It looks like Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins Outfielder, is about to get paid.
And when I say paid, I mean PAID.
The Marlins ownership signed Stanton, who turned 25 earlier this month, for $325 million across a 13-year deal.
Stanton’s contract is now the largest in sports history, eclipsing the “paltry” $275 million Alex Rodriguez got over a 10-year time frame.
The Marlins slugger’s deal includes an opt-out clause after age 30, which he’ll turn after the 2019 season, as well as a full no-trade clause.
Stanton, you may be surprised to find, is not represented by Scott Boras, though I’m sure he was fuming when he saw the mega-deal that the Wasserman Group engineered for the Outfielder. Someone inking a monster deal without Boras is sort of like the most popular kid in high school not being invited to a party.
Stanton’s agency also represents Texas Rangers Pitcher Yu Darvish, Arizona Diamondbacks First Baseman Mark Trumbo, and San Francisco Giants Short Stop Brandon Crawford.
When you look at the deal in terms of salary, things don’t look so bad for the Marlins. It rings up at $25 million per year, less than Clayton Kershaw (OK, I get that one), Miguel Cabrera (That’s fair), and…Justin Verlander? (Oh no. The Tigers are in for it on that one.)
In no terms is that a ludicrous amount of money to pay a baseball player. In fact, this contract annually puts Stanton on the plane of Ryan Howard, Felix Hernandez, and Josh Hamilton. Yes, only King Felix out of those three players are still good, but the contract is understandable in that sense.
However, where it gets crazy is the 13 YEARS.
It may seem like a little much, but I can understand the Miami Marlins incentive to lock this guy up quickly, and for a long time.
Stanton just finished his fifth season in Miami, leading the NL in home runs (37) and hitting at a .288 clip. He also had 105 RBI, 24 intentional walks, and a .555 slugging percentage. This is second season (the first was 2012) leading the NL in slugging percentage. He could’ve added to those numbers if he hadn’t missed the Marlins last 17 games because of his season-ending injury, sustained Sept. 11 when Milwaukee Brewers Pitcher Mike Fiers hit Stanton in the face with a pitch, breaking several bones and leaving lacerations.
Stanton flat-out great, but this deal’s approval from Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria probably has a little bit to do with regret from the time Marlins traded Miguel Cabrera at 25 years old to the Detroit Tigers for pittance because they didn’t want to pay him. Cabrera has gone on to make five all-star teams, three-peat in AL batting titles (2011-13), and win a pair of AL MVPs.
This may be Loria saying he regrets getting it wrong with Miguel, and he’d be damned to let it happen a second time.
But letting anything cloud your judgment, like past regrets, isn’t the way to go when talking about a contract of this length.
Stanton’s deal is tied for the second-lengthiest deal in the history of all sports with Washington Capitals Winger Alexander Ovechkin and right behind Shea Webber, a defenseman for the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League. The New Jersey Devils of the NHL once tried to sneak a 17-year deal past the league office until the brass in the NHL called out the Devils for circumventing the cap.
Anyway, you get it, it’s a long time.
And, things can go wrong. So many things.
First off, freak injuries can happen at any time, to any player. The likelihood of a player being injured on your team increases exponentially the longer you have him (hm, 13 years, hm).
A $325 million investment in anything is risky, but in a human body? There is no security there.
So, Stanton just got paid. He’s never signed such a lucrative deal before – well, no one has – but who knows how he will react.
What if Stanton’s a guy who does far more eating than training in the off-season now? What if he slacks on his upkeep because he knows he has to show up to get his huge check? I’m not saying Stanton is one of those guys, because those guys are scum-bags who only play well in contract years, but there’s no way to predict how he’ll react.
And if not this season, maybe the next. This deal is so long that anytime in the first five years anything little happens, it may be catastrophic.
Then, like everyone has seen over the past two decades, baseball players break-down – quickly. I’m not saying Stanton did steroids, because I don’t believe he did, but the trend for baseball players over the past two decades has been to play at a consistently high level, followed by a year of solid production, and then whoops! fall off the table.
Yes, that trend is toward older players but this deal carries Stanton through his 38-year-old season. Somewhere around 33 or 34, he might start to decline heavily. This means Miami would be footing a bill of $25 million every year of five years for a below average, aging Outfielder.
But if it works, Jeffrey Loria will look like a genius.
You can see why he felt like he had to do this: Letting go of another power hitting prodigy at 25 years old? He couldn’t.
The Marlins are thinking relatively short-term with their best prospects stashed away, but ready to emerge soon. They can become a contender soon because Stanton alongside teammate Marcell Ozuna form a baseball bashing duo that hasn’t been seen in quite a while. Plus, they’ve now managed to corner the market on the skill in baseball toughest to find right now: Power.
Though the contract may be 13 years long, it will take just one season ending with a win that’ll make this worth it for the Marlins.
And they think Giancarlo Stanton is the man to get them there.
Sam Fortier is a displaced New Englander living in New York as a freshman at Syracuse University. He likes baseball, crunchy peanut butter, Kanye West, and using the word “wicked.” He’s not a fan of purposefully misspelt business names (“Kathy’s Kut & Kurl”) or grammatical error’s. You can follow him on Twitter @Sam4TR or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.