How Giants can answer Giancarlo Stanton's biggest questions of concern


How Giants can answer Giancarlo Stanton's biggest questions of concern

SAN FRANCISCO — As a brutal 2017 comes to a close for the Giants, they just had one of their best days without ever taking the field.

Being granted a meeting with Giancarlo Stanton’s representatives on Thursday is a clear sign that the Giants can at least see the finish line for what would be a franchise-altering move. Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans, per sources, led the contingent to Los Angeles, and the Marlins wouldn’t let those two speak to Stanton’s agents at the Wasserman Media Group unless they were confident that the right package is in place. 

Now it’s up to Stanton, who has a full no-trade clause, to make up his mind. The Giants executives were greeted with questions about a future arrangement, and while it’s not known exactly what was discussed, some educated guesses can be taken. 

The Giants need to convince the reigning National League MVP that he should waive his no-trade clause and maybe spend his next 10 seasons in San Francisco. How can they do it? Here are some potential questions Stanton might have, and some ways the Giants might try to swing him over to their side. 

You lost 98 games last season. How can you contend? In September, Stanton told Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports that he didn’t want to rebuild anymore. “I’ve lost for seven years,” Stanton said. Heyman reported earlier Thursday that Stanton might have some concerns about the Giants’ roster. 

A couple of years ago, Sabean might have just pointed to the three rings on his fingers. But after a last-place season the Giants pushed a different blueprint in end-of-season meetings and press conferences. They had a clear message for fans: We can compete with a full season of Madison Bumgarner; health for Johnny Cueto, Brandon Belt and Mark Melancon; a bounce back from Brandon Crawford; a few tweaks to the bullpen; and improvement defensively. 

A lot of things have to go right, and Stanton couldn’t be blamed for thinking this might just be a sinking ship. But if you’re trying to convince a player that you have a winning core, you could do worse than bringing up names like Posey, Bumgarner and Crawford. 

Is there a commitment to turning this around? This one is a no-brainer. To convince Giancarlo Stanton that you’re willing to do anything to get out of this hole, all you have to do is point out that you’re trying to spend nearly $300 million on Giancarlo Stanton. From an aggressiveness standpoint, the Giants can note that they’ve guaranteed more than $400 million in multi-year deals over the past 24 months to try and be competitive (they should not point out that much of this approach has backfired). At the very least, Stanton will never have to worry about a Marlins situation, where resources were never fully devoted to the roster. 

What about the ballpark and my numbers? Free agents hitters always avoid AT&T Park, but Stanton has a .676 slugging percentage there in 27 career games and regularly takes aim at the Coke bottle during batting practice. This shouldn’t be a sticking point.

What about the fact that I grew up in Dodger territory? It’s believed within the industry that Stanton’s first choice is to play in Los Angeles. He went to high school minutes from Dodger Stadium and the 818 area code is in his Twitter handle. But if the Dodgers aren’t interested — and they don’t seem to be — the Giants can point out that they provide a meaningful alternative. They play nine games a year in Los Angeles (triple what the Marlins do), nine more in nearby San Diego, and spend occasional off days in both towns. Stanton would return home as a rival, but he would still be spending an extra week or so in L.A. during the season, and the flight is a short one for family members and friends. 

What about my taxes? According to ESPN's Buster Olney, a move from Florida to California could cost Stanton $25 million over the next decade in state tax increases. There's no way to sugarcoat that one unless the Giants are willing to change the finances of his deal, which they really shouldn't given how massive it already is. If Stanton is willing to go to Los Angeles, there's no tax difference in ultimately accepting a deal to play in Northern California. 

How can you protect me in the lineup? This would surely be important to a player who might be wary of being the next Barry Bonds, a prolific slugger who lives life in the intentional walk lane. Stanton got 419 of his 597 at-bats in the No. 2 spot last season, with Dee Gordon in front of him and Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna right behind him. The Giants don’t have a Dee Gordon, or a Yelich-Ozuna combination, but they can offer Posey as lineup protection and that should be a strong selling point. If Stanton would rather become an RBI machine, he could hit behind Posey (.400 on-base percentage) and Belt (.355). It’s not what he had in Miami, but as long as Posey is on the field, Stanton should be confident that he won’t be on an island. 

Report: After missing out on Stanton, Giants 'will pursue' top free agents

Report: After missing out on Stanton, Giants 'will pursue' top free agents

The Giants really wanted reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. But they aren't getting him. Instead, he's reportedly headed to the Yankees.

So, with the Winter Meetings starting on Monday in Orlando, it appears the Giants will turn their attention to the free agent market to try to fill their needs.

According to The Boston Globe, the Giants "will pursue" top free agents J.D. Martinez, Mike Moustakas, Todd Frazier and Lorenzo Cain.

