ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' pursuit of Giancarlo Stanton officially ended on Friday after the team was informed that the Marlins slugger would not waive his no-trade clause to accept a trade to St. Louis.The club had reached an agreement to acquire Stanton from the Marlins, but it was contingent
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' pursuit of Giancarlo Stanton officially ended on Friday after the team was informed that the Marlins slugger would not waive his no-trade clause to accept a trade to St. Louis.
The club had reached an agreement to acquire Stanton from the Marlins, but it was contingent on Stanton agreeing to the trade. The Cardinals, even after meeting with Stanton last week, could not convince the National League's reigning Most Valuable Player to do so.
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Stanton is reportedly headed to the Yankees, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, who said early on Saturday morning that the parameters of a deal were "done."
"While we are disappointed in his decision, we will continue to make every effort to improve our club for the upcoming season," said Cardinals principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr.
Though it had been speculated that Stanton preferred other destinations over St. Louis, it is unclear exactly what reservations he had about continuing his career with the Cardinals.
"We felt this was a great landing spot for him," said John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations. "But it was not meant to be."
The Cardinals, along with the Giants, had been most aggressive in pursuing a trade for Stanton this offseason. The two clubs had the framework for a trade in place last week, which prompted meetings between Stanton and representatives from both organizations. The Giants also released a statement on Friday stating that they, too, were out on Stanton.
Knowing that they were eliminated from the mix now allows the Cardinals to focus their attention elsewhere as they seek to upgrade the offense with the addition of a middle-of-the-order hitter. The Cardinals have prepared for this pivot by spending the last several weeks having conversations with other teams and agents about potential Plan B fits.
Some of those discussions are likely to become more nuanced next week when clubs gather in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for the Winter Meetings.
The fact that Miami has already heavily scouted Cardinals players as part of their efforts to tailor a trade for Stanton would help expedite the process if the Cardinals shift direction and explore acquiring outfielders Marcell Ozuna or Christian Yelich instead.
The trade market continues to be the preferred route for the Cardinals as they seek to improve their offense with the addition of a middle-of-the-order bat. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported possible interest in Rays third baseman Evan Longoria. The Cardinals could also consider short-term solutions by pursuing Josh Donaldson, who is a free agents after the 2018 season.
Outfielder J.D. Martinez and first basemen Eric Hosmer and Carlos Santana are the top bats on the free-agent market now.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.