ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — For sale: 28-year-old chiseled slugger who led the major leagues with 59 home runs, the most in 16 years.
Price: $295 million over a decade.
Complication: He only goes where he wants to, since he has a full no-trade provision.
Now under a new ownership group that put former New York Yankees star Derek Jeter in charge of baseball and business operations, the Miami Marlins have concluded their payroll-paring regime is willing to explore trades of Stanton and other highly priced stars.
“I think over the next few days I’ll get a feel for what the marketplace is for our players,” Marlins president of baseball operations Mike Hill said Monday, the opening day of the annual general managers’ meetings.
Miami had a $116 million payroll on Aug. 31, up from $81 million at the end of last year. Bruce Sherman’s group bought the team on Oct. 2 from Jeffrey Loria and is exploring trades for players who contributed to the team’s eighth straight losing season. The Marlins have not made the playoffs since winning the 2003 World Series, the second-longest postseason drought behind Seattle.
Stanton’s salary jumps from $14.5 million this year to $25 million next season. It peaks at $32 million annually from 2023-25.
When he spoke Oct 25 at the World Series while receiving an award, Stanton said “I don’t have stamped-out ideas” whether he would want to stay in Miami during a rebuild. The Marlins seem to know which teams he would accept a trade to.
“I do have a sense, and we’ll keep that internal, and at the appropriate time we’ll discuss whatever we need to discuss,” Hill said. “We work internally. We do what we need to do, and then if we need to present him with something, we’ll do so at the appropriate time.”
Among other costly Marlins next year are third baseman Martin Prado ($14 million), right-hander Edinson Volquez ($13 million), center fielder Christian Yelich ($7 million, with $37.5 million more guaranteed over the following three years) and second baseman Dee Gordon ($10.5 million, with $27.5 million guaranteed over the following two seasons).
Given a penurious approach, the Marlins may find trades make sense.
“It’s tough to be competitive if you’re overly concentrated in two or three players,” New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. “I think we experienced some of that last year.”
High-revenue teams would be the most likely matches. The New York Yankees do not appear to be a probable destination, Right fielder Aaron Judge won the AL Rookie of the Year award unanimously after hitting 52 homers, center fielder Aaron Hicks played well when he wasn’t hurt, and Clint Frazier is competing for playing time among a group that includes veterans Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury.
“We have a lot of good players signed, so we’re not in a situation where we have to be pressured into moving fast on anything,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “It gives us a little bit of a chance to be patient and engage the market and see if there’s any value to be had via trade or free agencies for us because we have a lot pieces currently in place and more pieces coming.”
New York does figure to be interested in 23-year-old Japanese right-hander and outfielder Shohei Otani, a two-way player who wants to sign with a major league team. But the Major League Baseball Players Association does not seem close to an agreement on a new posting deal with MLB management and Nippon Professional Baseball. That could push off Otani negotiations for weeks or months.
Teams are having trade discussions and agents also are the hotel, pitching their clients to teams.
Cashman is not meeting with manager candidates during the GM session. Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson and former Cleveland and Seattle manager Eric Wedge were interviewed last week, and Cashman would not deny reports that San Francisco bench coach Hensley Meulens will be interviewed.
Former Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran, who announced his retirement Monday after 20 big league seasons, could be a contender.
“He’s played the game a long time. He knows the game inside-out. He’s obviously got respect of his peers and bilingual,” Cashman said. “He brings a lot to the table in terms of someone that’s played the game the right way and had a great career and goes out with a world championship ring and is highly respected I would say across all environments of our industry.”
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