MIAMI (CBSMiami) – He’s arguably the best player to put on a Marlins uniform since Miguel Cabrera and like Cabrera, Giancarlo Stanton’s future in South Florida remains very much in question after signing a one-year contract over the weekend.
Stanton will be paid $6.5 million for the upcoming season, the highest salary of anyone on the Marlins roster. But, past this season, the cost for the Marlins to retain Stanton’s services will continue to jump into levels the team has not seen fit to pay for other players in the past.
Stanton will enter his second season of salary arbitration next year, which means if he and the Marlins don’t come to a long-term deal before then; he could be in for a very lucrative payday depending on a salary arbitrator’s ruling.
According to MLB.com, no discussions have been held with the Miami Marlins about a long-term contract with the 24-year-old slugger. If no long-term agreement can be reached with the 6’5”, 250 pound right fielder, he will become a free agent in 2016, unless the Marlins trade him.
But long-term fans of the Marlins have seen this movie before and the last time this happened it turned into an ongoing nightmare.
In December 2007, the Marlins traded Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers for Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Mike Rabelo, Eulogio De La Cruz, Dallas Trahern, and Burke Badenhop.
All Cabrera has gone on to do is become arguably the most dominant hitter in the American League, win a triple-crown and MVP awards. The players the Marlins received in return for Cabrera all quickly turned into busts for the South Florida franchise.
Based on recent contracts given to hitters not at the level of Stanton, the slugger could easily command upwards of $20 million on the open market if he made it that far. If he does make it to free agency, the Los Angeles Dodgers would be a logical landing spot for him with their seemingly unending cash supply.
The Marlins are expected to head into 2014 season with a payroll of $45 million, but $7 million of that will be dead money owed to the Arizona Diamondbacks for the Heath Bell salary dump from two years ago.
So, the Marlins will enter the season with approximately $38 million in salary for players on the field, barring any additional moves prior to spring training. It will once again be one of the lowest in baseball and nowhere near what was promised by ownership in exchange for the taxpayer-funded Marlins Park.