Dodgers Need to be Aggressive in Pursuit for Giancarlo Stanton

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24: Giancarlo Stanton
PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24: Giancarlo Stanton /

Trade rumors are in full circulation, and the Dodgers are linked with the best power hitter in baseball, and they need to capitalize on the opportunity.

Rumors are the Miami Marlins new ownership group wants to move Giancarlo Stanton and his albatross of a contract, and the Dodgers seem like the perfect spot for him. The deal would be a no-brainer, if not for the baggage of the financial commitment he brings with him.

He signed the biggest contract in sports history three years ago when she signed a 13-year $325 million contract that would keep him under club control through 2028. The deal would allow him to opt out after the 2020 season, but he would be leaving a ton of money on the table. The deal is intentionally heavily backloaded, to decrease the chances of him opting out and departing. I mean who would be crazy enough to walk away from possibly $230 million+?

But if there’s any team that can take on this kind of money, it’s your Los Angeles Dodgers. And yes, we all know Andrew Friedman and Co. want to slash payroll, but the time is now to win, and they will be getting a little more financial flexibility these next two winters.

They had an adjusted salary of $265,149,292 this past season, down almost $15 million from the previous year. And they have a little over $50 million coming off the books this winter. Not to mention at least $64,000,000 next winter, and possibly more, depending on what they decide to do with Yasmani Grandal.

So there is no doubt that LA will have money to play with. It just depends on how much they want to play with. If they do not decide to re-sign any of their key free agents such as Brandon Morrow, Tony Watson, Chase Utley, or Yu Darvish, then going for Stanton should be a clear goal.

The team is in win-now mode, and are still set up for the future. And who better to give a team that was one win away from a World Series a boost than the best power hitter in baseball, who happens to be in his prime and a hometown kid, too?

He is coming off a season that saw him hit .281/.376/.631 and a baseball-leading 59 home runs. In his career, he is averaging a video game-like 15.43 plate appearances per home run. And the best part is he is a right-handed hitter and would add more balance to the lineup and serve as the perfect power complement to Cody Bellinger.

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Imagine a lineup of Chris Taylor, Corey Seager, Giancarlo Stanton, Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig. You are adding a guy with 60 home run potential who can hit for a quality average and get on base a ton to lineup littered with studs. Runs would never be at a premium. When you add this level of offensive explosion to a pitching staff that led baseball with a 3.38 team ERA, there’s no doubt the Dodgers would be one of the two best teams in baseball.

And speaking of Puig, Stanton is a right fielder just like him, which would create questions on defense. One of them would have to move to left field. And either would provide quality defense. We know of Puig’s prowess on defense, as he probably should have won the Gold Glove. But Stanton isn’t a slouch. According to FanGraphs, he had an excellent 10 Defensive Runs Saved in 2017. The most significant thing would be to get them to put egos aside an buy into playing there.

This is assuming that they trade for Stanton without letting go of Puig, which leads to my next point. It is not like they will have to give up any elite young talents if they are willing to eat a healthy portion, if not all, of the money. Bleacher Report suggested a trade of OF Joc Pederson, RHP Brock Stewart, RHP Mitchell White and LHP Caleb Ferguson for Stanton and his entire contract.

Joc redeemed himself in the World Series, and Stewart isn’t vital because of the depth the team has. White and Ferguson are intriguing talented minor leaguers who may eventually turn out to be solid, but they won’t be helping anytime soon. And it’s not like they are high-end prospects along the lines of Walker Buehler and Alex Verdugo.

And again that’s just hypothetical. But if the Dodgers are willing to eat most, if not all, of the money, they shouldn’t have to give up too much in return. The Marlins want to move Stanton only because of the money, so that needs to be taken into account. If the Dodgers don’t want to absorb too much money, then including someone like a Puig will be necessary. Whatever the case, Los Angeles has both the financial might and young assets to get Stanton.

And if you are worried about how he will age, well, while it is a valid concern, don’t put too much stress into it. There have been numerous examples of hitters hitting well when they are in their 30’s. Remember, hitters aren’t like pitchers, where they are a health risk every game after reaching their 30’s. Hitters age better.

Justin Turner, Ben Zobrist, Ryan Zimmerman, and Edwin Encarnacion have proven you can have productive and even MVP-caliber seasons in your mid-30s. And I’d argue, Stanton is better than any of these guys by far. He still has 4-5 prime years left, and after that will “decline” to 25-30 home runs, if that. He is just too freakishly strong with unmatchable raw power to become an ineffective power hitter. And he has excellent plate discipline as well, not only home runs.

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The time is now for the Dodgers to win. Going another season without a title would be crushing, considering how close they were in 2017. Stanton pushes them over the top and solidifies the boys in blue as the favorites heading into 2018 and for many more years. They don’t necessarily have to go all-in for him, but something darn close. Bring him home.