Baseball’s hot stove is preheating, but nothing major can really get cooking until the winter’s two big deals get done. The first, Japanese import Shohei Ohtani, appears to have no timeline. But the second, the expected trade of Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, sounds like it’s gathering momentum.
Stanton and his agents met with executives from the San Francisco Giants Thursday night, when they were expected to make their case to the 28-year-old outfielder to approve a potential trade. Stanton has a full no-trade clause, and effectively has full say over where he goes. The meeting was first reported by South Florida radio host Craig Mish, and subsequently confirmed by multiple reporters. And per MLB tampering rules, the meeting wouldn’t have been allowed without the Marlins’ approval.
We actually have some details on what a Stanton trade might look like. Jon Morosi says the Giants’ offer would likely include 2B Joe Panik, RHP prospect Tyler Beede, and OF prospect Chris Shaw. Maybe not an overwhelming haul, but it’s far from the most important part of the deal. This is:
Stanton is owed $295 million over the next 10 years, with an opt-out clause after 2020. The Marlins’ new ownership has a ton of debt from its purchase of the franchise. As desperate as they are to get out from under Stanton’s contract, they’re even keener to make sure that they’re not stuck with much of the bill—they’re reportedly demanding any interested trade partner assume at least $250 million of what Stanton’s owed. If the Giants (or anyone) would agree to take on all of it, well, the Marlins will probably make that trade.
There’s one complicating factor: By all accounts, Stanton wants to go to his hometown team, the Dodgers. And because of his no-trade clause, he doesn’t have to go anywhere else. He could just refuse to waive the clause to every other team, and the Marlins would be stuck in the position of either accepting the Dodgers’ offer, or not trading him. The Dodgers, meanwhile, don’t really need an outfielder—and they definitely don’t need nearly $300 million more on the books. They’re in luxury-tax hell, and hopeful of getting out within a few years. Stanton would make that all the more difficult.
So this is where things stand. The Giants want Stanton. Stanton wants L.A. L.A. doesn’t want to pay Stanton. The Marlins want whoever gets him to pay him. There are a lot of moving parts, but all of MLB is waiting.