How Giancarlo Stanton Signing Affects Mets

In case you’re just now returning from an African safari tour, the Miami Marlins signed Giancarlo Stanton to a 13-year, $325M contract.

How does this historic signing affect the Mets?

First off, the obvious: no way, no how, will the Mets be obtaining Stanton in a trade with Miami this winter. Surely you heard various rumors since last winter suggesting that the Mets might have a chance to secure the superstar outfielder, and now those pipe dreams are squashed indefinitely. Even if the Mets had ten Kevin Plawecki‘s and five Rafael Montero‘s to offer, no deal would happen — mainly because the Mets wouldn’t ever take on that kind of contract, and secondarily because the Marlins have established that they are committed to Stanton and the city of Miami for the long term.

Secondly, and more importantly, the Marlins are serious about winning.
Remember how gleeful you were when the Mets finished the 2014 season in second place, tied with the Braves and two whole games ahead of the Marlins? And remember how that tied-for-second-place finish meant that the Mets took a step forward, and were poised to grab a playoff berth in 2015 — because, surely, everyone else in the NL East will either stay the same or get worse, while the Mets will continue stomping forward? Not so fast. Giancarlo Stanton didn’t sign a 13-year contract to be miserable in Miami. He’s expecting big moves in the coming months to improve the team around him, and Marlins owner Jeff Loria publicly stated as much, speaking with the Miami Herald:

“I expect him to be a Marlin for 13 years. We are going to be surrounding him, we have already started to surround him, with All-Star-caliber players, and there will be more.

“He obviously saw last year that the franchise was serious about winning and serious about doing great things in the new stadium … We can afford it. We are going to surround him with an improved lineup as well. We need another bat in this lineup that can help him out.”

Oh sure, you can’t trust Jeffrey Loria any further than you can throw him, right? Maybe so. But then again, maybe Loria has always been serious about winning, but merely took the Do It Wrong Quickly
approach when he dismantled his club only two years ago. When Loria made that monster deal with the Blue Jays, it was by design — he purposely signed Jose Reyes, among others, to contracts that allowed Loria an “out” in case things didn’t go well. It’s a strategy he’s employed time and again through the years: spend big, but be quick to cut losses if the losses pile up. This time around, there’s no “out clause” for Loria — not for at least six seasons anyway (when Stanton has the ability to opt-out if he chooses). Stanton has a no-trade clause — the only one on the team, and the only one in years — and his contract is heavily backloaded for the sole purpose of providing Miami the flexibility to spend on other players during his prime years. Add together the payroll flexibility and the fact that ace starter Jose Fernandez (and client of Scott Boras) becomes a free agent in 2018, and it’s clear that the Marlins’ window to make a charge toward a World Championship begins now.

We’ll find out very soon just how serious Loria is about winning — as soon as the next two months. A week ago, with Stanton’s future as a Fish uncertain, the Braves resembling a boxer trying to stand up from an eight-count, and the Mets fresh off the signing of Michael Cuddyer, a second consecutive second-place finish in the NL East was looking very plausible from the Flushing perspective. Suddenly, though, it’s apparent that the Mets’ path to the postseason will be no cakewalk. The Braves made two trades to start what will be a busy offseason of reloading, and the Marlins made a very loud commitment to winning. At least the Phillies still appear to be wandering without a compass.

What say you? Do you see Stanton’s signing as the start of more bold moves by Miami? Do you doubt Loria’s commitment? Do you think the Mets need to — and will — make more moves to keep up with the rest of the NL East? Sound off in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. DanB November 20, 2014 at 2:47 pm
    As far as I can tell, Loria doesn’t have a $600 million loan to refinance in 2015. I am also assuming he is not saving for a massive redevelopment project around his stadium. That is a big advantage for the Marlins. Makes you question which owner you’d rather have for your team. And if you are looking up to Loria, your perspective most be very low to start.
    • DanS November 20, 2014 at 4:16 pm
      Hey Dan,

      I’m in the boonies of Massachusetts and don’t see NY media much. Can you say a little more about what I’m assuming is a Wilpon “massive redevelopment plan” around the stadium? (These are the same guys who fantasized a gambling casino in the old Shea parking lot, right?) Thanks, Dan. And thanks Joe. Great perspective as usual.

