The latest rumors surrounding the talk of the MLB offseason is that the Giants are inching closer to trading for Giancarlo Stanton. While at first glance that sounds like bad news for the Dodgers, a Stanton to Giants trade could be beneficial for the Dodgers.
First off let’s get something straight, Stanton is a freak of nature and has the highest home run upside of arguably any other player in the league. That’s not being debated here. Stanton is the NL MVP, so there’s no question Stanton is good. But is he good enough to turn the Giants season around after finishing with their worst record since 1985? He didn’t do that with the Marlins, so the answer has to be no.
A Giants trade for Stanton will undoubtedly make them better, but won’t fix all their issues. A team that loses 98 games during the regular season is more than one player away from becoming championship contenders. So in reality, does Stanton in a Giants uniform actually hurt the Dodgers?
The Dodgers had already dealt with the Giants when they had the greatest home run hitter baseball has ever seen. Barry Bonds was with the Giants from 1993 through 2007. In those 14 seasons, the Giants only made the postseason four times (same as the Dodgers) and won zero championships (same as the Dodgers). So despite having the biggest home run threat in the game, the Giants were not able to win a championship with him. The reason for that is they did not have a complete team.
The beautiful thing about baseball is that this is the definition of a team sport. This isn’t like basketball where LeBron James can take complete control of the game by scoring all the points. In baseball even if you have the best player in the game that still doesn’t always translate to success. Look at the Angels who have Mike Trout and have only made the postseason once in Trout’s career.
That’s not even accounting for what the Giants would give up to acquire Stanton. According to Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com, the Giants are one of two teams to formally make an offer to the Marlins. The proposal is said to be centered around second baseman Joe Panik and top prospects Chris Shaw (#2) and Tyler Beede (#3). *rankings according to MLBPipeline.com.*
To be quite honest that’s not that bad of a price to pay for a player like Stanton. I thought Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles did a good job in pointing out that it’s a balanced deal for the Giants. These players are good players on the Giants roster but are any of them, superstars? Probably not.
The other aspect that needs to be agreed upon is Stanton’s contract. His whopping $296 million left on his contract is sure to decide what prospects are included in the deal. This deal rumored would likely indicate that the Giants will take in most, if not all of Stanton’s contract. That’s where this deal creates more problems for the Giants.
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The Giants currently have $161.5M committed in 2018. The payroll slightly decreases through 2022 ($119.2M (2019), $114.4M (2020), $75.6M (2021), $5M (2022)). Adding Stanton to the books adds $25M this season and continues to increase through 2021 where Stanton has a $29M player option. That all but likely signals the end of the Giants spending, leaving them on the sideline for the 2018 big free agent class, which is huge for the Dodgers.
That also puts the Giants in a situation before the 2019 season, where they have $119.2M already committed (without Stanton), and Madison Bumgarner is likely to opt out of his $12M deal. That would put the Giants in a very difficult spot to re-sign Bumgarner who has helped bring them three championships. So now the Giants are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do you resign the most dominant starting pitcher ever in the postseason? Or do you give up assets and financial flexibility for a polarizing player like Stanton?
It’s a tough call. But all these tough calls are beneficial for the Dodgers. The Giants will be weakening their farm system that already ranks at the bottom of the league. San Francisco also doesn’t have a starter younger than 30 years old this season.
Their core of Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, and Hunter Pence are all over 30, and their farm system does not have upcoming talent as the Dodgers do. The Dodgers’ core of Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, Yasiel Puig, and Austin Barnes are all under 30, and they still have MLB ready talent in the minor leagues.
The point here is, yes, the Giants will improve with Stanton. But do they suddenly pose a threat that closes the Dodgers’ window to win multiple championships over the next ten years? – No. If the Giants were to pull off a trade for Stanton, it would handicap them in such a big way that their future beyond 2021 would be as bleak as the Padres. If that’s a risk, the Giants are worth taking than all power to them.
The Dodgers are one of the very few franchises in position to be competitive for a long time. They have young MLB players, great prospects, and are gaining financial flexibility over the next three seasons. Am I buying these rumors that the Giants will trade for Stanton? Not really because Stanton holds all the leverage right now. And he’s already said his preferred place to play is in LA.