Marlins open contract negotiations with Stanton
MIAMI -- Preliminary contract talks between the Marlins and Giancarlo Stanton are underway, and the question now becomes whether the two sides can reach a multiyear deal.
Miami officials remain hopeful. But they first will have to convince the two-time All-Star that the price is right and the commitment is there to remain in South Florida. Thus far, the team is indicating they are.
Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill shed some light on the Stanton situation during a conference call on Wednesday afternoon.
"Our negotiations, we want to keep them private," Hill said. "We don't want to negotiate this through the media. I will say that we've reached out to his representative and that negotiations are ongoing."
The Marlins have had an open dialogue with Stanton's agent, Joel Wolfe, throughout October.
It was Stanton's wish not to negotiate during the regular season, a year in which the slugger led the National League in home runs with 37 and slugging percentage (.555). He finished second in RBIs with 105.
Stanton's season was cut short on Sept. 11 after he was struck in the face by a pitch.
Despite appearing in 145 games, Stanton showed enough to be one of three NL Most Valuable Player Award finalists. Already this offseason, he has been highly decorated. During the World Series, Stanton was named the NL winner of the Hank Aaron Award, and he was the recipient of the Players Choice Award for Outstanding NL Player. He also was a Gold Glove finalist.
"He's the MVP in my eyes, but that has not been announced yet," Hill said. "There are probably some things that will impact our negotiations that will still need to be determined."
Hill said the conversations with Wolfe have been over the phone. Immediately after the season, Stanton went on a European vacation, while the organization closed its books on the 2014 campaign.
Stanton is still recovering from the facial fractures he sustained after being struck by Mike Fiers' fastball in Milwaukee.
"Health-wise, he looks great," Hill said. "He commented that he has an occasional headache. His teeth have been fixed, and his fractures are almost all healed."
Stanton has yet to do any baseball-related activities, and the organization is in no rush to see him pick up a bat.
"From our standpoint, when he gets into his offseason program, we probably won't do anything in the cage until we see him in Jupiter, [Fla.]," Hill said, referring to the start of Spring Training.
Stanton is two years away from being eligible for free agency. The team maintains it intends to retain the right fielder in 2015, with or without an extension.
No timeline has been set to complete the negotiations with Stanton.
"I've got to believe there is a finality to it, because we're going to move into the 2015 season," Hill said. "These things have their own ebb and flow. There is still, I'd guess you'd say, relevant information to the process still unknown. But we've reached out and let his representative know we're ready to engage."
Last week, the Marlins had their organizational meetings with owner Jeffrey Loria, and the club set its payroll parameters. It's believed to be in the $60 million range, but the club isn't offering anything specific.
Along with Stanton, the Marlins may approach left fielder Christian Yelich, center fielder Marcell Ozuna and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria regarding contract extensions.
Stanton, who made $6.5 million in 2014, could be offered a deal similar to Mike Trout's six-year, $144.5 million contract with the Angels.
It's doubtful Miami will look to lock up Stanton for 10 years in the $300 million range.
"We don't get into specifics with our payroll," Hill said. "But the one thing that we left our organizational meetings knowing is that we're going to be able to do what we need to do. The plan is to retain all of our players, including the big right fielder, hopefully, and find a way to continue to upgrade the roster."