The Cubs are laying low for the time being in advance of the Winter Meetings and Friday’s contract tender announcements, and are likely going to be in on the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes. It’s hard to know when the first major domino will drop, as I believe most teams are trying to wait and see where Ohtani ends up, as well as whether the Miami Marlins will actually find a suitable trade for National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton.
Speaking of Stanton, it seems that new ownership hasn’t exactly changed Miami’s MO:
According to two sources with knowledge of discussions, the Marlins informed Stanton in October that if he refused to waive his no-trade rights and accept a trade, he would remain a Marlin and team officials would look to trade off other top players to reduce payroll.
Baseball contracts are guaranteed and Stanton has earned his no-trade rights by signing that contract, so someone is going to have to pay him at least until the opt out date on that mega-deal. It sounds like Stanton wants to go to his hometown Dodgers, but rivals such as the Giants and Cardinals have reportedly sent in their offers. The Cubs are most likely out of this particular trade market since they’re set in terms of position players and probably don’t have the prospects to make a reasonable deal anyway, but anything that can keep Stanton away from the NL Central would be cool with me.
The most annoying thing about this new piece of information is how it was presented. I think there was no mistaking the Marlins’ intentions to trim payroll as soon as the new ownership took over after dropping a billion dollars and continued to look for investors. The gigantic chunk of money remaining in the contract is certainly counter to that plan, which is why Stanton is a logical trade chip even if he seems immovable for now. The no-trade rights give him leverage over his destination, but I believe Stanton knows that his time is limited and he needs to get out of Miami.
Stanton has plenty of valuable and talented teammates that can also be traded away, and probably will. I believe that this won’t be resolved during the Winter Meetings, but Stanton and friends will probably have new homes by the time spring training rolls around. After that, I think we will find out exactly what kind of ownership group Derek Jeter has set up. Then again, the new owners did just allow Andre Dawson to return to the Cubs, and if they don’t even want to pay the original Mr. Marlin Jeff Conine, one wonders what the Marlins will pay for…