It’s gotten to a point where it isn’t a matter of if the Miami Marlins will trade star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton this offseason, but when. A report from Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports names the San Francisco Giants as the “early favorites” to land the powerful righty bat, but teams like the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies are also possible destinations.
The one potential hiccup is that Stanton has a full no-trade clause, not to mention a minimum $77m on the $325m deal he inked with Miami back in 2015. Even if Stanton agrees to waive the clause, the Marlins and new owner Derek Jeter won’t have much bargaining power in terms of return package since it would so obviously be a salary dump on Miami’s end.
Either way, one thing is certain. Of the following teams that could make a play for Stanton, his presence would make for an immediate upgrade to the lineup.
1 Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays have not yet been linked to Stanton but are still an intriguing option. Mark Zwolinski of The Toronto Star discussed the possibility of Toronto acquiring him last month and though the Blue Jays' chances are slim, Stanton would be a great fit at the Rogers Centre.
Consider this. Toronto plays in the hard-hitting and home run happy AL East, home of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The aging Jose Bautista will also become a free agent this winter, opening a hole in right field. Stanton's powerful swing would be a great fit for the Blue Jays and help ease the loss of Bautista, plus he would also have the DH spot so he could conserve his strength.
Stanton would cost the Blue Jays a pretty penny, likely speedy prospect Anthony Alford along with established major league talent, but that's just the price of building a winning team. In a competitive division, Stanton would instantly give Toronto a shot at first place.
2 Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies seem like the most unlikely destination for Stanton, particularly because the Marlins should be hesitant to trade their best player to a division rival.
Despite that, Philadelphia is an excellent location and market for the slugger. Money isn't an issue thanks to a multibillion-dollar TV deal with Comcast, plus the payroll is light as it is. The only guaranteed contract on the books belongs to Odubel Herrera, and he will make a mere $3.35m
Put Stanton in an outfield with the hotshot Rhys Hoskins and a budding Nick Williams, and the Phillies could be back in contention in the blink of an eye, and all for the cost of probably Aaron Altherr and other prospects.
3 Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox, like the Toronto Blue Jays, are a tricky destination regarding Stanton. There isn't really a spot for him in the outfield, but the Red Sox really need a big bat in the heart of the order after ranking just 27th in baseball with 168 home runs as a team.
Front office head Dave Dombrowski may have to convince ownership to allow him to take on Stanton's contract, even if he can opt out after three years, because tiny Fenway Park could be heaven for Stanton. He could easily become the most feared Boston hitter since David Ortiz and given how badly Miami wants to unload him, the Red Sox may only have to part with Jackie Bradley Jr. and some prospects.
4 San Francisco Giants
It's funny how the Giants have emerged as the front-runners for Stanton, especially since they already have Hunter Pence penciled in as the starting right fielder.
But therein lie the means by which San Francisco might trade for Stanton. Pence, though he'll turn 35 in April, has just one year left on his contract valued at $18.5m. That's more than the Marlins may want to take on in a trade involving Stanton, but Pence would provide them with a big enough name that could still draw fans to the ballpark.
Moreover, if Christian Yelich and/or Marcell Ozuna are traded too, then the financial burden on Miami's end decreases more.
San Francisco would surely have to give up a prospect like Chris Shaw in the deal, but it would all be worth it to have Stanton in the Bay Area.
Throw in that Stanton is a California native who is said to prefer playing out west if moved, and this trade makes even more sense.
5 St. Louis Cardinals
This trade is tough given Stanton's West Coast preference but in terms of the pieces needed to make the move, look no further than St. Louis.
I regularly make the joke that the Cardinals are the San Antonio Spurs of MLB because of how deep they are as a team. If one starter gets injured, a prospect can come up from the minors and it's as though the injury never happened at all.
It just so happens that St. Louis has plenty of prospects available to send to the Marlins in a potential trade. Starting right fielder Stephen Piscotty is a prime chip in this case as he will only earn $1m in 2018 and is playing on a seven-year, $33.5m deal, and is just the low-cost option the Marlins would want for Stanton.
Throw in that the Cardinals have other fine prospects in Tyler O'Neill, Harrison Bader, Jack Flaherty and much more, and this is a potential trade that could get done relatively quickly.
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