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Stanton sold on Miami, market and Marlins' potential

Star slugger hopes megadeal will fuel extended success, close relationship with fan base
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton has made a long-term commitment to the Marlins and the city of Miami, and the slugger hopes to eventually see the market embrace the organization that has ranked low in the standings and at the gate since he made his debut in 2010.

After signing his record-setting 13-year, $325 million contract on Wednesday, Stanton expressed his desire to remain in Miami, rather than eventually exploring free agency in two years.

MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton has made a long-term commitment to the Marlins and the city of Miami, and the slugger hopes to eventually see the market embrace the organization that has ranked low in the standings and at the gate since he made his debut in 2010.

After signing his record-setting 13-year, $325 million contract on Wednesday, Stanton expressed his desire to remain in Miami, rather than eventually exploring free agency in two years.

"I love the people. I love the environment," the 25-year-old said.

Many had believed Stanton -- a native of Sherman Oaks, Calif., who grew up a Dodgers fan -- would eventually want to play on the West Coast.

Video: Marlins discuss Stanton's record-setting contract

"I've said it from the beginning: winning or losing, my personal beliefs in living here, I like it better than L.A., where I grew up," Stanton said. "I'm very comfortable here. I enjoy all aspects of it. This is a place where I want to make a stamp and bring something that Miami hasn't seen before."

To make the marriage with the Marlins work long term, the club has to contend. If Stanton doesn't like the direction the team is headed, he has an opt-out clause in 2020, after the sixth year of the deal.

Stanton says he is ready to do his part to change the culture. And although he has repeatedly seen plenty of empty seats at Marlins Park, he claims Miami could be a sleeping giant when it comes to baseball.

"This can be one of the biggest markets," the right fielder said. "I keep saying that over and over again. I believe it. Now, it is strictly just winning that is going to win back the fan market. But it can expand more.

"I see Opening Night, and that's about the last time I see this place full. Trust me, that's not ideal for me to want to come to an empty stadium. I want to change that."

Video: Rogers breaks down Stanton's deal with Marlins

Stanton made his desire to win known a few weeks ago when he met with Marlins officials at a hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. That meeting turned out to be the most significant event in the negotiations.

Until that day, the two-time All-Star was not completely convinced he would sign.

During the meeting, the Marlins presented their offer in writing in front of Stanton.

"I put it aside and said, 'Listen, what are we going to do to make this better? Yeah, I'm finally good for the rest of my life, great. I'm not trying to come here, get my butt kicked for 10 hours and go home to a lavish lifestyle. That's not for me. Money can't buy the happiness of that,' " Stanton said. "That was a concern of mine."

On the field, the Marlins have an exciting young core of players. The culture manager Mike Redmond has set in the clubhouse is in step with the front office, spearheaded by president of baseball operations Michael Hill and general manager Dan Jennings.

Video: Michael Hill joins MLB Tonight

The Marlins improved by 15 games in 2014, but they still finished 77-85.

Despite the losing mark, Stanton likes the direction the club is headed, and he signed up to help the Marlins reach the next level.

"This is a different clubhouse," he said. "Before, in my first couple of years, the chemistry wasn't there. We didn't do much better [in 2014] than those teams [record-wise], but there is just a different feeling, and a desire. It can be big things. We have to put things together, but it could be big things."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro.

Miami Marlins, Giancarlo Stanton