Miami Marlins: Will Derek Jeter trade Giancarlo Stanton?
New Marlins owner Derek Jeter plans to cut the team’s payroll this winter, but moving others instead of Giancarlo Stanton may be more realistic.
The Miami Marlins have a new owner in former New York Yankees shortstop and future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter and if a report from Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald is true, he and co-owner Bruce Sherman are ready to take a hatchet to the payroll.
Per Spencer, Jeter and Sherman plan to cut the payroll to $90m next season, down from the estimated $140m it would be with no roster movement this winter. This means that star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton could be on a new team in 2018 if ownership gets its way.
A hard deal to sell
There’s no doubt that a trade involving Stanton, who set career highs in 2017 in hitting .281 with 59 home runs and 132 RBI, would bring a king’s ransom to Miami. The soon-to-be 28-year-old is one of the most feared hitters in the game and on top of MLB-ready prospects, the Marlins would also receive great minor league talent in any trade involving him.
There’s just one problem. Trading Stanton could wind up costing the Marlins more than it would to keep him, especially from a long-term perspective. The NL MVP candidate is three years into a 13-year, $325m contract signed back in 2014 and earned $14.5m this past season. His salary jumps up to $25m next year and to $26m in 2019 and 2020. Stanton can opt out of the contract following that season.
Suddenly, shades of Alex Rodriguez come to mind. The former star shortstop and third baseman made history when he signed a history-making 10-year, $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers prior to the 2001 season, and he only lasted three seasons in Texas before being traded to the New York Yankees for Alfonso Soriano. As part of the deal, Texas had to pay $67m of the $179m remaining on the contract.
Stanton’s contract is much bigger and depending on which team potentially acquires him, the Marlins will almost definitely have to cover some of the remaining cost. This could wind up being counterproductive to Jeter’s goals to turn the team into a winner. The Rangers did not make the postseason in any of Rodriguez’s years with them and did not return there until 2010. Miami has not been in the playoffs since winning the World Series against Jeter’s Yankees in 2003, so fans are understandably getting restless. Moving Stanton makes little sense if it is just going to prolong the drought, especially if it is because the Marlins will continue paying him despite his being on another team.
The Marlins also have other trade chips they could deal instead of Stanton and still see an excellent return. Outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich made a combined $7m last season, and Ozuna set career highs with a .312 batting average, 37 home runs and 124 RBI. Ozuna also has two more years of arbitration and is about to turn 27, so he could fetch a nice prospect package of his own.
The same can be said for Yelich, who turns 26 in December and hit .282 with 18 home runs, 81 RBI and 16 steals in 2017. Yelich also has four years remaining on a $49.5m contract and will earn just $7m next year, and he and Ozuna combined for a 10.9 WAR this season. They also have two All-Star appearances, a Gold Glove, and a Silver Slugger between them, so it’s not as though either man would be a consolation prize for any team unable to land Stanton.
Miami could also look to move speedy infielder Dee Gordon, who earned $7.5m in 2017, or even veteran Martin Prado and the two years and $28.5m he has left on his deal.
The point is that Stanton is the Marlins’ main draw right now and should not just be traded for the sake of slashing payroll. The new owners must also think about the bigger picture and realize that the goal of a $90m payroll can probably be met without trading the slugger away.
Either way, one thing is certain. Miami just became a team to watch hard this offseason.