If Giancarlo Stanton wanted to play for the Giants or Cardinals, he could make it so with the stroke of his pen. The Marlins have agreed to the framework of a trade with both teams, leaving one substantial barrier: Stanton's full no-trade clause.Stanton's first choice is his hometown team, the
If Giancarlo Stanton wanted to play for the Giants or Cardinals, he could make it so with the stroke of his pen. The Marlins have agreed to the framework of a trade with both teams, leaving one substantial barrier: Stanton's full no-trade clause.
Stanton's first choice is his hometown team, the Dodgers, with whom the Marlins have been in contact as recently as Tuesday, one source told MLB.com. As long as that dialogue remains open, Stanton will be reluctant to approve a trade elsewhere.
• Hot Stove Tracker
And so the industry waits -- some teams with greater urgency than others.
Here's a look at the players who will be impacted the most if -- or when -- Stanton is traded this offseason.
Martinez, 30, is the free agent who most closely resembles Stanton's profile and productivity. Over the past four seasons, Martinez ranks third in the Majors -- behind only Michael Trout and Stanton -- in OPS+ among full-time outfielders. Martinez also is among the league leaders in home runs over the same span; that makes him especially valuable to the Red Sox or Giants -- two teams that struggled to hit homers this year. Martinez has a connection to Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who signed him for the Tigers in 2014. One storyline to watch in the coming days: Boston could seize upon the fact that it doesn't appear to be involved in the Stanton talks by signing Martinez before the Stanton intrigue is resolved. But Martinez's new agent, Scott Boras, may continue waiting in an effort to involve the Giants.
McCutchen hasn't been mentioned in Hot Stove trade chatter as often this offseason as he was one year ago, which is odd. The outfielder is on a less expensive contract now -- one year, $14.5 million -- and he is coming off a better offensive season. Although McCutchen still can be streaky, he crushed left-handed pitching in 2017 to the tune of a 1.131 OPS, while finishing with his best homer total (28) since '12. He lacks no-trade protection, and he has a salary that many teams could accommodate. Contractually, then, McCutchen is the inverse of Stanton. The Giants have spoken with the Pirates about McCutchen this offseason, and San Francisco could intensify that pursuit if it misses on Stanton. The Blue Jays, who are trying to extend their competitive window by adding players on short-term deals, are another possible fit as they seek replacements for Jose Bautista.
The intersection of the Stanton and Hosmer markets occurs at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. If the Cardinals are willing to pay a large majority of the $295 million left on Stanton's deal, then they'd certainly have the capacity to sign Hosmer, who's coming off a career year at the plate and is the same age (28) as Stanton. The Red Sox also could be a factor with Hosmer -- and they have the same potential to sign him prior to the Stanton resolution as they do with Martinez. Because Hosmer is a four-time American League Gold Glove Award winner and regarded as one of the game's top on-field leaders, teams not widely viewed as 2018 contenders are involved in pursuing him. For example, the Padres have shown some interest in Hosmer, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Like Martinez and Hosmer, Moustakas is represented by Boras, who is selling teams on the rarity of his power (38 home runs in 2017) at third base. Moustakas' outlook is linked to Stanton, because the Cards and Giants can shift their attention to third base if they're stifled in their effort to land a power-hitting corner outfielder. The Angels, who are not involved in the Stanton sweepstakes, are another team to watch with Moustakas; although the Halos are currently focused on the pursuit of Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani, they would like to add offense at either corner infield spot and have interest in Moustakas. The Yankees also lurk as a Moustakas suitor, given their fluid situation at third base and the manner in which Yankee Stadium's dimensions are well-tailored to Moustakas' swing.
A closer? Yes, Davis belongs on this list. He's undoubtedly rooting for Stanton to be dealt to the Giants, leaving the Cardinals with tens of millions of dollars to spend -- and no proven closer. While the Cards have engaged in trade talks with the Rays about their closer, Alex Colome, St. Louis could shift course and instead sign a closer via free agency (Davis) while addressing its need for an outfield bat via trade. If the Cardinals sign Davis, they can enjoy the added bonus of luring away the closer of the archrival Cubs. For now, the Cubs seem unlikely to meet Davis' high price tag and are instead pursuing free agents Brandon Morrow and Brandon Kintzler, according to reports.
Jon Paul Morosi is a columnist for MLB.com.