Marlins haven’t discussed a contract extension with Giancarlo Stanton

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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.

Red Sox look to punch their ticket to the World Series tonight

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Thanks to some amazing defense, some big hits and — to continue to beat this horse, a bad call by Joe West — the Red Sox have a 3-1 lead in the ALCS and look to clinch the AL Pennant tonight down in Houston.

If you believe in momentum, you’d have to say it’s on Boston’s side. If you believe that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher, however, you’d have to say things favor Houston more than the standing of the series would suggest. All of which makes me wish Game 5 was starting right now, because it figures to be a tense and exciting affair.

ALCS Game 5

Red Sox vs. Astros
Ballpark: Minute Maid Park
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
TV: TBS
Pitchers: David Price vs. Justin Verlander
Breakdown:

If someone told you that you had to win one baseball game against the Martians to save the human race, you could do far worse than calling on Justin Verlander to be your starting pitcher. Among the pitchers still in the postseason, he’d almost certainly be your choice right now.

Does Verlander himself appreciate the situation? This is what he said about that yesterday:

“I mean, these are all must-win games at this point. Every time you take the mound I don’t think there’s any difference whether it’s 2-2 or 3-1.”

Look, we’re asking him to beat the Martians here, not win the National Math Bee, so let’s let that go. The point is that after all of these years he’s still one of the most dominant pitchers in the game and after the exhausting, see-saw battle of Game 4, he stands the best chance of giving Houston what it needs: a quick, quiet and drama-free win.

Not that the Red Sox are likely to roll over for that. They didn’t the first time they faced Verlander in this series. They Astros won, yes, and Verlander limited them to two runs on two hits. But he also issued four walks and wasn’t his sharpest overall. Boston didn’t capitalize on his mistakes as best they could, but he’s not invincible.

For Boston it’s David Price. He allowed four runs on five hits and four walks over four and two-thirds innings in Game 2, not factoring in the decision. That’s not great, but given the talk leading up to that game being all about how Price is a postseason flop, the fact that the Sox won it in the end had to bouy him at least a little. As does the fact that, here, tonight, it’s not 100% on his shoulders. Sure, the Sox want to close this out, but with a 3-1 lead there is less pressure on Price than on his former teammate Verlander. Worth noting, though: Price is on short rest and warmed up in the bullpen last night in case he was needed to bail out Craig Kimbrel. He may not go deep into this game.