None of us know where the Marlins sale will lead and what sidebars will come as a result, but this has become one of the most talked-about subjects among baseball people. One reason there’s so much intrigue is the elephant in the room — Giancarlo Stanton and his enormous contract.
There’s been plenty of speculation as to how it will end up, but there’s been significant chatter in a few organizations, most notably the Phillies, which tends to indicate the Marlins could have a route to dealing Stanton.
One scenario I heard in Philadelphia this past week was that the Phillies would not only seek Stanton but would also need Christian Yelich in any deal with Miami. The reason is that the Phillies don’t have the best outfield prospects.
An outfield of Yellich and Stanton would give the Phillies two formidable lineup bats to build around with prospects or free agents.
Just two days ago, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports explored the same issue, but the prospect of the Marlins actually trading Stanton looks slim. The expectation is that the Marlins will trade other veteran players, but Stanton is somewhat of a wild card:
Marlins people aren’t commenting on trade talks, and Stanton’s name isn’t coming up in trade talks yet according to sources, but one person with knowledge of the sale talks says on the issue of Stanton and his record deal: “It matters what the new owners want to do.”
Rivals confirm the Marlins have “shown no inclination” to trade Stanton to this point. But it could be a whole new ballgame once a new owner takers over.
However, Stanton was given the very first no-trade clause in Marlins history and have to approve any deal.
The $325 million contract includes a whopping $218 million during the last seven seasons. In the smaller market of Miami, new owners may not want to enter their ownership of the Marlins with that financial commitment, which amounts to $31.14 million a season. The Phillies, who have a very strong television deal with Comcast and could sell more tickets with the addition of Stanton, might be more inclined to take such a risk, particularly if potential free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado might command a contract of even $40 million annually for a longer term.
The Phillies ownership wants to win, and while the Phillies have a number of prospects, none necessarily project to the lineup anchors for the long-haul. While the Phillies may have to give up a good amount of talent to acquire Stanton, the system is deep enough to absorb a large trade. Even though the prospects might turn out to be strong players, the acquisition of a Stanton would move the rebuild forward like the acquisition of Jim Thome did in 2003, changing the baseball culture in Philadelphia.
Stanton can opt out of his deal after year six, which is year 2020. Stanton's deal included minimal salaries in 2015, 2016, and 2017, before blossoming to $77 million for 2018, 2019, and 2020, at which point Stanton can opt out of his deal, or stay for the remaining $218 million over the remaining seven years. While opting out of the deal could be worrisome, Stanton will be 31 years old and may not get a seven-year commitment further. The Phillies could add Stanton knowing that the latter-part of the deal might included some of Stanton's diminished seasons.
No matter what, this report shows that the Phillies are at least thinking big and that Phillies leadership is looking to make a splash in one way or another. Whether it comes in the form of a Stanton, Harper, or Machado remains to be seen. But with the financial wherewithal and prospects to trade, the odds that the Phillies do something significant might be great.