On Sunday afternoon, MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reported on a potentially blockbuster trade offer made by the St. Louis Cardinals. St. Louis and general manager Mike Girsch made a formal trade offer to the Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.
The deal has yet to be further reported on by Morosi and other sources, but the Marlins have been actively shopping the power-hitting right fielder for quite some time. It’s crucial to keep in mind that Stanton, fresh off of a historic 59-home run, 132-RBI season for the NL East team, possesses an enormous contract backloaded with money few teams have. In addition, the 28-year-old holds a full no-trade clause and can veto any deal presented his way.
However, the Cardinals clearly have some money to spend. St. Louis landed in the bottom-half (16th in baseball) in payroll during the 2017 season and look ready to absorb a heavy contract like that of Stanton’s, which averages $25 million per year until 2028. By that time, the 6-foot-6 righty will be 38 years old.
Stanton’s contract doesn’t seem as heavy as it might appear five years from now, however. 2018 is slated to have a seismic free agent market, including Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, Andrew McCutchen, Dallas Keuchel, Andrew Miller and potentially even Clayton Kershaw and David Price if they decide to use their opt-out abilities next year. Considering what those players would garner on the market, $25 million isn’t too bad.
Miami, on the other end, have a new ownership group (led by 14-time All-Star Derek Jeter) that wants to rid of their heavier contracts and create, essentially, their own team. The team was crippled with debt under former owner Jeffrey Loria, and Jeter’s group reportedly plans to reduce the payroll from a franchise-record $115 million to about $90 million next season.
The Marlins have been bleeding money for awhile, and haven’t qualified for the NL postseason since 2003’s World Series run. They finished second in the NL East in 2017, but for the eighth-straight season tallied a losing record (77-85). Miami seemingly needs a change and would command a bounty of prospects from St. Louis if Stanton went the other way.
The Cardinals have a solid outfield already, with Dexter Fowler and Stephen Piscotty locked up long term in addition to Tommy Pham‘s emergence in left field. Their inability to utilize Stanton as a designated hitter in the National League makes for an interesting set of outfield depth chart questions.
What exactly it will take from St. Louis is beyond anyone’s knowledge, but Miami would get the prospect package their depleted farm system needs. The Cardinals’ top-five prospects via MLB.com are right-handed pitchers Alex Reyes and Jack Flaherty, catcher Carson Kelly, and outfielders Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader.
If the two teams pull the trigger on the transaction, those prospects are the ones to watch. Nonetheless, Giancarlo Stanton controlling a larger package of farm players would not be surprising at all.