MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — The Miami Marlins appear ready to begin chasing pennants and join the high-spending world of baseball relevance.READ MORE: Coast Guard Offloads More Than Two Tons Of Seized Cocaine In Miami Beach
The Marlins are no longer pinching pennies, and Giancarlo Stanton won’t be, either.
Stanton agreed to terms with the team Monday on a $325 million, 13-year contract, Miami owner Jeffrey Loria said. It’s the most lucrative deal for an American athlete and averages $25 million per season, or $154,321 per game.
The deal includes a no-trade clause, and Stanton can opt out after six years, Loria said. A news conference was planned Wednesday.
“It’s a landmark moment for the franchise and Giancarlo, and it’s for the city and fans to rally around,” Loria said.
Any kind of multiyear deal is a big departure for the Marlins and Loria, whose frugal ways in the past alienated fans, angered the players’ union and made the franchise the butt of jokes.
Given such thriftiness, the Marlins’ generosity toward Stanton becomes even more stunning. His contract tops the $292 million, 10-year deal Miguel Cabrera agreed to with the Detroit Tigers in March. Alex Rodriguez signed the largest previous deal, a $275 million, 10-year contract with the Yankees before the 2008 season.
Stanton, who turned 25 on Nov. 8, is perhaps the game’s most feared slugger. He has 154 career homers despite playing home games in spacious Marlins Park.
“Giancarlo Stanton has come of age, and he’s going to be here a long time,” Loria said in a phone interview. “It’s wonderful to have a young man this caliber, integrity and ability, and I’m very happy.”READ MORE: Drive-By Shooting in Miami Leaves One Dead, Two Injured
Stanton wasn’t due to become eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season, and signing him to a long-term deal was considered a long shot for the Marlins. They haven’t reached the playoffs since 2003, and he was distrustful of the franchise’s direction.
The Marlins’ 2014 payroll of $52.3 million was the lowest in the majors. The last time they spent big was before the 2012 season, the first in their new ballpark. Then came another salary purge, intensifying fan animosity toward Loria.
The owner hopes that will start to subside with the Stanton deal.
Stanton’s 2014 season ended Sept. 11 when he was hit in the face by a pitch. Despite missing the final 17 games, he led the NL with 37 homers and a .555 slugging percentage for the Marlins, who went 77-85 but ended a three-year streak of last-place finishes in the NL East.
The Marlins have said they’re not concerned the injuries will have lingering effects. They made locking up Stanton their top offseason priority and overcame his skepticism about their efforts to fielding a winning team.
The Marlins believe they’re poised to contend next year with a young roster than includes right-handers Jose Fernandez and Henderson Alvarez, Gold Glove left fielder Christian Yelich, center fielder Marcell Ozuna and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.
Stanton made a team-high $6.5 million in 2014. The two-time All-Star right fielder recently won the NL Hank Aaron Award and was voted the NL’s outstanding player in balloting by his fellow major leaguers. He won a Silver Slugger Award and finished second to Clayton Kershaw in NL MVP voting.
Stanton likes to travel in the offseason and spend time in his native California. But he attended the Miami Hurricanes’ home football game Saturday against Florida State, and now he’ll be staying in town for a news conference.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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