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Mega-deal for Stanton would be in Marlins' best interest

MLB.com

Signing one guy to an immense contract doesn't solve all of a franchise's problems. You can check with the Alex Rodriguez era of the Texas Rangers for last-place evidence of that.

But signing the right guy to an immense contract could solve one set of problems for the Miami Marlins.

Signing one guy to an immense contract doesn't solve all of a franchise's problems. You can check with the Alex Rodriguez era of the Texas Rangers for last-place evidence of that.

But signing the right guy to an immense contract could solve one set of problems for the Miami Marlins.

The right guy, in this case, would be outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. Just turning 25 this month, he is already a star. He is a major and genuine talent, a marquee player around whom a team can be built.

The contract that is being discussed in this case is of reportedly record-setting size. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com has reported that the Marlins and Stanton's representatives are discussing a contract extension of at least 10 years and at least $300 million. He updated that Friday morning to say they are talking about 12 years for $320 million.

That would break the existing financial record set last season when the Tigers struck a deal with Miguel Cabrera for $292 million over 10 years. There is no debating Cabrera's worth as a hitter, but he will be 40 by the time this contract expires.

Stanton is coming off a terrific season that would have been even bigger statistically had he not missed nearly the last three weeks of the season after being hit in the face by a pitch.

As it was, Stanton hit 37 home runs, drove in 105 runs and finished with a slash line of .288/.395/.555. He led the National League in home runs and slugging percentage and total bases. His .950 OPS placed him second in the league.

All of this added up to a second-place finish in the NL Most Valuable Player Award balloting, announced Thursday by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who had a phenomenal regular season, won the award, receiving 18 first-place votes, to eight for Stanton.

Kershaw had 335 total points in the voting; Stanton got 298. It is not a stretch to suggest that had Stanton been able to play the entire season, the vote would have been even closer.

As good as Stanton already is, he may be just entering the prime of his career. He is a marketable star, easily the most prominent player on the Marlins. The long-term signing of Stanton would serve to increase the club's credibility with all parties from players to fans.

And without being facetious, that same signing would clear up the credibility issue that Stanton has had with the Marlins. The Marlins increased payroll when Marlins Park opened, but when that didn't work out competitively, they dumped payroll, particularly in a trade of prominent veterans to the Blue Jays after the 2012 season.

Stanton was publicly dismayed about the direction of the Marlins and what he perceived as a lack of commitment to winning. But today, the Marlins are in a different, not to mention better, situation.

There is in place a young and talented roster that went from 62 victories in 2013 to 77 in 2014. And that was after getting only eight starts from supremely talented Jose Fernandez, whose season ended because of Tommy John elbow surgery. Fernandez still figures to be a prominent part of the Marlins' future. Stanton will be in the same category if an agreement on an extension can be reached.

The Marlins still have contractual control over Stanton for two more seasons, but getting him to commit to another eight seasons or more looks like buying a legitimate shot at long-term franchise success.

There is nothing like $300 million to convince a player that a franchise's intentions are everything that they should be. But it is not just a matter of convincing Stanton.

With this kind of deal, the Marlins would be making Stanton the centerpiece of their operation for years to come. The rest of their roster, and all of their fans, not to mention their potential fans, in south Florida would see this sort of commitment and understand what it means.

There was a lot of disappointment around the Marlins after their latest payroll downsizing following the 2012 season. A huge deal for Stanton would not be grandstanding. It would give the Marlins a fighting chance at both competitive and commercial success.

Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miami Marlins, Giancarlo Stanton