Word came over the weekend that it was coming and now it is reportedly done: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the 13-year, $325 million contract between Giancarlo Stanton and the Marlins is officially “in place.” It won’t be publicly announced by the team until later this week, likely so that a press conference can be arranged.
The money is notable, but in reality it’s a natural tick up from the last biggest deal in baseball history, that being Miguel Cabrera’s $290 million+ pact with the Tigers. Stanton is younger and the deal is longer, of course, but this is not, contrary to what you’ll hear in the coming days, paradigm-breaking or some new high watermark in player greed, owner foolishness or anything like that. Baseball’s revenues are up dramatically. It was inevitable that a young, talented player was going to make a some serious bank like this eventually.
What is notable is the structure. Stanton, who is now 25, can opt out of the deal not long after he turns 30. Alex Rodriguez had a similar opt-out provision in his original $250 million deal he signed to join the Rangers. He exercised that opt-out in 2007 and signed an even bigger deal. Stanton, should he continue to be the top slugger in baseball could do the same. It could also lead the famously fire-selling Jeff Loria to move Stanton as that time approaches. And, even if this deal seems gigantic now, it’s a movable contract, I reckon, if Stanton remains elite.
And if he isn’t the top slugger? If he becomes an OK but not great power hitter like some have in the past? Well, then the Marlins are on the hook for a long, long time for an awful lot of money.
Still, I think I’d rather gamble $325 million on Stanton at 25 than a lot of other free agents closer to 30. And if I am the Miami Marlins — a team with a lot of young talent but in search of credibility and some genuine devotion from its often-burned fan base — it’s not a bad gamble to take.