There’s an interesting story tucked into Rob Biertempfel’s latest notebook for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review regarding the Marlins’ expectations for their record 13-year, $325 million contract extension with slugger Giancarlo Stanton. That contact is heavily backloaded — Stanton gets just $6.5 million in 2015 and $9 million in 2016 — and it also includes an opt-out clause that will become available following the 2020 season. See where this is going? The ever-slimy Marlins higher-ups appear to be banking on Stanton leaving Miami after the first six relatively-inexpensive years of the 13-year deal. Biertempfel brings the dirt from this weekend’s annual PirateFest …
When asked for his reaction to Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton’s 13-year, $325 million extension, president Frank Coonelly chuckled and said, “It seems like Monopoly money, doesn’t it?”
Coonelly then got off his stool on the stage and stepped toward the crowd. He talked about an exchange he had with Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and president David Samson during the recent owner’s meetings.
“They thought it was a great deal,” Coonelly said. “I just couldn’t get my head around the $325 million. They said to me, ‘You don’t understand. (Stanton) has an out clause after six years. Those first six years are only going to cost $107 million. After that, he’ll leave and play for somebody else. So, it’s not really $325 million.'”
Stanton would be turning down seven years, $218 million at that point, but he will only be 30 years old and maybe he’ll be so fed up with Marlins ownership that he does decide to leave all that money on the table.
Or maybe this is a case of Coonelly deflecting criticism from fans about the Pirates’ own lack of spending.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.