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The Dodgers didn’t plan on making a last-minute push for Giancarlo Stanton trade

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It’s a foregone conclusion by this point, as Giancarlo Stanton is reportedly en route to New York to confirm a deal with the Yankees today, but MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reports that it was unlikely that the Dodgers would have made a last-ditch effort for Giancarlo Stanton this weekend. They were still in the middle of trade talks with the Marlins as of Friday night, but had not advanced as far as the Yankees in negotiations and were no longer thought to be serious players for the outfielder.

While Los Angeles was considered a preferred destination for Stanton at one point, there were a number of factors that made a deal iffy at best. Taking on the entirety of Stanton’s $295 million salary was never a possibility, and it would have been difficult, if not impossible for them to keep their payroll below the luxury tax threshold for the next several years. Stanton wouldn’t have been their only consideration, either, as they still have several big contract decisions on the horizon with established stars like Clayton Kershaw (who can opt out after the 2018 season), Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger.

Another point that worked against the Dodgers was their desire to offload larger contracts in a potential deal for Stanton. As Morosi pointed out yesterday, the Yankees were willing to provide the Marlins with an affordable, serviceable veteran in Starlin Castro, who comes cheaper than fellow veterans Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy or Scott Kazmir would have. Combined with the Dodgers’ inability to absorb a large chunk of Stanton’s salary, it’s hardly surprising that the Marlins opted for a more team-friendly deal with the Yankees — as for Stanton himself, he may have missed out on signing with his hometown club, but still checked an item off his wish list after netting a contract with a top contender.

At least the Dodgers won’t face to face the Yankees’ star-studded lineup anytime soon… provided, of course, that the two don’t meet in the World Series.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