Pirates president Frank Coonelly made some interesting comments at the team’s PirateFest event this weekend about how the Marlins actually feel about Giancarlo Stanton’s backloaded 13-year, $325 million extension. For a refresher, read this below:
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.’”
Not that the Marlins need any help, but those comments didn’t exactly paint them in the most positive light. Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel got in touch with Samson today to get his side of the story. Samson said that the conversation was mischaracterized and Coonelly apologized via text for his comments:
“It’s a non-issue for us,” Samson said. “The opt out is purely his, not the Marlins’, so there is no way we could ever have the view that [Coonelly] professed that we did. Our view is the opposite, which is we’re counting on him being with us for 13 seasons and retiring a Marlin and being the face of the franchise that entire period.”
In addition, Samson pointed out how the opt out clause was Stanton’s idea. The Marlins had no desire to include one in the contract.
“We made it very clear to Joel Wolfe [Stanton’s representative] that we did not want an opt out,” Samson said. “It was something Giancarlo wanted because he wanted to make sure he and the team continued to move in the right direction. For us, we’re getting ready for spring training. We don’t get distracted by stuff like this. We’re getting ready for the season. This is season one of 13 with Giancarlo.”
It’s only natural for Marlins fans to be paranoid about this, but don’t feel too bad for Stanton here. Not only does he have the biggest contract in baseball history right now, but if he opts out after the 2020 season, it will likely mean that he has continued to be awesome and will have the chance to make more money on the open market. If not, he stays and will still be a very, very rich man. In the meantime, Stanton gave the Marlins a discount in hopes that they will build a competitive and sustainable team around him. Will they do it? The Marlins still have to prove it, but the potential is there for this situation to be a win-win for all involved.