Giancarlo Stanton came up short in the voting for Most Valuable Player, losing out to pitcher Clayton Kershaw for the National League award. But Stanton could soon reign supreme in the sport with the richest contract in baseball history.
Determined to keep their All-Star slugger over the long haul, the Miami Marlins and Stanton are in serious discussions regarding a deal that would exceed 10 years in length and be worth $300 million or more, a source told the Miami Herald.
Fox Sports reported earlier in the day that Stanton, 25, and the Marlins had discussed a 10-year deal worth at least $300 million. Three sources disputed that 10-year figure, with two of them insisting the contract under discussion would be longer than that.
The Marlins are hopeful Stanton will accept the deal, but there is no indication how seriously Stanton is considering it. Stanton’s agent, Joel Wolfe, has not responded to requests for comment in recent days.
Stanton would not be eligible for free agency until following the 2016 season, but the Marlins are eager to secure a long-term commitment from him.
And there’s little wonder as to why.
Stanton is widely recognized as the most feared slugger in the majors, blasting tape-measure shots like no other player. Of the 20 longest home runs hit last season in the majors, according to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, five belonged to Stanton. No other big-league player in the top 20 had as many as two.
On Thursday, Stanton finished second in MVP voting to Kershaw, with the Dodgers lefty becoming the first pitcher to receive the NL’s highest honor since Bob Gibson in 1968.
Stanton, who led the league with 37 home runs despite missing the final 17 games after having his face shattered by a pitch in Milwaukee, received eight first-place votes to Kershaw’s 18.
Overall, Kershaw received 355 points to Stanton’s 298 in tiered voting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. No Marlin has ever won MVP honors, but Stanton became the second Marlin to finish as the MVP runner-up. Hanley Ramirez was also second in 2009.
The Marlins would like to keep Stanton’s explosive bat in the lineup for years to come.
The Marlins have said they have no intention of trading Stanton even if he rejects their offer. If Stanton chooses to take a one-year deal, he could make $13 million or so next season if the matter goes to arbitration this winter.
“I’d say it’s a safe bet Giancarlo is hitting in the Marlins lineup next year and the next year,” Marlins general manager Dan Jennings said Wednesday.
Besides offering at least $300 million, the Marlins also are receptive to consider allowing a partial or full no-trade clause, which would be a departure from previous club policy.
“It’s been a long-standing policy, but you’re talking about a tremendous talent,” Michael Hill, Marlins president of baseball operations, said Tuesday. “You look at the marketplace and what other elite players have gotten ... it’ll definitely be a topic of discussion.”
With the exception of pitcher Javier Vazquez, the Marlins have steadfastly refused to grant no-trade protection to any of their free-agent signings.
If Stanton accepts a contract worth at least $300 million, it would be the richest guaranteed contract in baseball history, topping Alex Rodriguez’s 10-year, $275 million deal with the Yankees in 2008.
Miguel Cabrera signed an eight-year, $248 million contract with the Detroit Tigers, but that deal could reach $292 million over 10 years if the Tigers exercise two option seasons.
That $300million would be on the par with the $303million the Marlins have spent combined on their entire major-league roster the past five seasons.
Stanton hit .288 with 37 home runs and 105 RBI in 145 games this season before his season ended when he was struck in the face with a pitch on Sept. 11 against Milwaukee.
At the time of his injury, Stanton led the National League in home runs (37), slugging percentage (.555), OPS (.950), total bases (299), extra-base hits (99), RBI (105), walks (94), at-bats per HR (14.5) and was on pace to become the first player to lead the NL in homers, RBI and slugging percentage since Dante Bichette in 1995.
Stanton ended up finishing first in the National League in home runs and slugging percentage but second in RBI behind the Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez, who had 116.