Marlins owners Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman will try this winter to cut the team's payroll by as much as $65 million, a source recently told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
Jeter, Sherman, and their ownership group recently agreed to pay $1.2 billion to buy the Marlins, who are expected to lose roughly $50 million in revenue next year, Spencer reports.
"They told us that they're prepared to dump," a rival executive recently told B/R's Scott Miller. "They're working on it and talking to clubs."
The Brewers ended 2017 with the lowest payroll at roughly $85 million, according to Spotrac.
Obviously, the easiest way for Miami to save money is to trade OF Giancarlo Stanton, who is under contract and earning $295 million through the next 10 seasons. It's not going to be easy to find a deal, though, despite several teams expressing interest in him this past summer.
Aug 8, 2017; Stanton (27) hits a three run homer at Nationals Park. Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
For starters, Stanton has a full no-trade clause, 2) He will earn just under $30 million each of the next three seasons, and 3) He can opt out of the entire remaining deal at the end of 2020. In other words, in exchange for giving up your best prospects to get him, it's quite possible Stanton opts out of his contract, becomes a free agent and is playing for a different team in three years.
in addition to his heavyweight contract, he also has a full no-trade clause. Which means, no matter how much talent the Mets may be willing to trade to get him, if for some reason he doesn't want to be on the Mets, he isn't coming to the Mets. Thankfully, Stanton recently told FanRag.com's Jon Heyman that he would rather be traded than be part of another rebuilding process.
If this is accurate, it means there are only a few teams that will be a realistic match. To get him from Miami, the interested team must A) have a stacked farm system that they're willing to obliterate, B) be capable of taking on Stanton's entire contract, and C) have a stadium, location, and plan in place to win that he will view as an acceptable destination.
The other complicating issue is in how to balance the trade for Miami. For instance, am I agreeing to trade them my best yount talent for a 27-year-old monster and his three-year, $100 million contract? Or, am I acquiring a 27-year-old with an enormous 10-year, nearly $300 million anchor by his side? There is a significant difference between the two realities and what I'm willing to give up and get in both scenarios.
In an effort to make the situation more static, I'm sure the acquiring team will ask Stanton for assurances (or a signed guarantee) that he will (or will not) opt out of his contract in three years. I've heard Stanton is open to renegotiating the terms of the overall deal, but I'm not sure to what extent he's willing to shortchange himself just so a deal can go through.
Otherwise, if it's a standard deal, I see the Phillies, Yankees and Dodgers as being the only teams with enough talent to trade and the ability and willingness to add $25 million to next year's payroll, plus risk tacking on nearly $280 million in commitments through 2028.
Juan Lagares (left) steals second while Dee Gordon waits for the throw during the seventh inning. The Mets won, 4-3. (AP)
Instead of trying to crack Miami's code for Stanton, I'd rather see Sandy Alderson make a play for second baseman Dee Gordon, or outfielders Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.
Gordon, 29, is a two-time All-Star, three-time NL stolen base champion, and he's hitting .309 with a .340 OBP since joining the Marlins in 2015. He would also put someone at the top of the order able to create runs in a way the Mets haven't had in a long, long time.
In the field, Gordon isn't a Gold Glove winner, but he's better than Asdrubal Cabrera or most options the Mets will consider for next season. More importantly, he's due just $37 million during the next three seasons, after which he has a $14 million team option.
To get a player of his stature, as well as to get Yelich or Ozuna, it will cost at least one healthy, young player with significant upside, already producing in the big leagues and earning little money during the next few years. Other than dealing infielders Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario, I'm not sure Alderson has the the tools needed to complete these deals. But, I know he wants (and needs to) win, so -- at this point -- every option should be on his table, especially if a team like Miami is set to go crazy.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is the host of SNY's MetsBlog Q&ACast and the lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!