Back in February, Sports Illustrated had a neat cover story on slugger Giancarlo Stanton, his injury last season, and the Miami Marlins’ new strategy of not fielding an embarrassing team. For a minute, the article really convinced the reader that owner Jeffrey Loria cared about his franchise. Stanton even gave a detailed explanation of his decision to sign with the Marlins long-term:
When he ultimately signed, on Nov. 19, he did so for three central reasons. One was that he genuinely loves his adopted hometown, which reminds him of the European cities he explores every winter. “I could go anywhere,” he says, “but if we win here, I’d rather be here over any place, any other city.”
The second was that he looks at the young players that the Marlins have assembled around him, and he believes in them: in Jose Fernandez, the 22-year-old ace who will return from Tommy John surgery at midseason; in his fellow outfielders Marcell Ozuna, 24, and Christian Yelich, 23; in Adeiny Hechavarria, the 25-year-old shortstop. “Never are we going to be the biggest market, have the highest payroll, none of that,” Stanton says. “And the players that we have, they’re still not the biggest names, most people aren’t going to know who they are. But in terms of pure talent, they’re there.” Stanton agreed to backload his contract—he will make less than $15 million in each of its first three years, and over $25 million in each of the remaining ones—to allow the Marlins to sign some of his contemporaries to their own long-term deals.
The third reason was that he believed Loria’s days of rebooting his franchise were over, and the best proof was Stanton’s own $325 million offer. “Why would you give me so much money and not try to win?” Stanton asks. “What on earth is the point of that? They have to be serious about winning going forward. There’s no other logical explanation.”
Fast-forward to this week, where Loria fired Mike Redmond, general manager Dan Jennings took over as manager, and a lot of Stanton’s comments became unintentionally funny. The idea that the Marlins had turned the corner was tantalizing, but, as usual, appeared to be too good to be true.
There is a bright side here, though: Marlins fans still get to watch Stanton bash baseballs, like this one from last night, which lingered in the air for what seemed like an eternity. Savor the sound of the bat:
Pitcher Jeremy Hellickson’s reaction was wonderful:
Giancarlo for president.
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