Trade him or sign him to a long-term deal, it's a big move the Marlins could legitimately pull off if they decide not to sit on their laurels with 24-year-old All-Star slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
Currently, the Marlins have yet to approach Stanton or his agent, Joel Wolfe, about a multi-year deal, but Marlins president of baseball operations Mike Hill noted the club is weighing their next step in retaining Stanton for years to come.
"I would say it's an ongoing discussion," Hill told MLB.com last week. "As I said earlier, he's a big part of this team's success, and we'd like to think that we could build around him, and put pieces around him to allow us to win games for a long time. But at this point, I'd say it's an ongoing discussion."
Stanton, who hit 24 home runs last year and has 117 in his four-year career, is arbitration eligible for the first time. Stanton earned $537,000 last season, but his salary is expected to increase to around $5 million, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
It's unknown if Stanton is receptive to a long-term contract, but before the season finale, Stanton said "they haven't come to me," when asked before the game if he would be open to signing a deal if the Marlins presented one, according to the Palm Beach Post.
On the flip side, a few days prior to Hill speaking with MLB.com, Marlins general manager Dan Jennings told Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio that, "Mr. Stanton is NOT Available. He will be in RF at Marlins Park on Opening Day. We are building around him," which Bowden then tweeted.
However, the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo states to the masses to never believe a GM when the GM says a certain player isn’t going to be traded because everyone has a price and any player can be traded, unless there is a contract clause that says he can’t, and even that’s negotiable.
And let's face it, there will probably never be such a language in any Marlins contract under this regime because they don't believe in a no-trade clause. Samson reiterated the stance Monday with Bowden and Casey Stern on the radio.
“I would not re-look at that,” Samson said, via the Sun-Sentinel. “I still report to an owner, but were it up to me I would not give a no-trade clause. It just hampers you too much and you don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t think we’re having any problem signing free agents because of what happened in 2012. If we offer more years or more money, people will come to play and frankly a tie will go to Miami for many of the players. It’s such a great ballpark and a great place to live.
“The problem with no-trade clauses, they never are to the benefit of the team, ever, and they don’t make much sense to me.”
If the Marlins put Stanton on the trade market, regardless of whether the Marlins presented Stanton with a long-term deal, there will be plenty of suitors for Stanton's services.
For instance, Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has said he tried to trade for Stanton at least 10 times. As csnphilly.com's Jim Salisbury states, Stanton is Amaro's "white whale," especially since Amaro can be unrelenting in his pursuit of players that he really wants. If the Marlins make Stanton available, Salisbury said any trade package would probably have to begin with top prospect Maikel Franco.
Then, there are the World Series champions. Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald feels Felix Doubront, a top pitching prospect such as Henry Owens, third baseman Will Middlebrooks and two mid-level prospects might be too much for the Marlins to turn down. The Boston Globe's Chad Finn took it a step further when he said every young player except for Xander Bogaerts should be available.
Cafardo, meanwhile, thinks the Minnesota Twins have the prospects to get a deal done if they want to get in on the bidding. Minnesota has outfielder Byron Buxton, whom one talent evaluator called “the best positional player in minor league baseball,” pitchers Kyle Gibson and Alex Meyer, power-hitting third basemen Miguel Sano and Travis Harrison, second baseman Eddie Rosario and shortstop Daniel Santana, among others.
And let's not forget about the Los Angeles Dodgers, who might have more money than God himself. MLB.com's Peter Gammons tweeted Matt Vasgersian's idea of trading Yasiel Puig and anyone not named Clayton Kershaw for Stanton.
Other teams who are lining up to trade for Stanton includes the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners.