If you’ve read anything about the St. Louis Cardinals this offseason, you’ve read the words “Giancarlo Stanton.”
Yes, the Marlins’ power-hitting right fielder is likely to be traded this offseason. He brings massive appeal and an even more massive contract.
It’s safe to say that many Cardinals fans have put most, if not all, of their eggs in the Stanton basket. Stanton or bust, it would seem.
Still, it would be wise to consider a few things before getting too excited about the possibility of Stanton in St. Louis or too upset with the idea he may land somewhere else.
The enormity of his contract is a hindrance. At the very least, his contract dictates the Marlins chip in tens of millions of dollars to ease the financial burden on their eventual trade partner.
If the Marlins aren’t willing to fork over enough cash or take a deal they’re not wild about, it’s possible he starts the season in Miami. If he picks up where he left off, his value could increase their leverage.
It’s also important to remember that Stanton has a full no-trade clause. Basically, the Marlins can’t trade him somewhere he doesn’t want to go.
Stanton is from California, and it’s rumored that the San Francisco Giants are strong competitors in the race to land the slugger. As much as I like St. Louis, it doesn’t compete with San Francisco when it comes to, well, just about anything.
If the Dodgers or Angels were to throw their hats into the ring, all bets would be off. St. Louis is a tough sell against L.A.
The Cardinals’ front office has fallen short a number of times when it comes to big deals. The Cards have been outbid on a number of free agents and trade targets. It’s not hard to imagine that happening again.
It’s possible the trade market doesn’t move much until something happens with Stanton. No team wants to be seen as overpaying for a lesser player.
Stanton’s status could also slow the free agency market. Why should a team sign J.D. Martinez to a $200 million contract before it finds out Stanton’s cost will be?
Rooting for the Cardinals to trade for Stanton is understandable. He’s the best example of the kind of player the team needs, and it’s the kind of move that would liven up a sullen fan base.
That said, it’s important for Cardinals fans to realize there are other fish in the sea. In fact, the Marlins could trade their other two starting outfielders – Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna. Either one would be upgrades. (I’m a big fan of Yelich.)
It’s also possible the Cardinals pursue a trade for Toronto third baseman Josh Donaldson or consider signing the aforementioned J.D. Martinez.
At best, there’s probably a 50 percent chance the Cardinals trade for Stanton. There should be a 100 percent chance the Cardinals make a major roster acquisition.
The Cardinals could win big with Stanton, but as long as they make at least one transformative roster move, the fan base should consider itself pleased.