Giancarlo Stanton signed a record $325 million contract with the Miami Marlins earlier this week and he sure celebrated his new found money in style.
Stanton went out on the Miami strip and celebrated the 13-year contract with a big bottle of champagne costing a massive $20,000 from the Delano Hotel earlier this week.
So does he deserve such a contract and such a leap of faith from the Marlins? To answer that question we need to know more about the ball player and the franchise.
Stanton is about to become the richest man in baseball. The 25-year-old Miami right fielder is known for his mammoth moonshots. Stanton and the Marlins finalized a record-breaking 13-year $325 million contract extension on Wednesday.
This is the biggest contract in baseball history. The contract eclipses Alex Rodriguez’s previous record contract, the 10-year $275 deal the third baseman inked with the New York Yankees in 2007. The contract is believed to contain a full no-trade clause (something the Marlins have refused to give to anyone in the past) as well as an opt-out clause after six years.
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Money matches the talent
Stanton is one of baseball’s best players, even though he has yet to play a full season. Since his debut in 2010, he has averaged 134 games played, out of 162 over the last four seasons. Stanton missed the final two weeks of the 2014 season after being brutally hit in the face by a wild pitch from Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Mike Fiers. The star outfielder has missed time due to various injuries in other years, like a leg injury in 2011, or a knee injury, which required minor surgery during the 2012 season.
The slugger is coming off his best season, finishing second in National League MVP voting to Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Clayton Kershaw. Stanton led the National League in home runs and RBIs last season with 37 and 105 to go along with a .288 batting average, .395 on base percentage, and a NL leading .555 slugging percentage. Stanton is just one of three players in MLB history to lead the National League in slugging percentage twice before their 25th birthday. The other two players are Hall of Fame legends, Willie Mays of the New York/San Francisco Giants and Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is known for being cheap. The total of all Marlins Opening Day payrolls from 1999 through 2008 was $328 million. The Marlins have long traded away star players right before they reach free agency. All-Star players like first baseman Miguel Cabrera and pitchers Dontrelle Willis, Josh Beckett, Livan Hernandez, were each moved by the Marlins in their prime.
Marlins got what they wanted
Even big free agent signings are not above being traded. Shortstop Jose Reyes, pitcher Mark Burhle, outfielder Moises Alou, and catcher Mike Piazza and many others were signed and then traded away after just one season or even earlier. It’s part of the reason many expected Stanton to be no different. Stanton would have commanded a large amount of players in return, but the Marlins consistently stated Stanton was off limits from trade talk.
The bold move by the Marlins now begs questions like who will they sign next, or will they even try. A report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says that while Miami will try to lock up players like 2013 Rookie of the Year and Marlin’s ace Jose Fernandez, outfielder Christian Yellich, and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, the chances of that remain slim to none. The Marlins will have to raise their payroll to over $100 million to keep these players long term. If they don’t, add them to the long list of players the Marlins did not keep.
Long-term contracts like Stanton’s rarely work out. But usually clubs are signing players much older than the 25-year-old Stanton. Anaheim Angels first baseman/designated hitter Albert Pujols, Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, Detroit Tigers first baseman/DH Miguel Cabrera, and New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez each signed contracts worth $200 million when they were age 30 or older. Stanton could prove why taking a giant risk early in someone’s career can be rewarding.