So much of the Giancarlo Stanton trade chatter in the past couple of weeks has involved the interest of the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants, each of which reportedly have a framework of a deal in place with the Marlins for the 2017 MVP. Stanton has a no-trade clause, however, so a framework is not enough. He has to approve the deals and a report came out last night that Stanton is not, at present, willing to go to San Francisco or St. Louis.
Ken Rosenthal reports that Stanton is electing not to accept proposed deals to those two teams, but that he would consider trades to the Dodgers or Yankees. Craig Mish of SiriusXM ads that Stanton would likewise approve trades to the Cubs and Astros. Mish says that the reports in the past few weeks about Stanton’s preferences have greatly undersold his desire to play for a winning team and have unduly focused on his geographical preferences (i.e. the west coast). These reports would seem to bear that out.
Mish and Joe Frisaro of MLB.com say that, to date, the Marlins had not engaged in any serious trade discussions with clubs other than the Giants and Cardinals. Mish says that Stanton took meetings with both teams because they were the only potential deals on the table. His preferences about those two clubs, however, seem clear. As such, the notion floated a couple of days ago that Stanton could be traded this week seems far-fetched. This trade drama should extend through the Winter Meetings which begin on Monday.
It’s hard not to see all of these reports as evidence of some questionable communication between Stanton and the Marlins. Is the club pursuing deals without first knowing whether Stanton would accept a trade to the potential team? Is Stanton unwilling to talk to the club about a potential trade unless or until he’s presented with an actual deal to approve or reject? Has there been some communication but the parties are sending mixed signals? Do the Marlins know well where Stanton will or won’t go but nonetheless keep plugging away at Stanton, hoping he’ll change his mind?
Against that background we must also ask who the source is for all of the reports about the potential deals and Stanton’s willingness or unwillingness to accept them. You have to assume it’s not Stanton’s people. He has no incentive to appear to be a the bad guy in publicly rejecting trades to multiple cities. The Marlins, however, have a lot of incentive to put public pressure on him. The Cards and Giants likewise have an incentive to make their fan bases believe they are trying hard to get baseball’s best slugger.
Whatever the case, we’re in Stanton’s corner on all of this. The man plays for a team with a history of fire sales. When he signed that long term extension he negotiated a no-trade clause because he liked playing in Miami and because he didn’t want to get dumped someplace he didn’t want to be in the next fire sale. Which, of course, is now coming to pass. The clubs and some fans will give him crap for not accepting these deals, but good for him for standing firm. It’s the only power he has here and he is fully within his rights to exercise it.
We likely won’t know the details about it all until this is all said and done, Stanton is traded someplace and people start telling the tale. In the meantime, this all seems like a giant mess.