Stanton's future remains a question despite pact
Negotiations on recent agreement centered on only a one-year deal
MIAMI -- Reaching agreement on a one-year, $6.5 million contract on Friday settled how much Giancarlo Stanton will earn in 2014. But it didn't clear up the slugger's long-term future with the Marlins.
For months, Miami had stated it was open to discussing a multi-year deal with the 24-year-old right fielder. Such conversations never took place between the club and Stanton's agent, Joel Wolfe of the Wasserman Media Group. The reason is both sides felt the timing wasn't right.
Instead of at least sketching out the framework of what a major deal would look like, negotiations centered specifically on working something out for the upcoming season. By hammering out the agreement on Friday, the two parties came away pleased with how the process played out.
"From the outset, I think it was in everyone's interest to try [to] reach a fair and amicable settlement on a one-year contract," Wolfe told MLB.com. "We accomplished that. Now, Giancarlo can focus exclusively on getting ready for the season. He is pleased with the result and [is] looking forward to Spring Training."
The Marlins also avoided arbitration on Friday with relievers Steve Cishek ($3.8 million) and Mike Dunn ($1.4 million). The team has not made any comments on the deals with any of its three arbitration-eligible players.
In Stanton's case, for now, the partnership is on a year-to-year basis.
It was a win-win situation on Friday, as the sides found common ground to get a deal done -- thus avoiding the matter being settled by an arbitration panel in February. The Marlins are a "file and trial" team. If they don't finalize deals by the arbitration-salary-exchange deadline, they break off talks and go to a hearing.
Until there is a long-term resolution with Stanton, speculation will continue about how much longer he will be in a Miami uniform. Insiders and fans will maintain it isn't a matter of if Stanton will be traded, but when. Based on the club's track record of trading players, that scenario may indeed happen.
For the short term, the two sides are taking a wait-and-see approach. The Marlins have made it clear they intend to build around Stanton, at least for 2014.
Certainly, Miami has no urgency to trade its slugger. But the reality is, without a multi-year agreement, there is a strong possibility the longest he will be a Marlin is for two more seasons. Stanton becomes a free agent after 2016.
The 6-foot-5, 248-pounder was a second-round selection by the organization in 2007. He had an offer to play football at the University of Southern California, but instead signed with the Marlins for a $475,000 bonus.
He's been a bargain ever since.
Stanton made $537,000 in 2013, a season he is the first to admit wasn't his finest. The Sherman Oaks, Calif., native batted .249 with 24 homers and 62 RBIs. He was plagued by injuries, and appeared in just 116 games.
Durability has been a concern. Even in 2012, when he the right fielder was an All-Star, he played in 123 games. Still, his impact was immense, as he hit .290 with 37 home runs and 86 RBIs.
Since being promoted from Double-A to the big leagues at age 20 in 2010, Stanton has 117 career home runs. He currently stands 37 homers shy of Dan Uggla's club record of 154.
The Marlins are in the process of reshaping their roster entering 2014. They are coming off a 62-100 season, and they are building around a talented young rotation, anchored by ace Jose Fernandez. They addressed a sluggish offense by signing four free agents -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia (catcher), Garrett Jones (first base), Rafael Furcal (second base) and Casey McGehee (third base).
At least for one more season, Stanton will be the centerpiece of the lineup.