Martinez hit 45 home runs with the Tigers and D'backs during the 2017 season, but is expected to command a deal projected by to be in the six-year, $150 million range. He would fill the Giants' desperate need for power.

Moustakas would address the Giants' need for a third baseman, but there's a catch to signing him. He received and rejected the qualifying offer from the Royals, so any team that signs him would forfeit their second and fifth round picks plus $1 million in international pool money. The byproduct of finishing tied for the worst record in baseball during the 2017 season is that the Giants hold the No. 2 overall pick in each round of the 2018 MLB Draft next June, so they would be giving up two valuable draft picks if they sign a player that rejected a qualifying offer.

Frazier would be a cheaper third base option as opposed to Moustakas and he doesn't have the qualifying offer attached to him. He clubbed 27 home runs in 2017 with the White Sox and Yankees and had the fourth most Defensive Runs Saved (10) among all qualified third basemen in baseball.

Cain is the top center fielder on the free agent market and the Giants have made it clear improving their center field defense is a priority this winter. But just like his former Royals teammate Moustakas, Cain comes with the qualifying offer attached to him.

NBC Sports Bay Area's Winter Meetings coverage begins on Monday. Stay tuned for update from Alex Pavlovic and Amy G in Orlando.

Report: Yankees agree to deal to acquire Marlins' Stanton


Report: Yankees agree to deal to acquire Marlins' Stanton

MIAMI — After helping the New York Yankees to five World Series titles, Derek Jeter might help them win another.

The Yankees and Jeter’s Miami Marlins have agreed to a trade that would send slugger Giancarlo Stanton to New York, pending a physical, a person familiar with the negotiations said Saturday. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the teams hadn’t announced the agreement.

Stanton has a no-trade clause in his record $325 million, 13-year contract and must approve the deal.

Infielder Starlin Castro would go to Miami as part of the trade, a second person familiar with the negotiations said. A third person said the Marlins would agree to send $30 million to $35 million to the Yankees.

The St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants said Friday that Stanton had vetoed deals to them, but he has appeared willing to approve going to New York. As for the physical, injuries curtailed Stanton’s season four of the past six years, but he played 159 games in 2017.

If the Yankees complete the trade with a team run by their former captain, the new Marlins CEO, the Bronx Bombers would acquire a slugger who hit a major league-high 59 home runs last season and pair him with Aaron Judge, who led the AL with 52 in his rookie season. That would give them a one-two punch to rival Ruth-Gehrig or Mantle-Maris.

The acquisition of the 28-year-old Stanton would be reminiscent of the Yankees’ trade for Alex Rodriguez after his MVP season with Texas in 2003. Rodriguez signed a $275, 10-year contract after the 2007 season that ran through age 42; Stanton’s deal runs through age 38.

An eight-year veteran with 267 home runs, Stanton has never played on a winning team, and might now go to a perennial title contender. The Yankees reached Game 7 of the AL Championship Series this season in the first full year of a youth movement.

Yankees prospects would likely be involved in any deal. Gary Denbo, the Marlins new vice president of scouting and player development, spent the past eight years with New York and oversaw a farm system that ranks among the best in baseball.

Stanton is owed $295 million over the final decade of his record $325 million, 13-year contract. The All-Star right fielder led the majors in homers and RBIs, but his salary will rise to $25 million in 2018, which made him too pricey for the revenue-starved Marlins to keep.

Jeter is expected to reduce payroll by at least 20 percent to $90 million or less. The Marlins shed $38 million of salary through 2020 by trading two-time All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday for three prospects.

Castro, who hit .300 with 16 home runs this year, could replace Gordon at second baseman — or might also be dealt by Miami because of his contract. He’s due $10 million in 2018 and $11 million in 2019, with a club option of $16 million in the final year of his contract in 2020.

More Marlins deals are possible at the winter meetings beginning Sunday in Orlando, Florida, with Castro and outfielders Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna possibly on the trading block.

The Yankees’ payroll for purposes of baseball’s luxury tax was about $209 million this year, and owner Hal Steinbrenner has vowed to reduce it below next year’s $197 million threshold, which would reset the team’s base tax rate from 50 percent to 20 percent in 2019. That would put the Yankees in better position for next offseason’s free agent class, which includes Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and possibly Clayton Kershaw.

Stanton counts as $25.05 million for purposes of the luxury tax, but trading Castro cuts New York’s tax payroll by $8,801,786. Rodriguez ($27.5 million) comes off the payroll after this season, and five high-priced Yankees have become free agents.

Stanton has the right to opt out of his contract and become a free agent after receiving $77 million over next three seasons.

Stanton would take a cut in take-home pay for his games in the Bronx. While Florida has no state income tax, New York State has an 8.82 percent top rate on income and New York City a 3.876 percent top rate. But he might make up the difference in new endorsements.