The San Francisco Giants have visions of competing for a playoff spot in 2018, and after posting a 64-98 record this year, there are only a handful of players around baseball that might be able to help them achieve their goal.
Though players like Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt and Joey Votto are all unavailable, there is one superstar on the market who has the potential to help turn the Giants into immediate contenders: Giancarlo Stanton.
The reports are furious and the rumors are getting out of hand, which means it’s important to maintain perspective on if and how the Giants can acquire Stanton, and what a trade for the 2017 National League MVP would mean for the franchise moving forward. To make sense of the current climate, I compiled a list of the most credible reports surrounding the status of Stanton and his current club, the Miami Marlins, and analyzed how they impact San Francisco’s chances of landing the game-changing superstar.
It would be a stunning upset if #Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton is traded anywhere besides the #Stlcards or #SFGiants. They each have the money to pull it off, and Cards have loaded farm system, if necessary
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 9, 2017
Analysis: Nightengale is as plugged-in as any reporter in baseball, and he provided several relevant updates in the early stages of Stanton trade talks. The key point in Nightengale’s report is that St. Louis has more ammunition than San Francisco to pull off a blockbuster deal, because it can seemingly reduce the Marlins’ payroll and offer them higher-level prospects. Because of this, the Giants would have to put together a compelling trade package that would relieve Miami of most, if not all of its financial commitment to Stanton, and perhaps throw in prospects to complete a deal as well.
Sources: Giancarlo Stanton’s camp has given #Marlins a list of teams to which he would accept trades. #Dodgers are among them. To this point, Stanton has not formally rejected any trades. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 27, 2017
Analysis: Though the Giants and Cardinals are largely considered the two front-runners, the Dodgers appear to be Stanton’s desired landing spot. Because Stanton is a Southern California native and has a full no-trade clause, this is important to consider for Miami. The Marlins are motivated to reduce their payroll, and it’s possible Stanton would be unwilling to accept a trade to a team that plays in the Midwest, like the Cardinals. Of course, it’s also possible that Stanton wouldn’t accept a trade to San Francisco if he’s determined to play in Los Angeles. However…
Marlins warn Stanton: Accept a trade or you’ll be only star on stripped-down team https://t.co/4OLOTGp9Yw
— clarkspencer (@clarkspencer) November 28, 2017
Analysis: If this report is true, the Miami Marlins’ new ownership group should be ashamed of how it has handled Stanton’s situation since assuming control of the franchise. When an ownership group purchases a franchise, it agrees to take on players’ contracts in their current form, and this group certainly knew what it was getting with Stanton. The idea that the Marlins would make their superstar slugger suffer through a rebuild after not accepting a trade to a team like St. Louis is embarrassing, because the owners know they’re dealing with a player with a full no-trade clause. Still, this has to be considered good news for San Francisco, because if the Marlins are unable to entice the Dodgers, the Giants could emerge as Stanton’s preferred destination given the fact San Francisco isn’t too far from his childhood home in Southern California. If given a choice between living in San Francisco or St. Louis for the next 10 years, most players would probably choose to lay down roots in the Bay Area.
Source says Marlins and Giants have had "deeper discussions" on a Giancarlo Stanton deal. Believes Giants are favorites to land the NL MVP, though Cardinals may still be a factor.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) November 21, 2017
Analysis: Feinsand, a reporter for MLB.com, tweeted this over a week ago, but it still has plenty of merit because it indicates San Francisco is aggressively pursuing Stanton. The Giants likely wouldn’t waste time on deep discussions if they didn’t believe Stanton was willing to waive his no-trade clause to come play in San Francisco, which could give them a leg up on a team like St. Louis that might not be as confident about the uncertainty of Stanton’s situation.
Source : Giants/Marlins names exchanged in potential Stanton deal : (SF) 2B Joe Panik, Top Prospects SP Tyler Beede & OF Chris Shaw. (Mia) Stanton & 2B Dee Gordon.
— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) November 20, 2017
Analysis: No, this is not a straight-up trade offer, and no, this tweet does not include any details about how the two sides would work out the financial logistics of a potential swap. While it’s easy to get caught up in the hype around players being named in a deal, it’s important to consider that the contractual aspects of a trade involving Stanton are the most important details of a potential swap. With all that in mind, though, it’s clear that for the Giants to acquire Stanton, it could take more than just a willingness to pay a massive portion of the $295 million remaining on his contract. The Marlins have interest in the Giants’ best prospects, and Chris Shaw and Tyler Beede are two players who should make their MLB debuts next season. Additionally, the eye-popping aspect of this report is that San Francisco second baseman, Joe Panik, is named as a player who could be on the move, which adds up with Giants’ general manager Bobby Evans’ assessment of how the team will be restructured this offseason. Evans believes San Francisco needs to get “creative” to make improvements, while vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean has said the front office might make unpopular moves in an effort to upgrade the roster. Trading Panik would certainly qualify as “unpopular” among Giants fans, but a player like Dee Gordon would give San Francisco an element of speed it’s currently lacking. Gordon swiped 60 bags for the Marlins last year, and while losing Panik would be a tough blow for the Giants, acquiring Gordon would make that much easier to handle.
Source: Outfield prospect Heliot Ramos, #SFGiants No. 4 prospect according to @MLBPipeline is being discussed as a potential trade piece in a deal for Giancarlo Stanton. The Giants are among at least 4 teams interested in Stanton.
— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) November 14, 2017
Analysis: The player no Giants fan wants to see involved in a deal, Ramos was the franchise’s top overall draft choice in 2017 and one of its top-performing prospects this summer. Ramos hit over .330 in the Arizona Rookie League, and was recently named the No. 1 prospect in the Giants’ organization by Baseball America. At just 18 years old, Ramos could wind up at the Major League level before his 21st birthday, and has all the tools to become a homegrown star in the Giants’ outfield. If Ramos is included with multiple other high-level prospects, the Giants shouldn’t have to take on as much of Stanton’s contract as they would otherwise.
Source: #Marlins have *not* set a deadline this week for last, best offers in Giancarlo Stanton trade talks, and there is no sign they plan to do so in advance of Winter Meetings, either. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 29, 2017
Analysis: Miami has the luxury of being able to wait for teams to reach a point this offseason in which they become desperate to add a player like Stanton, and Stanton becomes so desperate to leave Miami that he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause to play anywhere. The Giants, however, are already desperate, meaning Morosi’s report from Wednesday morning is bad news. San Francisco has always been motivated to fix its deficiencies early in the offseason, and this year, the Giants have several areas on the field they need to address. Evans must acquire a center fielder, third baseman and bullpen help, and San Francisco can’t waste its time waiting to hear from Miami on whether the Marlins will accept an offer. If the Giants do not work out a deal for Stanton by the Winter Meetings, their odds of acquiring the MVP should decrease significantly. It wouldn’t be impossible for the Giants to execute a trade post-Winter Meetings, but as other teams (perhaps Los Angeles) jump into the mix, San Francisco has to work on several other areas of need.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 29, 2017
Analysis: And at long last, a Plan-B emerges. The Giants want help in center field, and they want a power bat in their lineup, so naturally, Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen is a name San Francisco is reportedly keeping tabs on. McCutchen has just one year and $14.5 million left on his current contract, so the Giants wouldn’t be assuming an over-sized contract like Stanton’s if they did make a trade with the Pirates. Acquiring McCutchen would also pave the way for prospect Steven Duggar to take over as the franchise’s full-time center fielder in 2019, giving the highly-regarded outfielder additional time to work at the Minor League level next season after an injury-plagued 2017. I wouldn’t expect San Francisco to aggressively pursue a Plan-B like McCutchen in the immediate future, but if the Winter Meetings roll around (December 11-14) and Miami is showing no signs of parting with its coveted star, then Evans and Co. will be left with no choice but to move on.