Monday, December 1, 2014

4 comments Scott Miller Thinks Giancarlo Stanton Made a Deal With The Devil

Let me get a few things out of the way before I tackle this Scott Miller article on Giancarlo Stanton making a deal with the devil.

1. Giancarlo Stanton could have turned down the amount of money the Marlins offered. If he has a good season, an offer like that would have been there in the future. Not the near future (2017 at the earliest), but in the future.

2. $325 million is a lot of money and Stanton has to like the organization or believe in the direction of the team enough to sign the contract. Perhaps he shouldn't believe in the Marlins, but he's not exactly going all-in. The contract is specifically back-loaded for the Marlins to sign other players around him. They may not do this, but Stanton has the option of becoming a free agent at the age of 31. He is underpaid in the early part of the contract, but cashes in later in the contract.

3. Jeffrey Loria is a cheapskate asshole who doesn't deserve to own an MLB team. Okay, he isn't always cheap. He spends money to give the illusion he isn't cheap, but then trades the money and players away, all while hording revenue sharing.

4. Giancarlo Stanton has a 1.94% chance of ending his career with the Miami Marlins. Probably less than that, most likely because I just completely made that percentage up just now. He will be traded or he will opt-out of the contract after six years.

5. This is a perfectly reasonable contract for a player of Stanton's age and ability. In fact, if Stanton continues his progression then I actually think the Marlins will have gotten a good deal here, even in the later years when Stanton averages a salary of $31 million per year. I know, it sounds crazy, but we live in a world where a 31 year old catcher (32 on Opening Day) gets $82 million for five years and a 31 year old second baseman gets $240 million for ten years.

6. So in terms of signing a deal with the devil, Stanton signed a great deal for him with a no-trade clause and an opt-out, so it was signing a deal with the devil while also making a lot of money and keeping future options open. If anything, this is a bad deal for the Marlins in the future. They now have $325 million tied up in a player for thirteen years, who they can't trade and can simply leave the team when he is 31 years old. If Stanton hates the direction of the team, he can pout and demand a trade prior to the time his opt-out clause kicks in. Would anyone blame him? I doubt it. The Marlins have just gotten themselves an albatross contract they can't simply trade away without the player's approval.

So I disagree with Scott Miller. It was a deal with the devil, but a deal with the devil that works out well for the player signing the contract. He gets paid (and yes, he is underpaid now, but he is well-paid later) and can control his destiny. Isn't that what nearly every athlete wants?

7. Seriously, Jeffrey Loria is a joke and Miami Marlins fans deserve better than him. 

8. This contract is tradeable prior to the opt-out kicking in. A-Rod is off the Yankees' payroll after the 2017 season. After paying A-Rod $20 million, I don't think the Yankees would worry about giving a 28 year old outfielder $31 million per year or more. In fact, I think this contract could make Stanton more easily tradeable. Teams know he's locked-in for a long period of time, he's young enough to where he won't regress dramatically halfway through the contract, and they don't have to worry about what they may have to pay him in the future

Anyway, here is the Scott Miller article.

I hope Giancarlo Stanton has this contract written in blood. Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria's blood.

Yeah, murder Jeffrey Loria and then write the contract in his blood!

Think about it. We know Loria. We've watched his act. Things are never as they appear. Come on, 13 years and $325 million? This guy is a carnival barker.

While I do agree, Stanton chose to sign with the Marlins and his agents are Wasserman Media Group, which is a very experienced firm. They know what they are doing and I doubt that Stanton signed a contract that is actually worth $32.50 instead of $325 million. Loria is a joke, but this money appears to be real.

It would come as absolutely zero surprise if the contract is written in invisible ink and by the end of year one, suddenly all the words mysteriously have vanished and Loria sends his club president/trained monkey David Samson out to declare that the deal really was for 13 years and $32 million and damn right, they're taking it to arbitration.

I get it, but this is a real contract and I really do believe it is beneficial to Giancarlo Stanton. It seems there is a list of protections in the contract. There is no guarantee of team success of course, but there's no guarantee of team success no matter where he decided to sign or where he got traded to. Stanton seems to like playing in Miami for some reason. That's what this contract tells me.

Some view this as the richest contract in professional sports history.
I view it as a hostile takeover of Stanton's life.

Maybe, but Stanton knows what he is getting into. Perhaps the money has blinded him to the realities of staying with the Marlins for 13 years. But again, he can leave after six years and it wouldn't surprise me to see the Marlins trade Stanton even next year. But again, Stanton appears to have a no-trade clause in his contract, so he controls his destiny. The Marlins have never been shy about trading players, so the only risk is that Stanton wants out and the Marlins won't let him leave prior to his opt-out. That could happen with any team Stanton got traded to or signed with. The difference is Stanton knows he's with the Marlins for at least six years. It's a risk, but not a deal with the devil.

Go ask Jose Reyes. Or Mark Buehrle. Or any of the other Marlins who were there in the spring of 2012, opened the new ballpark, ingested Loria's promises…and then watched his spectacular lies light up the night sky in Miami like a Fourth of July fireworks display.

