The situation has dominated Major League Baseball’s new reports, and effectively stalled all other free agency moves. Everyone is waiting to see the dust settle on this off-season’s premier acquisition-to-be, Giancarlo Stanton.
The would-be suitors seem to have boiled down to two teams willing to make competitive offers for the outfielder’s services. The San Francisco Giants still appear to be in the mix.
For the time being, the two team names that continue to float around are the Giants, and the St. Louis Cardinals. Both teams have done a lot to make their team viable for the right-handed outfielder. In breaking down the two teams’ offers, we can see why neither team has become a clear favorite in this race for Stanton.
First of all, neither looks to be outpaced in the negotiations. Both teams were the quickest to make formal offers to the Miami Marlins. The news broke that San Francisco had made their offer, and similar reports for St. Louis surfaced less than 24 hours later. When the Giants sent representatives to meet with Stanton’s agent, the Cardinals had their own meeting within the week.
It is also significant that these recent meetings both occurred with Stanton’s permission. The reigning NL MVP has long been at the center of his own trade talks due to the no-trade clause in his contract, allowing him to negate any deal the Marlins make.
While this move has cut out some teams that could have made a run at him, it has equally increased the number of teams interested, because he expressed interest in West Coast teams. In particular, the Los Angeles Dodgers began discussions seemingly for the sole reason that Stanton mentioned them by name.
Nevertheless, many teams have balked at the proposition of bringing in the power-hitter due to the associated price tag. The Giants and Cardinals, however, seem determined to spend whatever it takes.
While the Cardinals have the minor league assets to contribute to their offer, the Giants’ rumored offer on the table shows a lack of such resources. To offset that, the team has reportedly been willing to eat all of Stanton’s contract. That amounts to $25 million or more per year.
Miami has been hoping to shed payroll as much as acquire minor leaguers in this deal. Which team has the advantage in that regard?
The Giants’ VP of Baseball Operations, Brian Sabean, said on KNBR radio that this is not a rebuild situation for the franchise. Meanwhile, St. Louis is coming off a winning season, but still managed to come up short of a playoff spot. With both teams expecting to continue competing for a championship and maintaining a recent stretch of success in the postseason, it is doubtful that they are ruled out for seeming like a rebuild project in Stanton’s eyes.
Trades in professional sports always have many moving parts, and the component of wooing Stanton as well as the Miami Marlins has caused the coveted trade pick-up to stall all of the other moves in free agency. The Giants in particular looked to be big players, associated with names like Lorenzo Cain, Todd Frazier, and J.D. Martinez.
Once the decision comes out and an agreement comes out between all parties involved, it is likely that mad house of free agency will begin in full effect. Do the Giants have a hand on the pulse of the free agency market, or have they put all their eggs into the Stanton basket? There is hardly space for distraction, and no more room to speculate.
The two options, save for a dark horse competitor, have come into focus. Will the Giants land their power-hitting rightfielder, or will the Cardinals make the stronger case to land the slugger? As sports fans look on, glued to their screens, the Stanton sweepstakes looks to come to a head.
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