While rumors continue to swirl about the Boston Red Sox interest in trading for Giancarlo Stanton, the Miami Marlins demands remain unreasonable.
This should have been easy. The Boston Red Sox desperately need a power hitter to anchor their lineup and are one of the few teams with the financial resources to take on the massive contract of home run king Giancarlo Stanton. A Miami Marlins team under new ownership intent on slashing payroll has little choice but to deal their superstar at a point where his value will never be higher coming off a career year.
The stars are aligned for a perfect match between the two franchises. So what’s the holdup? It appears any progress on trade talks has been stalled by the unreasonable expectations of the Marlins.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the feeling from rival executives is the Marlins asking price for Stanton is “shockingly high and somewhat out of touch with reality.”
If you’re a Marlins fan, you may be thinking that they should ask for the moon. After all, this is an MVP candidate who led the majors with 59 home runs this year! That’s all true, but the harsh reality for the Marlins is that they can’t possibly expect to receive a haul that comes anywhere near the value Stanton is worth. Not with that contract.
Stanton’s mammoth deal owes him $285 million through 2027, plus a $25 million option that includes a $10 million buyout. He’ll be paid as an elite player until he’s 37 years old, by which point most players typically see significant declines.
There are exceptions, of course. David Ortiz was an elite slugger in his final season at age 40. He also spent the vast majority of his career as a designated hitter, which helped preserve his body for a lengthy career. If the Red Sox acquired Stanton he would almost certainly need to become a DH at some point in that contract, which would limit his value. There’s a reason Ortiz never made more than $16 million per season.
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Few teams can afford to add Stanton’s $25 million salary to their 2018 payroll, let alone take on the long-term risk of a contract that will hinder financial flexibility for another decade.
We also have to factor in Stanton’s full no-trade clause, which gives him some leverage in these trade talks. He won’t agree to a deal that sends him to a team that isn’t a contender. It has also been rumored that Stanton would prefer to play on either coast, weakening the chances of a suitor in the Midwest. Boston meets both criteria, which improves their chances.
Miami can ask for a massive prospect haul all they want but it doesn’t mean they’ll get it. With limited suitors to work with, they may be in for a rude awakening.
Earlier this week we outlined some ideas on what a reasonable offer from the Red Sox for Stanton would look like. You’ll notice that Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts are nowhere to be found in that hypothetical offer. Nor or top prospects Jay Groome or Michael Chavis. Boston won’t give up any of those talents if Miami insists on them paying Stanton’s entire contract.
The Marlins need to decide if they value an improved prospect haul over greater financial savings. If they are willing to eat a portion of Stanton’s remaining salary, perhaps teams will be willing to surrender more assets. They can either acquire a top prospect or wash their hands of that massive contract, not both.
Thus far it seems Miami disagrees. They may be delusional, yet keep in mind that we’re still early in the offseason. The Marlins will inevitably lower their asking price once they realize there aren’t any teams foolish enough to cave to those unreasonable demands.
It would behoove the Red Sox to wait for that moment. With a number of free agent sluggers serving as potential backup plans if they decide to pivot away from a Stanton trade, Boston can afford to be patient.