Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes that the Marlins plan to offer a contract extension to outfielder Giancarlo Stanton during the winter, but they aren’t optimistic about their chances. The Marlins tried to get the extension talks rolling last winter, but Stanton wanted to play out the 2014 season before making it a topic of discussion. According to Heyman, Stanton is happier with the Marlins now than when he criticized the club after they traded away Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes, among others.
Stanton, 24, is earning $6.5 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration two more times before becoming eligible for free agency, sans an extension, in 2017. If the Marlins aren’t able to come to an agreement with their slugger, they’ll have no other choice but to shop him to what will certainly be a horde of interested teams.
Stanton has had an MVP-caliber season, leading the league with 27 home runs and 76 RBI while slashing .289/.389/.546 and stealing 10 bases.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.