You walk into a bar.
This is the kind of bar that claims the old rustic dark grunge theme, but that’s because they haven’t spent any money on decorating since 1974.
But you haven’t been here before. Yet it feels like you’ve been here before; all the usual types are immediately identified by your heightened sense of de ja vu.
Over to your right is the pool table, a disappointing looking staple of the bar. It’s green felt looks pristine as if it is well taken care of, but the ornate decorations underneath the table are hiding what you would later discover is a sloped table towards the northeastern corner pocket. The regular shark, Mike, is hanging out with his vodka and soda, just waiting for the newest sardine to enter his domain.
Over at the jukebox, you see the flashy tourist, Bryce, here for just another weekend or two. He’s certainly had a good time thus far in the evening, but you know just as well as he does that he won’t look back with fond recollection on this evening. His parents just split up, and whoever his dad starts seeing next can’t replace the way his mom welcomed in all of him and his ups and downs.
As you walk further into the bar, you notice the town drunk, Manny, nearly asleep at the counter. Just before you arrived, he was cutoff for the evening by the owner for being too emotional with other patrons at the bar, but he’ll bounce back. He always does.
But now you’re here too. You as well have both strengths and vices, but no one will mess with you here. You’ve been the cute attractive guy, you’ve been the guy who pounds back drinks faster than the cast of IASIP, and you’ve been the guy who’s more than happy to be the faithful supporter of your local pub (no matter how many times they’ve shut down early on a week night). So the question I have for you, Giancarlo, is which guy do you want to be tonight?
Okay, enough of that weird shit. To get us in the mood, let’s look at some pretty things together for a few minutes.
Giancarlo (Mike) Stanton wants out of Miami, and no one blames him. Derek Jeter isn’t some sort of Jesus descending upon South Beach, and Stanton wants to make some sort of name for himself in the playoffs.
Fun fact: the Marlins are 2 for 2 in the playoffs; they have made the playoffs twice in their franchise history, and have won the World Series in both playoff appearances (1997, 2003). Unfortunately for Stanton, this also means that the Marlins haven’t made the playoffs since 2003 when Stanton was in junior high.
We’ve seen quite a few rumors recently of teams showing interest in the player formerly known as Mike, but trading a player with 10 years and $295 million left on his contract is about as simple as figuring out why anyone spends time watching Hallmark movies during the Christmas season.
There’s many angles that we could take looking at this: what is the best fit for Stanton as a player now? Long term? Who is willing to pay up to acquire Stanton for the overwhelming asking price the Marlins are reportedly posting? Who needs Stanton the most? Instead of answering any of these, let’s focus on one component in particular: is trading for Giancarlo Stanton worth it?
Here’s the relative facts on Stanton as it pertains to our conversation:
- Stanton turned 28 last week
- Stanton is signed through 2027 (2028 is a team option), though he has an opt out clause after 2020
- Stanton is guaranteed $295 million in the remaining 10 years of his contract ($310 million total if the team option is granted)
- Stanton has a no trade clause with his contract; he’s reportedly enforced his right of refusal to offers from St. Louis and Boston already
Let’s play a game, shall we? Take a look at the following player averages from 2014-2017.
- Player A: 139 games played, 29 HR, 77 RBI, .336 OBP, 4.9 WAR, Age: 25
- Player B: 128 games played, 27 HR, 76 RBI, .403 OBP, 4.3 WAR, Age: 25
- Player C: 124 games played, 38 HR, 94 RBI, .366 OBP, 5.1 WAR, Age: 28
- Player D: 147 games played, 35 HR, 93 RBI, .413 OBP, 8.6 WAR, Age: 26
We often talk about contracts as the big number at the beginning, but that yearly amount is far more important. Looking at Stanton’s contract as an annual average of $29.5 million takes a $310 million turd and makes it sit under immense pressure for millions of years and then jumps in a time machine to late 2017 to yield its value as a diamond. A huge effing diamond.
We’re quickly approaching the first $500 million contract, and between Machado, Harper, and Trout it will likely happen in the next few years (they are the mystery players above for those too lazy for a few embedded hyperlinks). Assuming a 12 year contract, that will work out to $41.67 million per year going towards a player making over half as much as four different major league ball clubs in the past season.
Looking back to the beginning, at the wonderful bar setting described by yours truly, every player has a flaw. Bryce has a partial injury history skewed by under-performing playoff teams and a front office that can’t cut ways with the right people on the coaching staff at the right times. Manny has been a delightful glove on the field and a great bat in the middle of a playoff worthy lineup, but his reputation for high emotions in bad moments carries right alongside him. And then there’s Trout, who rightfully has the day following the 2020 World Series highlighted in 14 different colors all forming dollar signs on his calendar.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have Giancarlo Stanton at $29.5 million per year than pay Harper/Machado/Arenado/Bryant $40 million per year or more through their age 38 season. Every player is flawed one way or another, and injuries can happen to any player late in career that are out of their control.
So is Stanton, the 295 million dollar man worth it?