Details about the contract Giancarlo Stanton is signing with the Miami Marlins have started to leak out, and they're staggering: $325 million over 13 years, $50 million more than Alex Rodriguez's landmark 10-year, $275 million deal signed in 2007. The deal also includes a no-trade clause and opt-out clause, all details that were first reported by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com ... or some guy named Christopher Meola.
Last night, Meola sent numerous tweets to various sports media members and websites with details about Stanton's contract, half a day before Heyman's report. As you can see, they're the same details that Heyman reported (and which Ken Rosenthal confirmed). We didn't do anything with the tweet because, well, we get a lot of random tweets and e-mails, and this one didn't have even the whiff of legitimacy.
Getting the headline numbers was pretty impressive, especially because a 13-year deal is nearly unprecedented, and not really the sort of thing you'd come up with by throwing darts. But knowing that there were no-trade and opt-out clauses—and getting the detail that the opt-out clause triggers when Stanton is 30, which nobody else has reported yet, but which is probably dead on—is very specific, and very impressive.
When I called Meola (I only knew his phone number because he tweeted it at other reporters) a youngish sounding man answered the phone. From a little bit of research, I had gathered that he lived in the Miami area and worked in marketing.
I asked how he came to know this information before established baseball reporters, and he was expectedly evasive. He said people at "an establishment" that he's a regular at know he's a huge baseball fan, before he trailed off and mentioned checking in with a source. Meola says he was told on Tuesday, and found out that the contract was officially signed on Wednesday, which doesn't quite square with Heyman's reporting that Stanton and the Marlins are "closing in" on a contract. This could, though, just involve different understandings of the signing process, which involve multiple contracts, documents that MLB needs to sign off on, etc.
Meola wouldn't tell me much about how he came to know very specific details about the contract, saying that it was from a source and "just one of those things that because ... all I can say is that the information got back to me very quickly."
At least one reporter took Meola seriously: Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal. Meola says Rosenthal followed him on Twitter and traded a series of direct messages about the knowledge that Meola had. Rosenthal unfollowed Meola by the time he announced his confirmation of Heyman's report, leading Meola to call him out:
Three minutes later Meola got his credit:
Jon Heyman did later as well, sort of:
And as it turns out, that's all he wanted. I asked him why he tweeted at a bunch of reporters with his information rather than starting a blog, or trying to get a website (like Deadspin, for instance) to let him write a story. Meola responded that "it was just big for me because I'm a huge fan of the team." He says that he began by tweeting at local Marlins reporters (his first tweet included two of them), and then just started tweeting at reporters that he liked.
"I have nothing to lose or gain in the situation," said Meola. "I just said, 'Throw me a little bit of credit.'"