Since the All-Star break, Giancarlo Stanton has been busy making history for a team likely to be forgotten as soon as the season ends.
Through 120 games, Stanton has already smashed a career-high 45 home runs, many of them launched impossibly far with a coiled swing from one of Major League Baseball’s more remarkable physiques.
Stanton plays for the Miami Marlins, and that’s a problem, despite what Florida’s Sun Sentinel may claim about playoff contention. The Marlins, second in the National League East, are two games under .500 and six back of the Arizona Diamondbacks for the second National League wildcard spot.
It’s not futility, and it may be enough to keep the Marlins’ new ownership from thoughts of trading Stanton before the end of August. Stanton has cleared waivers, so that is a possibility.
Come the offseason, though, Derek Jeter and the Marlins’ new ownership almost certainly have a choice to make over what to do about Stanton’s $325 million contract, which will pay him $29 million a season up until 2028. A team set on a rebuild can’t really claim it is serious about that if it keeps an otherworldly slugger with average defense and a suspect injury record on its books, on baseball’s biggest contract.
Naturally, if the Marlins do decide to trade Stanton, the battle for his services will be intense. Newjersey.com reports that an outrageous bidding war could develop between as many as 11 MLB franchises.
The Yankees are reportedly interested in Stanton, potentially creating a ridiculous one-two punch at the top of the order with Aaron Judge. So are the Red Sox—and the Mets, and the Phillies and the Dodgers. And the Giants, and the Blue Jays and the Cardinals. Oh, and the Nationals too, if they lose Bryce Harper to free agency.
Hell, that’s almost half of MLB reportedly interested in acquiring a guy with one 40-home-run season, a history of getting hurt and $295 million still on his contract. Anyone who acquires Stanton is taking a huge risk, albeit with a huge potential upside too. Maybe he closes in on 60 homers again next season. Maybe he regresses to his mean. Either way, the team that gets him is going to sell some jerseys. Imagine Stanton then Judge, or Judge then Stanton, or Stanton then Andrew Benintendi, or Stanton then Cody Bellinger. Even if Stanton has a down year, he’s going to have a psychological effect on pitchers if he appears in an already powerful batting lineup.
Or, to put it more succinctly: Whatever happens, this saga is going to be fun to watch.
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