The Marlins and outfielder Giancarlo Stanton avoided arbitration on Friday, agreeing to a one-year, $6.5 million deal for the 2014 season. As MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports, however, the two sides haven’t discussed a contract extension:
For months, Miami had stated it was open to discussing a multi-year deal with the 24-year-old right fielder. Such conversations never took place between the club and Stanton’s agent, Joel Wolfe of the Wasserman Media Group. The reason is both sides felt the timing wasn’t right.
Instead of at least sketching out the framework of what a major deal would look like, negotiations centered specifically on working something out for the upcoming season. By hammering out the agreement on Friday, the two parties came away pleased with how the process played out.
Stanton, who is tied with Robinson Cano at 117 for the ninth-most home runs since the start of 2010, has been the subject of trade rumors for quite some time. They will continue to pop up as long as a contract extension remains off the table. Stanton is eligible for arbitration going into the 2015 and 2016 seasons as well, and he projects to make a lot of money. The Marlins cut payroll from nearly $102 million to open up 2012 to just over $50 million on Opening Day last season. Unless they make a big free agent signing in the next month, they will likely see their Opening Day payroll in the $40 million range.
In the past, the Marlins have traded their star players as they approach free agency. It portends to be the case with Stanton as well.
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there hasn’t been much in the way of progress on a contract extension between the two sides. It seems as if Machado will test the open market next offseason.
The Phillies, currently with relatively minuscule obligations for the 2018 season and beyond, are expected to be big players for Machado, as well as other potential free agents like Bryce Harper. In fact, the Phillies may not even want to wait until next offseason, as Roch Kubatko of MASN reports that the club has expressed interest in Machado to the Orioles. In return, the O’s have been doing their homework on the Phillies’ minor league system.
Kubatko notes that the Orioles like, in particular, Phillies prospects Sixto Sanchez and Scott Kingery. The Phillies may be hesitant to part with either considering they can get Machado for a lot of cash but no prospects next winter. MLB Pipeline rates Sanchez as the Phillies’ best pitching prospect and the second-best prospect overall in the system. Kingery is third overall and the top infielder. While the Phillies’ system is among the best in baseball, its notable weakness is pitching, so parting with Sanchez — who throws in the upper 90’s and can hit triple digits — would be a big ask. Kingery is seen as the club’s next second baseman of the future, so much so that the Phillies are shopping Cesar Hernandez at the Winter Meetings.
As usual with rumors during the Winter Meetings, there may be some smoke but no actual fire here. The Orioles are likely to get continued interest in Machado from many teams between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. They are simply doing their due diligence by seeing what the Phillies and others have to offer for Machado.