    • Dan42 November 20, 2014 at 8:47 pm
      Like the Wilpons, Loria has screwed things up so badly that he had no choice but to extend him, and attempt (or at least appear) to build a winning team around him. As with Wright, trading him would be an admission of defeat, and have negative consequences on the field and in the (empty) seats, as Bat wrote below. Note that the contract is very back loaded, pushing the downside risk into the next decade, when Loria may no longer have to deal with it.
  2. Bat November 20, 2014 at 5:08 pm
    The first thing I thought when I read about Stanton’s contract is that Matt Harvey is a goner as soon as he becomes a free agent.

    If he rebounds to pre-TJS performance, I don’t think there is any way that the Wilpons pony up the cash necessary to extend him (pre-free agency) or re-sign him (if he becomes a free agent).

    Boras is Harvey’s agent and I fear that he will be playing for the Yankees in due course…there was a time when the Mets extended / re-signed big money players, but unfortunately that time is largely ancient history (other than the notable exception of David Wright, who I think the Mets extended for the same reason the Marlins extended Stanton: face-of-franchise, and fear that crossing that line would be the point of no return with the fans).

  3. DaveSchneck November 21, 2014 at 12:15 am
    Joe and Company,
    This deal is a big to do about nothing, and has no impact on the Mets whatsoever, IMHO. Some reasons – first, despite blog chatter, the was zero chance of the Mets obtaining Stanton, since Alderson would not deplete the system it took him years to stock and because there is no chance in this life or the next that the Wilpons would acquire a player that could command a record contract to retain. Second, by signing Stanton, the Marlins are no better than they were a week ago, as they controlled the player for the next two seasons regardless. Third, if the Marlins decided to deal Stanton this winter rather than extend him, the return would have been huge, and may have even made them better in 2015 than they will be with Stanton. Fourth, Loria is still the worst owner in baseball (yes, worse than the Wilpons) and his word means nothing. Fifth, anyone guaranteeing $300 mil to a guy whose last play on the field was getting his face rearranged by a fast ball is out of their mind. That was a gruesome play, the effects of which will not be known for a while. Even as a Met fan I hope Stanton recovers fully, but even more than DW he will be tested with inside heat (the book on him before the beaning) and many a player was never the same after being hit in the face/head.

    The Marlins way well have more young talent than the Mets, but ultimately it will come down to how their kids perform compared to the Met youth, especially the pitching, regardless of what liars like Loria or the Wilpons declare about their intentions.

    Dan B – Loria does not have that load, as he swindled the Florida politicians into having the taxpayers foot the bill. But, Loria also does not have his own TV network in the largest market in the US poised for windfall profits if and when the flagship team starts winning consistently. The value of the Mets, SNY, and Citifield far exceeds that of the Marlins, even after netting against the Wilpon debt.

    • DanB November 21, 2014 at 2:30 pm
      Dave, as someone who is house-rich (sort of) and revenue-poor (definitely), I know just because the Mets are worth more doesn’t mean they are capable of spending more. That said, how awful is it that the Marlins may have more revenue available to spend then the Mets?
      I also agree with Bat that the window of opportunity for the Mets is small as I don’t see them giving out $100 million plus contracts to their pitchers as they near free agency. This puts a lot of pressure on the next crop of Met prospects to mature and produce quickly.
      • DaveSchneck November 24, 2014 at 10:17 pm
        Sorry for the delayed reply. Since 2000, the Marlins have spent $650 million in layer payroll as compared to the Mets’ roughly $1.6 million. The Mets have outdrawn the Marlins by 400K last year, and have outdrawn the Marlins essentially every season, at much higher average ticket prices. The Mets owners own over 65% of a sports network in the largest TV market in the country. I can’t conceive in any way how the Marlins have or will have more available revenues that the Mets. Despite their debt, the Met owners still have in excess of 50% net equity in their baseball assets, and as was the case when the big loans came due last year, banks were lining up for the business. Now, how much the spend on the team is more a function of choice in the post-Madoff, new MLB TV contract world. Between the Wilpons and Loria, it’s a coin flip on who has been more disingenuous, but I still strongly believe the Mets have much more financial clout than the Marlins. Who has the brighter future based on current talent is open for debate.

