Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton cleared revocable trade waivers last weekend, but that wasn’t the first time the rumor mill swirled around the 27-year-old slugger. The Phillies have been linked as potential interested suitors with the divisional foe.
In the days coming to the July 31 trade deadline, the Phillies were rumored to have kicked around the idea of trading assets for Stanton in an effort to immediately revamp their major league roster towards playoff contention in the immediate future. Though nothing has been officially in the works, reports say there have been plenty of internal discussion between front office personnel on whether to make an attempt at the move.
Stanton is currently three years into a 13-year, $325 million contract he signed with Miami in 2014, the largest contract thus far in MLB history. With ownership likely to change hands from Jeffrey Loria in the coming year, the franchise is looking to shed its payroll. The easiest, most efficient way is to rid itself of Stanton’s $25 million base salary a year through 2028. He certainly is playing like the superstar deserving of a deal, but can it last throughout final season of his deal in 11 years when he’s 37?
Production doesn’t lie.
Stanton is slashing .287/.378/.645 this year while leading the league with 44 home runs in 117 games. Along with that, he has 94 RBIs, 58 walks, two stolen bases, and 117 strikeouts. He can play baseball like the best of them and the Phillies’ would instantly become a rooting interest. Playoffs may still be a few pieces away, but with Stanton the cornerstone would be there.
The Phillies are one of few teams who are able to take on his record contract. Outfielder Odubel Herrera is the only contract on the books for the 2019 season, and many of the team’s future pieces will be under team control as part of rookie or prospect contracts. 2019 is set to be a year of notable free agents, including the likes of Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper and Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado.
It’s no question if the Phillies have the talent to propose a trade, but rather if they feel comfortable trading their rebuilt pieces for the hefty contract that will be theirs for at least three more years. Stanton can opt out of his current contract after 2020. A heavily backloaded contract is something the Phils are accustomed to, having most recently been set back by Ryan Howard‘s five-year, $125 million contract that expired just last year.
Fans remember the skill Howard had in his prime, but don’t remind them the details of his salary. Production never fully matched up to his annual $25 million-plus deal, and it just may have put the Phillies’ rebuild back a few years. The team’s payroll dropped to 22nd overall in the league after Howard’s contract was dropped.
With the Phillies rebuilding talent slowly reaching the major leagues, it’s becoming easier to tell who has or does not have the skills to be a mainstay. For the outfield, the questions are limited and the prospects are limitless. Herrera is here to stay, so it seems. Nick Williams, the centerpiece of the Cole Hamels trade, looks to be a lock. The third spot is up for grabs. Perhaps Rhys Hoskins continues to play the outfield, or maybe it’s Harper or Stanton.
Production-wise, we’d all like to see Stanton crushing balls in Citizen’s Bank Park. He is one of the elite sluggers to play the game in recent history. It’s just not a certainty due to his hefty contract and how well the rebuilt farm has come along.
Photo by Corn Farmer via Flickr