Right, but they still got paid and Stanton knows about Loria's lies, which is why there is a reported no-trade clause. Ask Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle about whether they wanted a no-trade clause. Stanton got one. Not that it matters in this discussion, but the Marlins didn't do poorly in that trade with the Blue Jays either. They got Henderson Alvarez and Adeiny Hechavarria. Justin Nicolino did pretty well in the minors this year as well. So that was some shit on the part of Loria, but the Marlins got talent back in return.

That wasn't a fire sale. That was a Way of Life for Loria, same as how he hoodwinked the Florida taxpayers into building him a new ballpark and then traded away the stars they had paid to see.

And now Loria has signed a star player for the fans to come see. Throw in the really good young pitching staff the Marlins have and it looks like they could be pretty good during the 2015 season. Maybe, just maybe, the Marlins will build around Stanton. They may not, but Stanton can leave after six years if the Marlins don't build around him.

But time after time, reality inconveniently winds up telling a different story.

Now, things are going to be different?

Maybe, maybe not. If things aren't different and the Marlins trade away the stars of their team then Stanton is in a pickle. He would have ways at that point of forcing the Marlins' hand. If the Marlins trade away the expensive players, then Stanton is THE expensive player on the roster and has the ability to essentially choose his destination. 

He is a franchise player, a big bat in an era of diminishing offense and a one-of-a-kind slugger who makes even the giant Marlins Park look small. He is smart and well-spoken. He's the kind of player anybody would love as the face of their franchise and the type of offensive weapon that can deliver a World Series title to his town.

He led the NL with 37 homers and a .555 slugging percentage in 2014. He is only 25, which means that he should have many more good years in this 13-year deal than, say, Albert Pujols ever was going to have with the Los Angeles Angels (10 years, $240 million starting with his age 32 season) or Miguel Cabrera is going to have with the Detroit Tigers (eight years, $248 million beginning with his age 33 season).

Therein lies my point about why Stanton didn't make a deal with the devil. He signed a long contract, but it's a contract that would cause contending teams to give the Marlins really good offers if Stanton ever ends up on the trade block. His contract isn't an albatross if it all goes wrong and Loria decides he wants to have another fire sale. Stanton gets paid and his contract looks good to opposing teams who want a franchise player who is under the age of 30.

But the Marlins? Really?

While I agree that signing with the Marlins doesn't seem like a brilliant idea, it's hard to turn down that money and Stanton does have some protection if the Marlins start to tank again. Who is to say the Marlins won't have a good, albeit cheap, team on the field for the next couple of years? Who is to say the Marlins don't give Henderson Alvarez a contract extension? Jose Fernandez has Scott Boras as his agent, so there's no deal prior to free agency going on there.

This Stanton deal makes the Reds and Mariners look like Walmart greeters.

Maybe Stanton was blinded by the money that was being offered. It's not like Robinson Cano signed a deal with a Mariners team that has a vast history of success. I understand the Marlins have a shady history of signing players and holding fire sales, but they do have a quality core of young players on a 77-win team.

Check that. The only way it makes sense is if you trace it back to Loria's thirst for attention and his ostentatious appetite that led to the production of a 2003 World Series ring larger than most of the jets at Miami International Airport.

Obviously Jeffrey Loria has a huge ego. He owns an MLB team after all. If Loria wants attention, he has gotten attention. Giancarlo Stanton got a 13 year $325 million contract. So it's not like he was left empty-handed.

He also clearly views the rest of the world as if we all just stepped from the set of Dumb and Dumber To.

Great relevant pop culture reference. 

Really. According to documents leaked to Deadspin a couple of years ago, the Marlins raked in $92 million in revenue sharing in 2008-09—and spent a combined $58 million on payroll. Not long after that boondoggle was made public, the Marlins agreed to allow MLB and the players' union to monitor its finances for three years.

These are facts from the past and I don't doubt that Loria has changed. Scott Miller is complaining that Jeffrey Loria doesn't spend money, then he spends money, and Scott Miller complains that "Oh NOW, Loria opens up his wallet and spends money on players, but I don't think he'll do it in the future."

I don't like Loria and think he is a joke. I think there is a 50-50 chance that the Marlins build around Stanton. I also think Giancarlo Stanton has signed a large contract that ensures he gets paid a lot of money to play baseball, while also protecting himself from one of Loria's fire sales. He can opt-out at the age of 30 and go get another huge contract on the open market. Sure, he's stuck for a few years, but he was going to be stuck until after the 2016 season anyway. He would have been 27 years old at that point. So he exchanged being stuck in Miami for four more years for a ton of back-end money and the chance to be a free agent again in six years.

Clearly, the treasure map for Stanton is buried deep within that pile of $325 million:

1. He will receive a blanket no-trade clause, something Loria has never done in Miami.

2. The deal reportedly allows Stanton to opt out after six years.

Either way, he can opt-out when he is 31 years old. That's plenty of time to get a new contract on the free agent market, PLUS if the Marlins think Stanton is leaving then they will simply trade him. The problem then lies in the fact Stanton can choose his next team, as opposed to being traded to a team he doesn't want to play for. Yes, Jeffrey Loria is an asshole, but Stanton has done a good job of getting paid while also protecting himself in the future. This isn't a 13 year deal with the devil.

