In recent weeks, a couple things have become as clear as things do in the murky waters of rumor season:
(1) The Marlins very much intend to trade All-Star slugger Giancarlo Stanton as soon as practicable; and
(2) The Cardinals are very interested in making a deal happen.
At last check, the Cardinals reportedly are willing to offer one of their top young arms (unidentified for now) in a deal for Stanton, though the real question will always be about how the $295 million remaining on his contract will be sorted out.
But there’s actually one other logistical wrinkle to be worked out: Stanton does have no-trade rights. There are rumors out there about where he might prefer to go, but – outside of some joking on the Jimmy Kimmel Show – he hasn’t really gotten into where he’d like to be, if he had the choice. Will he hold the Marlins hostage to go to his preferred destination?
And will he shut them down if they try to trade him to St. Louis?
That’s the scenario presented by Jon Heyman, writing in the context of a trade to the Cardinals: “While the Marlins are looking to trade Stanton, and Stanton told FanRag Sports he isn’t up for yet another rebuild, he is in control of the situation due to his complete no-trade clause and people around him on the team suggest they believe Stanton probably would prefer to go to one of the coasts. Stanton hasn’t stated any of his preferences, but while winning is his No. 1 priority, the belief is that he’d prioritize the East and West coasts ahead of the Midwest.”
You can certainly imagine a scenario where the Phillies are in on Stanton (as they are rumored to be), or maybe the Red Sox are truly willing to blow out the luxury tax limit, and Stanton tells the Marlins to keep working on deals with those two, even though the Cardinals have come to the table with a good offer.
I would forgive you for fantasizing about the fun of the Marlins and Cardinals executing a trade, only to have Stanton say he doesn’t want to go to St. Louis.
(Sure, there are versions of a Stanton deal that I actually would WANT the Cardinals to make, because that contract could easily become an albatross. But if he just flat said no to them, I’m not sure I am mature enough not to laugh (and laugh (and laugh)).)