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Report: Marlins are trying to strongarm Giancarlo Stanton into accepting a trade


The Marlins, with fresh new ownership, are going into one of their familar firesale modes, which means the club is actively looking to trade star slugger Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton, who just won the 2017 National League Most Valuable Player Award, has a full no-trade clause and reportedly prefers to go to the Dodgers. Stanton is from Los Angeles. The Dodgers, however, may not end up being a fit. If Stanton doesn’t like his options, he can simply refuse to waive his no-trade clause and remain with the Marlins.

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that the Marlins have warned Stanton that if he does refuse to waive his no-trade clause, he’ll be the only star because the team would attempt to trade other players to reduce payroll. Spencer notes that the Marlins didn’t present the statement as an ultimatum, but it pretty much is. The Marlins’ payroll target, according to Spencer, is $90 million. Without factoring in arbitration-eligible players, the Marlins already have nearly $132 million committed for 2018.

Other players the Marlins would explore trading include Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, Dee Gordon, J.T. Realmuto, Martin Prado, Edinson Volquez, and Justin Bour, among others. Prado, who has the second-highest salary on the team at $13.5 million, will earn just over half of Stanton’s 2018 salary — $25 million. He’s owed $295 million for the remainder of his 10-year, $325 million contract. Needless to say, getting another team to assume a large portion of Stanton’s contract would be the most efficient way for the Marlins to create payroll flexibility. Of course, in requiring a team to pay off Stanton’s contract, the Marlins have very little leverage with which to request good prospects. That’s a problem, too.

Any team acquiring Stanton would be getting a proven slugger in the prime of his career. Now 28 years old, Stanton is coming off a season in which he hit .281/.376/.631 with 59 home runs, 132 RBI, and 123 runs scored in 692 plate appearances. It was, however, just the third time in Stanton’s eight-year career that he crossed the 600-PA threshold.

The Cardinals and Giants have reportedly shown the most interest in acquiring Stanton. Neither of those teams play in Los Angeles.

Jason Vargas fractured his non-pitching hand

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Mets left-hander Jason Vargas has a non-displaced fracture of the hamate bone in his right hand, the team announced Sunday. Vargas sustained the injury after taking a comebacker off of his hand on Friday and is expected to consult with a hand specialist later today as the team settles on a course of action. Comments from GM Sandy Alderson indicate that surgery is a possibility, though the left-hander may also pitch through it for the time being.

Vargas, 35, signed a two-year, $16 million pact with the team last month. He completed a four-year run with the Royals in 2017, earning his first career All-Star nomination with an 18-11 record in 32 starts and producing a 4.16 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 6.7 SO/9 over 179 2/3 innings. Prior to the incident, the southpaw was expected to help fill out the back end of the Mets’ Opening Day rotation.

Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News estimates that Vargas will likely miss the start of the season as he faces a two- to six-week recovery period. It’s a disappointing turn of events for a pitching staff that has been absolutely ravaged by injuries over the last couple of years.