SAN DIEGO — This is the time of year where front office officials respond to many trade inquiries from reporters with some variation of, “Well, yeah.”
Would the Giants like to insert Giancarlo Stanton into the middle of their lineup? Well, yeah. Of course they would. He makes their ballpark look small, he’s in the prime of his career, and he would fill a gaping need in the lineup and the outfield.
The Giants would be foolish not to check in with the Marlins, and to do so repeatedly, and according to Craig Mish, a reporter in South Florida, the Giants have checked in, along with other teams. Mish tweeted that Stanton is believed to be willing to waive his no-trade clause if the Marlins commit to a rebuild.
This is where we bring you a big splash of cold water but also the smallest dash of hope.
The cold water first. Stanton has barely even begun playing out a preposterous deal. Overall, it’s 13 years and $325 million, the largest ever financial guarantee for an MLB player. Stanton still has 10 guaranteed years left, at $285 million (AGAIN, $285 MILLION) with a club option for 2028 that includes a $10 million buyout.
So, he’s owed $295 million (AGAIN, $295 MILLION), and while some in the Giants organization have heard that the Marlins would swallow a big chunk of that, it would still be a hefty, hefty price tag. If the Giants take on, say, $200 million, that probably keeps them from signing Madison Bumgarner to a super-contract of his own one day. It locks them into the luxury tax going forward, and team officials have for months talked about a desire to dip under that number sometime in the next couple of years and reset their penalties.
There are on-field concerns, too. For all the wondrous power he has shown, Stanton has played more than 119 games just once since 2012. The Giants have watched their own expensive outfielders get old in front of their eyes, and in a few years Stanton will be a 34-year-old making $32 million a year. Nobody but Aaron Judge is in Stanton’s class power-wise, but the Giants have seen how it has gone quickly with Hunter Pence, who was once one of the more powerful players in the game.
Alright, now the dash of hope. A small one. Given the contract -- no matter what it ends up being -- there are maybe four or five teams in the game that could even consider dealing for Stanton. The Yankees and Red Sox always can, along with the Cubs and of course the Dodgers. Maybe the Cardinals or Angels? The Giants wouldn’t have much competition, and if the new Marlins ownership wants a pure salary dump, they won’t find many partners better than the Giants. They likely wouldn’t have to give up much except a commitment to pay Stanton, and here’s where the hope comes in: The Giants are rich. They sell out every night (officially) and their value continues to increase. If they wanted to make a splash, they technically could.
So there’s your dash of hope. The Giants have money. They technically can pay Stanton if he becomes available. Will they? No, there’s been no indication they ever will. It’s a fun rumor, but the trade itself would destroy the team’s budget now and for years going forward and basically put an entire rebuild on the shoulders of one player who has had trouble staying healthy. This is where it's worth mentioning that the Cot's Baseball description of Stanton's deal compares it to Josh Hamilton's and Ryan Howard's. How did those contracts work out?
Fun rumor, though.