Posted on August 28, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine

Giancarlos Stanton

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The 2017 MLB season isn’t even close to over yet, and already teams are making plans for this winter. Specifically, all eyes are already on the Miami Marlins and outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. There are already whispers that the Marlins will be looking to unload him and his contract this winter. According to reports, teams already are lining up to speak to the Marlins about what it would take to acquire Stanton in a trade.

Trading Stanton before the end of August wouldn’t be impossible, as he’s already cleared waivers. Of course, Stanton is making a serious argument for MVP honors. He’s torn the cover off the ball since the all-star break. With every home run he hits, as he’s currently at 50, Stanton is improving his trade value. But with the Marlins making a late move for a wild-card spot, they are unlikely to deal Stanton now. However, this offseason will be a different story.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Giants, Phillies, Cardinals, and Rangers have all contacted the Marlins about Stanton. Nightengale quotes a Marlins source as saying the Giants are showing the most interest. It’s also possible that more teams will join the discussion this winter. However, contending teams are currently busy trying to find their way into the postseason.

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On the surface, trading Stanton this winter would be appealing. With the kind of season he’s having, his value may never be higher than it will be this winter. He’s also 27 years old and in the midst of his prime. Stanton has proven over the last several weeks that he can be the catalyst in bringing a team back into a playoff race. He obviously hasn’t done it all himself. But the Marlins don’t have a particularly impressive pitching staff, and so Stanton and the Miami lineup have done much of the heavy lifting.

Most importantly, the Marlins need to free themselves of Stanton’s monstrous contract. Next season is when Stanton’s yearly salaries start to get out of control. Starting in 2018, Stanton will make between $25 and $32 million per season for the next decade. That’s too much money dedicated to one player for a small-market club like the Marlins to handle. As much as Stanton means to the Miami fan base, the team’s new ownership may not want to be handcuffed by such an enormous contract.

However, the Marlins are yet to discussed money with the teams expressing interest in Stanton. It’s unlikely that any team would take on Stanton’s entire contract, leaving the Marlins to pick up at least some of it. For the Marlins, trading Stanton will mean walking a fine line between dumping salary and getting back young players they can build around.

Meanwhile, any team that trades for Stanton will need both money in the budget to pay his salary and young talent to offer the Marlins. If several teams are already expressing interest in Stanton, the Marlins may be able to create a bidding war among several teams, helping to maximize the return they get for their slugging superstar.

Of the teams already connected to Stanton, the Giants easily have the worst farm system from which to deal young talent. But by making a concerted effort to speak with the Marlins long before the offseason, they may be able to create the groundwork for a trade this winter.

The Phillies may be the most intriguing case. As a division rival, the Marlins may be hesitant to deal Stanton to a team they play nearly 20 times per year. However, Philadelphia does have a great farm system, as well as a core of young players who have already started to establish themselves in the big leagues.

Of course, we are far from Stanton actually being traded. But with teams already discussing a potential deal with the Marlins, it increases the chances of the slugger actually being dealt this winter. There may be plenty left to play for this season, but it appears the top storyline of the offseason has already been decided.

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