The article Mark referred to in the previous post is a continuous reminder as to how Giancarlo Stanton has energized the 2017 Hot Stove League. Ned Colletti would have absolutely been in the middle of the discussions. It is little wonder that a baseball exec like Dave Dombrowski is highly motivated. Dombrowski has not met a large contract challenge that he has shied away from yet. John Mozeliak had been reluctant to pay big dollars for FA, but is now entertaining the idea of assuming a Stanton contract? Just think back to Albert Pujols who should have been a lifelong Cardinal, but not for the outrageous contract offered by Artie Moreno. Moreno was too busy trying to take the spotlight away from the Dodgers that he forgot that he won a WS with a team comprised of Garret Anderson, Adam Kennedy, Darin Erstad, Benjie Molina, Brad Fullmer, Tim Salmon, Troy Glaus, and David Eckstein; with a rotation of Ramon Ortiz, Jarrod Washburn, Kevin Appier, John Lackey, and Aaron Sele; lockdown closer Troy Percival, and a bench with such stalwarts as Orlando Palmeiro, Shawn Wooten, Benji Gill, and Jose Nieves. Not a HOF candidate amongst them.
As great as Barry Bonds was, he never won a WS championship, but Jeff Hamilton, Dave Anderson, Mike Marshall, Tracy Woodson, Mike Sharperson, Mike Devereaux, and Mickey Hatcher did. Tony Gwynn never won a WS championship, but Chris Gwynn did.
So why is John Mozeliak and the Cardinals more motivated to absorb a horrible contract now? IMO it is the 2014 tragic loss of Oscar Tavares. If the Cardinals had Tavares, they would never had traded for Jason Heyward, and would not be considering Stanton. Tavares would have been a fixture in RF for years for the Cardinals.
Why the interest by the Giants? I talked with my Giants “sources” and in their opinion:
- They need to stay competitive and relevant in a good NL West
- They do not have a farm system they can rebuild from to stay competitive and relevant
- They do not have the roster that they can tear down to replenish the farm with the exception of Madison Bumgarner.
- They already have so much committed for multiple years to multiple players, they might as well go all in:
- Brandon Crawford $15M each for next four years
- Brandon Belt $16M each for next four years
- Johnny Cueto $21M each for next four years with $5M buyout in year 5
- Buster Posey $21.4M each of next four years with $3M buyout in year 5
- Jeff Samardzija $18M each for next three years
- Hunter Pence 1 year at $18.5M
- Denard Span 1 year at $11M (luxury tax calculation), and a $4M buyout in 2019
- Matt Moore 1 year at $9M with $10M club option in 2019 and a $750K buyout.
Name one contract they can move. Okay maybe Posey and Moore. But good luck on the others.
Now they want to take on a 10 year $295M contract for Stanton, and 3 more years at $37M for Dee Gordon? They would lose Joe Panik. Why they would even consider trading Panik makes absolutely no sense except they may have to get Stanton, and then they have to take on the Gordon contract. They will have to trade the only pitcher in their farm that has a chance to make an impact on a ML roster (Tyler Beede). They have nobody to play CF which is critical in SF. Right now it is Gorkys Hernandez. They have no 3B. Okay they do have Panda, who they will probably make more from moving Panda products than they will have to pay for him. I understand the thinking, because they have 2 years to go for it, and then they will have nothing, because they will not be able to re-sign MadBum with as many dead contracts as they will have. This has been the Tigers and Angels mentality, but that has not served them well.
If I were the Giants management, I would rather make a pitch for Lorenzo Cain to play CF, and if I really believed I had to go for it, I would try to sign Mike Moustakas to play 3B. That is a comparable luxury tax hit as with Stanton and Gordon for a lot less commitment in years. They would fill their 2 biggest position needs in CF and 3B. They would not lose Panik and at least 2 of their top prospects.
IMO, Stanton signed the Marlins contract because he wanted to stay a Marlin throughout his career, and that is where he should stay. He can hold out on his no trade as long as he wants, and it still will not make the Dodgers move because of his contract. Maybe next year with A-Gon’s and Arruebarrena’s contracts gone. If winning is now more important, then let him opt out after 2020. If JD Martinez thinks he is worth $200M at 30, what will Stanton be worth at the same age? So if the Giants want Stanton, I say go for it.
Dave Cameron at Fangraphs has some good insight on free agents. He has listed his top 5 five FA bargains and top 5 FA landmines. Included in his FA bargains is one RHRP Tommy Hunter. This is the same Tommy Hunter that I brought up a couple of weeks past that may be of interest to FAZ as a potential replacement for Brandon Morrow if he should sign elsewhere. Dave Cameron certainly thinks he can be worth the minimal financial risk. Here is what he said about Tommy Hunter:
“Raise your hand if you knew that, among qualified relievers, Hunter threw the fourth-hardest cutter and seventh-hardest sinker in MLB last year. Put your hands down, liars.
While Hunter’s velocity spiked up a while ago, he threw a lot of straight four-seam fastballs that still didn’t miss bats. But after signing with the Rays as a minor-league free agent last winter, he started featuring his cutter far more often, in part because he now throws it 94 mph. The pitch helped him reinvent himself as a dominant reliever. It was only 58 innings of work, so the projections think he’s still not that good, but he ran the same xwOBA as Andrew Miller and Roberto Osuna this year, and the stuff backs up the dominance.
Brandon Morrow is going to be the popular remember-me-I-throw-hard reliever this winter. For a team that wants to bet on a similar level of velocity and recent dominance, but doesn’t want to pay the sticker price for Morrow, Hunter is a pretty nifty alternative. Unless the market buys into Hunter’s 2017 rejuvenation in an unexpected way, he looks like the best bet in this reliever pool to be throwing crucial innings next October without requiring a significant financial commitment in order to sign.”
Cameron has three FA catchers in his top 50 FA: Jonathan Lucroy looking at 1 year and $12M; Alex Avila at 1 year and $6M; Wellington Castillo at 2 years $20. What does that do for the value for teams looking for a catcher on a short term basis like Yasmani Grandal?