It’s uncommon for the league’s MVP and a 50+ home run hitter to hit the trade market just three years into a 13-year deal. It’s especially uncommon for said player to be traded to a division rival. But once the sale of the Miami Marlins to Derek Jeter and Co. was finalized, the rumors of Giancarlo Stanton to Philadelphia started to swirl.
There are many reasons why it makes sense for the Phillies to go after Stanton. There are also many reasons why it doesn’t.
For one, he is owed a lot of money, about $300 million over the next 10 years. The Phillies have a lot of it and there’s no doubt that majority owner John Middleton is more than ready to share his wealth, but it shouldn’t be now and it shouldn’t be on Stanton.
The Phillies may have the money but 10 years is a long time (the opt-out allows flexibility, but that’s on Stanton’s end). Ryan Howard’s contract was only for five years and we all know how that ended, so imagine being tied down for another five seasons. 2017 was the first time Stanton played nearly a whole season in his career. His 159 games was the most he played in his career, and he’s only reached 140 games three times. It’s also hard to imagine a power hitter like that won’t start to break down as the years go on.
While teams typically don’t trade players of Stanton’s caliber within their division, the new Marlins’ brass seems more concerned about what they can get back than from whom it comes. The Phillies have one of the deepest systems, with high-level prospects and young players at nearly every position.
Aside from taking on his contract, the Phillies would also have to give up some of that young talent in exchange for Stanton. General Manager Matt Klentak hasn’t held tight for this long to trade valuable pieces for a position that isn’t needed. The Phillies owe it to themselves – and these players – to see what a full season of Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr can do.
If the Phillies really want to spend money, they can just wait until next offseason when you can throw $400 million to the likes of Bryce Harper or Manny Machado without also losing players in return.
Stanton made it clear he wants to win now and while the Phillies made strides this past season, they clearly aren’t ready to compete for a title next season, with our without Stanton. Stanton might like the idea of playing at Citizens Bank Park (imagine the moonshots) but he has a full-no trade clause. He may want out of Miami but there are teams – like the Dodgers and Yankees – who are in the hunt and are much closer to winning than the Phils.
It’s tempting to take the bait. Klentak could snag the hottest player in the game and, in turn, instantly pack the stands and make his bosses – and fans – happy. But to trade for Stanton would require the front office to make a complete 180. This is a team who has been slowly climbing its way back to relevancy, evaluating internal talent and acquiring only the most necessary pieces to help out the current team with full focus on the future.
All eyes are on Stanton this offseason. It isn’t a matter of if he gets dealt, it’s a matter of where he’ll land.
It shouldn’t be Philadelphia.