        Regarding the window of opportunity to win, I don’t think we can tell either way at this time. Ultimately, the ability of the team to win (and thus increase revenues) combine with the team’s ability to develop a steady flow of quality young, controllable players, will determine how long that window stays open.

    • argonbunnies November 21, 2014 at 9:48 pm
      I completely agree with Dave.

      Whether Loria is going to try hard to win or not, signing the only superstar you can get to sign with you on a back-loaded deal is a no-brainer. Loria has given himself three possible outs before Stanton becomes pricey:

      1) The Marlins win and attendance picks up to the point where they actually won’t mind paying him for the duration.

      2) The Marlins suck and Stanton is so eager to get out of Miami that he accepts a trade or opts out.

      3) Loria sells the team, the presence of Stanton raises the selling price, and the next owner has to worry about those high-salary years.

      If you look at Loria’s history, the most consistent outcome would be #3. Win or lose, the guy’s always made money off his MLB ownership.

      I imagine the Marlins will spend to win only if they can find players who they can again dump if the team doesn’t win. No long-term contracts to guys in their 30s. No Hanley, no Lester, no Scherzer. No out-bidding the league (at least not in years) for LaRoche. No trading away cheap young guys either. So it kinda depends on who’s out there and whether there’s a good fit.

  4. argonbunnies November 21, 2014 at 9:53 pm
    I never thought the Marlins would be pushovers, and I still don’t. They’re a similar team to the Mets in many ways; the Mets’ young starters are a little farther along, but the Marlins have fewer big contracts and old guys clogging things up.

    I think one of the biggest unknowns is the bullpen — either team’s pen could be great or terrible, and that may well determine which team hangs on in the wild card race and which team doesn’t.

    A positional comparison might actually be pretty fun…

  5. argonbunnies November 23, 2014 at 8:09 pm
    I never thought the Marlins would be pushovers, and I still don’t. They’re a similar team to the Mets in many ways; the Mets’ young starters are a little farther along, but the Marlins have fewer big contracts and old guys clogging things up.

    I think one of the biggest unknowns is the bullpen — either team’s pen could be great or terrible, and that may well determine their fates.

  6. Bat November 23, 2014 at 9:34 pm
    DanB phrased this excellently: the Mets window might be very small. Because the stellar young players the Mets have under team control all possess around the same amount of service time, and before you know it, all of those players will be arbitration eligible and then free agents.

    Unless the Mets start winning quick and raking in money in order to pay higher player salaries, you could see many of these guys not being re-signed once eligible for free agency and maybe even in the last year or so of arbitration eligibility.

    Sad, but true.

    Meanwhile the Red Sox are reportedly going hard after both Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez with the idea that if they land both they will trade a bunch of their current players for pitching.

    I used to enjoy Mets offseasons where they were players for big-name guys. Nowadays it seems like the Rule 5 draft is a highlight of Mets offseasons as well as signing retread free agents like Colon, Carrasco, Frank Francisco, Chris Young (OF), Buddy Carlyle, Dana Eveland, and (perhaps) 36-year-old-on-Opening Day Cuddyer, and similar names has-been (Grandy?) / never-was names.

    I do NOT advocate for building an entire team through free agency, but acquiring premier or even above-average free agents now and again to supplement home grown talent is I think a proven way to win. So I don’t long for the Al Harazin days of signing Vince Coleman, Eddie Murray, Willie Randolph, but I do wish the Mets would continually canvass the free agent landscape and spend some money.

    Andrew Miller would be a good fit…imagine him in the bullpen as the closer with Familia, Mejia, Black, Edgin, and Parnell in front of him, and you start thinking about a Royals-type shutdown pen that can win the game if the starter can merely pitch 5-6 innings.

    Unfortunately Mike Puma said the Mets have “no shot” at Andrew Miller: