With just over two weeks for teams to complete trades and still have the player(s) be eligible for the postseason, a tantalizing name was recently thrown into the mix. Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton reportedly cleared waivers and is free to be traded to any team.
With a new ownership ready to take over in Miami that features Derek Jeter and Michael Jordan, the Marlins may decide to hit the reset button once again and ship Stanton’s massive salary away to another club.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have long been viewed as an eventual landing spot for Stanton. But the likelihood of that happening, for this season anyway, remains slim to none.
Nonetheless, beyond his local roots, the Dodgers are one of the few teams capable of absorbing Stanton’s exorbitant contract. He’s owed $285 million over the next 10 years, not counting a $25 million team option in 2028 (or $10 million buyout) during his age-38 season.
That’s the remnants of the Marlins extending Stanton prior to the 2015 season for a record-breaking 13 years and $325 million commitment — the largest contract in MLB history by length and total value.
The question is not what version of Giancarlo Stanton the Dodgers, or another team, would receive this season and in the handful of years ahead. He’s finally taken the next step in his career to become the sport’s most feared power hitter.
Stanton, 28 years old in November, leads the Majors with 44 home runs behind a monstrous .287/.378/.645 slash line in 504 plate appearances. The four-time All-Star recently homered in six consecutive games and has tallied 11 during the month of August.
While the Dodgers have gotten above-average production from their corner outfielders this season, including career years from Yasiel Puig and Chris Taylor, adding a bat of Stanton’s caliber to the mix would almost be unfair.
As it currently stands, the Dodgers have financial commitments to just four players currently on the 25-man active roster for the 2019 season (not including options or arbitration-eligible players), which bodes well considering young stars Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager will be in line for hefty raises by then.
Factor in that Clayton Kershaw can opt out after the 2018 season and test free agency with the likes of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, and the Dodgers will likely preserve their resources by holding out for the star-studded class.
However, with Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier coming off the books at the conclusion of 2017, the Dodgers can add Stanton’s $25 million salary for next season and still trim payroll.
The fact that Stanton can (and will) likely opt out of his mega deal at the end of 2020 makes a trade more realistic. But if the Dodgers intend to re-sign Darvish or potentially pursue Shohei Otani, it would be improbable for them to add two large salaries in the same offseason.
The Marlins could hypothetically take on more money in trade proposals for Stanton, but they would likely seek higher-quality prospects from the Dodgers if that were the case — a potential deal-breaker for president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.
There’s no guarantee that the Marlins will even entertain the possibility of dealing Stanton, the franchise’s all-time leader in home runs and RBI.
Perhaps Miami’s new pending ownership takes a similar approach to the Dodgers in 2012 and decides to build around Stanton by complementing him with high-profile players via trades and free agency.
Other big market teams like the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees presumably willhave interest in Stanton if the Marlins legitimately look to trade him, so the Dodgers would not be alone in a possible pursuit.
Regardless of what unfolds, there likely won’t be clarity to this situation until the offseason at the earliest. Until then, the idea of Stanton donning a Dodgers uniform is nothing but speculation at this point — but it’s certainly fun to think about.