One industry source with whom B/R spoke Monday predicted a heavily back-loaded contract with the Marlins privately hoping Stanton opts out, thus leaving what would be a very high average annual value on the table.

So what's the problem then? How is this a deal with the devil if Stanton gets paid and then can leave to go play for another team in free agency? It's absolutely typical for the Marlins to sign a player to a big deal and then immediately want to get rid of that contract. I fail to see the problem or where this is a deal with the devil. If the Marlins start a fire sale then the most expensive contract (as is their history) will go first, so Stanton will be traded. If the Marlins continue to compete, Stanton is getting paid and can opt-out of the contract if he chooses to. If the Marlins don't build around Stanton, he's gone in six years. For now, the Marlins have cheap team-controlled players and time to make any contract extension offers.

One thing that would encourage Stanton to opt out is what everyone in the MLB will be closely watching: If the Marlins truly are going to pay Stanton in the neighborhood of $25 million a year, can they afford to put a decent, competitive team around him?

With revenue sharing, I think they can absolutely afford it. Will they put a competitive, decent team around him? That is the question that remains to be answered. One thing that won't have to be answered is Stanton won't have to worry about trade rumors surrounding him or playing to earn a new contract after the 2016 season. That much is for sure.

From A-Rod and the Rangers to points beyond, time has proven that teams don't win when one player is soaking up 25, 30 percent or more of the payroll.

I understand this. I will also acknowledge this is a bit of a different situation because the Marlins are so young and talented. Teams don't often win with a player taking up that much of the payroll, but the Marlins only have Stanton taking up so much of the payroll because they have a really, really young team. Look at their contract commitments. There are some good players who aren't earning much money on that list. So while it's easy to say the Marlins can be different, they can be different.

Stanton got grumpy on Twitter when the Marlins were breaking up the 2012 team. You've got to believe now that Loria has promised him (with a straight face) a competitive team.

I just hope Stanton doesn't have a dog.

He might have a dog. He is just richer now. It's a trade he was willing to make. Again, Stanton is NOT locked in to the Marlins for 13 years. They CAN NOT simply trade him away to wherever they would like. The fact the Marlins would want to cut payroll (which is Miller's point) means Stanton would be traded. Therefore, as long as the Marlins don't trade every cheap contract that really doesn't save them money in the short-term, Stanton is in a good position. His contract is the one the Marlins would want to move because there are no expensive players to trade other than him. So the Marlins either will trade their young players when they get more expensive through the years, keep those players and increase payroll, or trade Stanton. The worst of those situations, trading the young players as they get expensive through the years, also happens to coincide with Stanton's opt-out becoming an option.

Remember Buehrle and his pit bull? The pitcher signed a free-agent deal with the Marlins in good faith. He didn't get a no-trade clause. And a few months later, the club shipped him to Toronto.

Yes, I fucking remember. I also remember Giancarlo Stanton has a no-trade clause so even if he has a dog, he can't be traded to Toronto. Son of a bitch, pay attention to the whole "no-trade clause" part of the contract. Don't ignore it for the sake of snark.

They don't allow pit bulls in Canada, so when Buehrle joined the Blue Jays, the poor guy had to leave his pooch behind.


At least Stanton has his no-trade. So maybe you can take a dog out of the equation. But you can't take the dog out of Loria.

I would agree Loria is a dog. I also believe that the Marlins don't have many contracts right now they can get rid of through trade. The only contract that the Marlins would traditionally get rid of is Stanton's contract. If the Marlins get rid of Stanton's contract then he didn't make a deal with the devil because he can control his destination. The only way Stanton made a deal with the devil is if the Marlins trade guys like Jose Fernandez and Henderson Alvarez as soon as they get expensive in arbitration. It could happen, but the sooner these players get more expensive, the sooner Stanton's opt-out shows up on the horizon.


HH said...

Yeah, murder Jeffrey Loria and then write the contract in his blood!

Oh no! I did this but because he was dead he couldn't sign it so I'm not gonna get my $325 million! This was terrible advice!

Bengoodfella said...

HH, this is why I'm not an attorney. I totally would have murdered Loria and then written the contract in his blood, not even thinking that he has to sign the contract.

Chris said...

Maybe Stanton is blinded by the money but it's a little insulting to say that this has somehow been forced on Stanton against his will. I'm sure he and his agents knew perfectly well what they were doing. It makes it sound like he is some slow simpleton who can't think for himself.

Not to mention it's very hard for me to feel sympathy for someone who will be making 325 million dollars yet allegedly have his life become a hostile takeover.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, I would be more concerned for Stanton if he didn't use an agent. His agents are pretty well known, so they had to know what they were getting their client into.

I don't know if Loria has changed, but the Marlins do seem to be more aggressive in trying to acquire talent this offseason.