I woke up last night in a deep sweat.
I was having the worst nightmare imaginable: my fiancee left me, it was raining spiders, and the St. Louis Cardinals picked up Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins.
I kid, of course. Stanton remains a Miami Marlin for now, but perhaps that nightmare isn’t too far away from reality. [Brett: So … are the other two things happening or no?]
At USA Today, Bob Nightengale reports that the Marlins have been receiving calls from teams registering their interest in the 27-year-old slugger, and the Cardinals were among them. To be sure, the other teams mentioned (San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers) also make plenty of sense, but it’s obviously the Cardinals whose addition of Stanton could impact the Cubs the most (both this season and for the ten more he’s contracted to after 2017).
But before you start thinking about the seven more games the Cubs play against the Cardinals this year, you can unclench. For one, Nightengale seems to believe that a deal for Stanton is far more likely to come this offseason (same as Jon Heyman), when every team in baseball will be more freely able to bid on the slugger, rather than the few remaining days before the September 1 waiver trade deadline. For another, the Giants are reportedly the team that has expressed the most interest in Stanton to date.
But even still, the Cardinals have been attached to Stanton since July, have a clear need for an impact bat, and are very likely to be in the running if and when he’s made entirely available. And remember, while Stanton is owed $295 million over the next ten years (i.e. starting in 2018), the Cardinals just offered $200 million deals to Jason Heyward and David Price, neither of which were accepted. So, in other words, they clearly have cash to spend. (Plus: Nightengale seems to believe that the Marlins would be willing to eat up to $75 million, but that seems purely speculative.)
In addition to having the money, the Cardinals have the “most prospects of any team interested in Stanton,” according to Nightengale. Which, maybe. Alex Reyes is the highest ranked prospect (according to MLB Pipeline) from any of the Cardinals, Giants, Phillies, or Rangers, but that’s a conversation for another day.
As for some other usual suspects, Nightengale suggests that the Yankees are out, as they try to dip below the $196 million salary cap next year (remember, the penalties are much more severe now), the Chicago Cubs “have enough stars,” and there’s no room in Boston’s outfield. On the latter two, those are pretty weak arguments against – you always make room for MVP-caliber player – but I can understand the logic.
In any case, with new owners in Miami, it’ll be hard to predict their actions. But it certainly seems likely that Stanton could be on the move this winter, and if he is, the Cardinals seem as likely a landing place as any.
Even if the Cardinals don’t get seriously involved (and even if the Cubs don’t either), it would be fun to follow an offseason of 50-homer-slugger rumors.