Why Each Top Suitor Will, Won't Pull off Giancarlo Stanton Trade Blockbuster
Giancarlo Stanton is on the trading block. Maybe you've heard, or maybe you reside under a hunk of metamorphic matter.
The Miami Marlins want to shed payroll under a new ownership group fronted by Derek Jeter. Stanton is owed up to $295 million through 2028, though he could opt out after 2020.
He's also fed up with losing.
"I don't want to rebuild," the recently minted National League MVP said in September, per FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman. "I've lost for seven years."
Stanton and the 59 home runs he clubbed in 2017 are dangling as the biggest fish of the offseason. His full no-trade clause adds a wrinkle, but the chances of him wearing a different uniform next season are somewhere between high and certain.
While we await a decision from Miami and its generational slugger, here's a look at why the top four rumored suitors will and won't consummate the winter's biggest blockbuster.
The Long Shot: Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox have won two straight American League East crowns and are in an unambiguous win-now phase. They also finished dead last in the AL in home runs in 2017 and were bounced in the division series.
It's no surprise, then, that Boston dipped its toe in the Stanton sweepstakes, per Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic.
The Red Sox have a lot to offer: a rich history, an exciting young core led by outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi, a winning track record and a chance to take aim at the Green Monster.
After toiling in the gaudy, uninspiring confines of Marlins Park, Fenway and the storied Red Sox/New York Yankees rivalry would be a revelation for Stanton.
That said, Boston was always a long shot to acquire Stanton, given his preference to play on the West Coast, per MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi. On Sunday, Craig Mish of SiriusXM reported discussions between Boston and Miami were no longer active.
That doesn't mean they can't be rekindled. However, as Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reported, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is hesitant to raid his depleted farm system. The Red Sox will address their power deficiency, but they'll probably do it via free agency.
St. Louis Cardinals: Why They Will
The St. Louis Cardinals missed the postseason in 2017, but they've got a solid pitching staff and a lineup littered with quality hitters. They just need a big bopper to tie it all together.
Stanton could be that bopper, and the Cards have pushed hard.
The club met with Stanton and his representatives and made "a compelling offer," per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Cardinals don't play out west, but they do offer a winning culture, a famously loyal fanbase and the opportunity to get back onto the October stage.
Plus, according to Goold, the Redbirds came away from the Stanton meeting "convinced their offer to the Marlins is the strongest, in terms of prospects and possibly in terms of money taken on."
St. Louis Cardinals: Why They Won't
Again, all signs point to Stanton wanting to play on the West Coast. Whatever they surrender in cash and minor league chips, the Cardinals can't transport Busch Stadium to the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
Manager Mike Matheny's bunch is not a juggernaut, either. Yes, the Cards are in the NL postseason picture, but even with Stanton, they'd remain a tick below the Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers in the Senior Circuit pecking order.
If it were up to Miami, Stanton would go to the club offering the best prospects and most salary relief.
Stanton holds the keys with his no-trade clause, however, and unless he suddenly falls in love with the Gateway Arch, there may be nothing St. Louis can do to land him.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Why They Will
Stanton was born in Southern California and played high school ball in Sherman Oaks, fewer than 20 miles from Dodger Stadium.
Not surprisingly, Los Angeles tops Stanton's list of preferred trade destinations, per Morosi.
In addition to a homecoming, Stanton would join a loaded club in a massive market that got within a win of a Commissioner's Trophy in 2017. As Bleacher Report's Zachary D. Rymer outlined, Stanton could join forces with Dodgers first baseman/outfielder Cody Bellinger to create a scary, Maris/Mantle-esque 100-homer duo.
If Stanton had a yes-trade clause in addition to his no-trade clause, this deal would surely be done.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Why They Won't
As good of a fit as it is on paper, the Dodgers don't appear to be making an aggressive push for Stanton.
The Cardinals and San Francisco Giants have made formal offers. As for Los Angeles, here's the latest, per Morosi:
"...the Dodgers and Marlins were still in contact regarding Stanton, but they have not made progress toward a deal, according to one source. The Dodgers are enamored with Stanton's power, but they are concerned about the luxury-tax implications of trading for him."
L.A. boasts the game's highest payroll, per Spotrac, and ample MiLB trade chips. It's possible executive Andrew Friedman is lying in the weeds and waiting to yank Stanton away from the Cards and rival Giants at the last moment.
Right now, though, there's little indication the Dodgers are ready to squeeze the trigger.
San Francisco Giants: Why They Will
The Giants lost 98 games last season en route to a humbling cellar-dwelling finish. They also finished last in the NL in home runs and OPS.
San Francisco isn't interested in a rebuild, however, and is instead looking to retool the roster and keep its contending window open a bit longer.
The Giants have made a formal offer for Stanton. They're situated on the West Coast, even if they're a few clicks north of SoCal.
Bad as they were in 2017, they've got a solid core anchored by franchise catcher Buster Posey and stud left-hander Madison Bumgarner. And they're on the list of finalists to land two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani, per MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.
There is a scenario where the Giants make another even-year run at their sparkling waterfront ballpark in 2018, and Stanton could be a huge part of it.
Plus, he'd have a ton of chances to hit that huge Coke bottle in left-center field.
San Francisco Giants: Why They Won't
General manager Bobby Evans can sell Stanton on the Giants' recent championship runs and a steady clubhouse culture led by manager Bruce Bochy.
He can't magically turn San Francisco into L.A., however, nor can he totally erase the Giants' awful 2017 showing.
Stanton said he's tired of losing. Why would he go to a team that narrowly avoided 100 defeats?
Like the Dodgers, the Giants are bumping up against the luxury tax. They have a boatload of future salary commitments and a relatively weak farm system. Stanton could get them back to relevance in 2018, but this is a franchise that may shift into rebuilding mode in the near-ish future.
If Miami likes the Giants' offer, the Dodgers don't intercede and Stanton is truly determined to get out of Florida, this could happen. Then again, that's a lot of ifs.
All statistics and contract information courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.