I know we all have Game One of the NLDS on the mind, but if you allow me to take a break from the madness for a moment (i.e. the series preview, the lineup, the start times, and Max Scherzer’s pending return), there are some interesting rumors percolating around baseball about Giancarlo Stanton.
As most of us know, the 2017 home run champion and (arguably) NL MVP front-runner is expected to be made available this winter, as the new owners of the Marlins look to hit the reset button on the franchise.
And while, yes, every team in baseball would love a crack securing one of the most talented and well-liked players in the game who happens to be only 27 years old, I’ll remind you that his existing contract (10 years/$295 million) remains relatively prohibitive for most teams – most teams, but not all.
At FanRag Sports Jon Heyman is hearing from sources that the San Francisco Giants, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the St. Louis Cardinals were all recently confirmed as the “most aggressive” suitors for Stanton. Each could make a ton of sense, given their respective outfield situations and deep pockets. Let’s take a closer look at each.
According to Heyman, the Cardinals, who recently said they were searching for a middle-of-the-order bat, certainly have the money and the prospects to pull off a deal and were connected to the slugger earlier in the year. Heyman lists pitching prospects/youngsters Alex Reyes (the Cardinals top prospect, who may actually be untouchable as he recovers from Tommy John surgery), Jack Flaherty, Luke Weaver, and Sandy Alcantara as potential pieces of a theoretical deal. While watching the Cardinals exchange some cheap, young, top pitching prospects for an expensive, slightly older slugger wouldn’t be the end of the world, I think you’re rooting interests are for Stanton to stay clear of St. Louis.
The Phillies, on the other hand, don’t have the pitching prospects the Cardinals have, but do have attractive middle infield depth and plenty of cash from their TV mega deal. Like the Cardinals, the Phillies were connected to the Miami slugger earlier this season. With that said … although intra-divisional trades aren’t impossible, they become more tricky when superstars are involved. We’ll have to see if anything comes of this one.
And finally, there are the Giants, who also have a need for a run producer and space in the outfield. Apparently, there’s rumors floating around that they might not have the money to pull it off, but Heyman doesn’t buy those rumors, and suggests the Giants’ overall competitiveness might be the limiting factor for Stanton, who has a full no-trade clause.
Although these three teams are reportedly the most aggressive, they are far from the only options. Alongside them, Heyman lists the Dodgers, Angels, Yankees, and Red Sox, each with varying levels of interest and ability to pull off such a deal.
In case you’re wondering, no, I don’t think the Cubs would be willing to part with the money or players it would take to get Stanton out of Miami, especially not with the upcoming free agent classes and a relatively loaded outfield. Plus, after emptying the cupboard earlier this season, it would likely cost players from the Major League roster to acquire Stanton and I just don’t see that happening right now – even if Stanton is totally awesome (and he is). [Brett: My gut says, if there’s a pricey outfielder the Cubs might stretch to accommodate, it’s Bryce Harper.]
I can’t say for sure that Stanton will be moved this winter, but it sure feels very possible, given the rumors this season and the suggestions from the new ownership group. On top of that, Heyman guesses the Marlins should be willing to kick in some money on a deal (so it doesn’t look like a salary dump) and that could help move things along, too.
So, yeah, brace yourself for some big-time trade rumors this winter. That’s going to be fun.