Miguel Cabrera, Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez, etc. Needless to say, Miami fans were likely waiting before shelling out the money to buy a #27 jersey.
Now, the Marlins seem to desire locking up their young star with a long-term contract – quite the opposite of shipping him out of town. And according to sources, it looks as though Stanton is interested in it as well. But the main question still remains – should Stanton trust the sketchy Jeffrey Loria and suspect Marlins organization with his future?
Let’s break it down…
The guaranteed contract-nature of MLB is reason enough for Stanton to agree to a deal with Miami. Rumors have it that a Stanton extension will cost the Marlins between $28 million – $30 million per year (meaning our first $300 million total deal is within reach). When you consider that Stanton’s salary is just $6.5 million (before arbitration it was actually just $537,000), it becomes immediately evident that a $20+ million pay raise is more than just enticing.
For a 25-year old (happy birthday three days ago, Stanton), $30 million is hard to say no to regardless of who is offering it. Stanton’s youth, health and production forecast a long and fruitful future as well. Just think, if he signs a 10-year deal, Stanton will be just 35 years old when he is up for another extension. For many players, 35-years old is still the prime years for some. In fact, just yesterday Michael Cuddyer (35-years old) signed a $21 million two-year deal with the New York Mets – and I’m willing to bet Stanton is even more productive than Cuddyer at that age.
The bottom line is that the money which is about to be thrown at Stanton will be hard to anyone to pass up, himself included.
The Salary Dump
The biggest cautionary tale for Stanton’s looming decision comes from 2011 and 2012.
Remember when the Marlins became the “Miami Marlins” instead of the “Florida Marlins” and proceeded to excite their fanbase with a brand new stadium and loaded team? In one offseason, the Marlins spent $191 million in guaranteed contracts on three players – Heath Bell (3 yrs/$27 million), Jose Reyes (6 yrs/$106 million) and Mark Buehrle (4 yrs/$58 million). Less than 12 months later, all three were gone in trades.
For Stanton, the money may be enticing, but thanks to owner Jeffrey Loria, there will always been that looming question as whether or not Stanton will be shipped out when the team is not winning. At least with free agency Stanton could choose himself as to where he would like to play, as opposed to being traded.
With any other team, Stanton might be able to take ownership at their word if they promised him they would build a strong contender around him for a long time. Yet in Miami, that is anything but the case with Loria. We can assume that the Marlins are unwilling to include a “no-trade clause” in Stanton’s contract as well, as they did with Reyes and Buehrle. In doing so, they would be giving Stanton yet another reason to continually look over his shoulder for the next ten years.
More Important – Money or Winning?
For Jeffrey Loria, the answer to the question above has always been “money”. Sure, it’s great when winning comes along as well because that means more money. But what does Stanton desire more – money or winning?
There is no denying that if Stanton were to leave Miami, he would become one of the richest players in the game wherever he went – even if he didn’t get the massive $30 million/year contract like he might down South. But if Stanton has aspirations on more than just sitting at home watching October baseball at home, he may want to look elsewhere than Miami for his first big contract.
In the 22-year history of the Marlins franchise, there have been just seven winning seasons and two playoff appearances (World Series wins in 1997 and 2003). If Stanton does decide to stay in Miami for the long-term, history tells us that many of his years will be spent on sub-par teams. That is exactly why Stanton must first decide is money or winning is more important to him for the long haul.
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