Trading For Stanton as a Way to Cut Payroll

OK, that headline brands me as crazy, right?  Well, that’s old news!  Everyone knows that Gioncarlo Stanton is going to cost almost $30 million a year right?  Maybe over the life of the contract, but next year, he might be FREE. Here’s a really important fact: The Dodgers don’t need to do anything, but if they do, it should be significant and it should reduce payroll. I think the Dodgers can do both at once.

At the end of this past season, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawfish, Chase Utley, Franklin Gutierrez and Sergio Romo all came off the books. That’s right at $50 million!  As it stands RIGHT NOW, I have the Dodgers payroll at just shy of $218 Million for 2018.

Those numbers are based upon what the estimated arbitration numbers will be. As an example, Yasmani Grandal is down for $7.7 million and I have Maeda at $13 million (the bonuses have to be included). I think it is possible that the Dodgers can cut their payroll by up to another $72 million.

Here’s where more money could be cut!

  • Adrian Gonzalez – $22.3 Million
  • Scott Kazmir – $17.66 Million
  • Brandon McCarthy – $11.5 Million
  • Kenta Maeda – $13 Million
  • Yasmani Grandal – $7.7 Million

The Dodgers could lose all of the above players and not miss a beat.  Maeda is nice out of the pen, but he’s not going to be happy with that.  He wants to start and the Dodgers have better options.  Of course, all of this hinges on what other teams need and how much they are willing to pay. If the Dodgers could pull this off, they could get payroll down to $146 Million.  For example, Grandal, Maeda and McCarthy could be packaged to a team or teams that need a catcher and starting pitchers.  Baltimore could use a catcher and a couple of starters. All that comes back is prospects…  three or four decent to good ones.  I have no doubt Grandal, Maeda and McCarthy can be moved… especially for prospects.  Grandal has a lot of value, Maeda has a great contract and McCarthy only has a year on his deal. It’s worth the risk to someone.

That leaves Gonzalez and Kazmir who are owed a combined $40 million in 2018.  They go to the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton along with the prospects from the other deal and Alex Verdugo (maybe more).  The Marlins have to pay them for a year and may be able to move them for some slight salary relief, but after 2018, they lose Stanton and all salary associated with him and they lose Gonzo and Kazmir too. Of course, this deal is contingent upon Stanton only approving a trade to the Dodgers and no one else.

That would leave the rotation with Kershaw, Hill, Wood, Ryu and Buehler.  I do not think Buehler will be ready at the start of the year and Urias won’t be ready until the end of 2018 or 2019, so the Dodgers would need to sign another pitcher.  Jhoulys Chacin would be one for $16 Million/2 years.  They could also re-sign Morrow at 3 years/$26 million and still be below $200 Million.

Even if it is possible – there are lots of arguments for and against – it won’t be easy, but it is possible. Here’s the linchpin: Stanton can’t be traded unless he approves it.  He can hold out for the Dodgers, and the Marlins would have to take that deal… or keep him. All Stanton has to do is say that he wants to be a Dodger or stay a Marlin.  Miami has no leverage. Stanton just has to stick to his guns.  Will he?  If he wants to be a Dodger he will!

In closing, let me say this:  Stanton’s contract will be good for 5 -7 years and then it will become a bad deal.  A team can handleONEbad deal.  It’s just hard to navigate with three like the Dodgers have done for the past 2-3 years.  One is OK.  I have no qualms with just one! No more!  ONE!

Look at this lineup:

  1. Taylor  CF
  2. Turner  3B
  3. Seager  SS
  4. Stanton  LF
  5. Bellinger 1B
  6. Puig RF
  7. Barnes  C
  8. Forsythe  2B

Utility:  Farmer, Hernandez, Toles, Pederson, Culberson

Starters:  Kershaw, Hill, Wood, Ryu, Chacin, Buehler

Pen:  Cingrani, Stewart, Striping, Morrow, Garcia, Jansen

2018 Salary Breakdown


2018 Salary

Clayton Kershaw


Justin Turner


Rich Hill


Kenley Jansen


Yasiel Puig


Hyun-Jin Ryu


Logan Forsythe


Yasiel Sierra


Alex Wood


Luis Avilan


Tony Cingrani


Josh Fields


Pedro Baez


Kike Hernandez


Joc Pederson


Yimi Garcia


Corey Seager


Josh Ravin


Austin Barnes


Grant Dayton


Ross Stripling


Andrew Toles


Brock Stewart


Rob Segedin


Kyle Farmer


Trayce Thompson


Chris Taylor


Julio Urias


Adam Liberatore


Dian Toscano


Hector Olivera


Erisbel Arruebarruena


Matt Kemp


Giancarlo Stanton


Jhoulys Chacin


Brandon Morrow





This article has 40 Comments

  1. One small fly in the ointment that AC pointed out to me on a previous thread when I proposed a similar Gonzales/Stanton transaction —
    “AGon is a 10/5 and has a full no trade clause.”

    1. He’s a big fly in the ointment. It would probably take a 3rd team and destination he would approve or for that matter letting him know that Miami is going to release him anyways. They have a young first baseman. The Marlins don’t need him So, sit the bench in LA or let us trade you and become a free-agent and still get paid would be the message to him. Anyways, there are other contracts that can offset $30 million or so: McCarthy , Kazmir, Arrubureana , Ryu, Maeda, Forsythe , Joc , Grandal If the teams so desired it could be figured out in a way that Marlins take two or three expiring deals rather than having to give the Dodgers cash back. By the time Seager and Bellinger get costly all of those contracts plus Turner, Jansen, Hill and Puig will have their contract’s completed.

      1. You are right, there are many ways to shed salary. I’m sure this front office has thought of even more ways than we can.

  2. There is money that could be cut if they so desired and Stanton forced the Marlins hands. You didn’t even mention McCarthy, Arrubureana, Ryu, Joc or Forsythe. I think Taylor is developing into an excellent CF, but he could also play 2B at a high level and Toles or Joc could play CF. Cut enough money, you can bring back Darvish too rather than Chacin. Hill has two years left and is hardly and innings eater and has been injury prone. Wood has been injury prone. It’s doable, unlikely, but doable. Just to play along Kershaw, Darvish, Wood, Hill, Ryu or Maeda with Buehler and Urias waiting to slide into two spots.

    The front office values depth and they would have to move some, but that is a potent lineup . If the Marlins would take enough bad money to make Stanton’s first year free, the Dodgers may have to include someone like an Alvarez and a 2nd pitcher. They would have Stanton in his prime for 5 years. His non-prime won’t hit 50+ dingers, but what would it look like? 30 dingers or a broken down body? I don’t see the Dodgers in on Machado or I don’t see them winning that sweepstakes. I’m doubtful on Harper too. I doubtful on Stanton and have reservations, but Stanton could force the Marlins hand if the Dodgers leaked an offer.
    Sure sucks to be a Marlins fan. Look at their lineup and you think to yourself just go get two pitchers and contend. Instead they’re selling off parts from a potentially good team.

    1. I think Ohtani is more likely than Stanton and or Darvish, but still fun to think about. There are some rumors that Ohtani already knows where he’s going.

  3. Stanton in his years 29 to 33 (2018 to 2022) will earn $135 million, then in his next five years (ages 34 to 38), he is guaranteed another $150 million plus most likely a $10m buyout for the 2028 season. Stanton can’t do anything to justify this contract. This is a bad contract that the Dodgers do not need. If the Dodgers want an RH bat to protect Bellinger than making a trade for Ozuna is one option, if the Dodgers don’t want Ozuma than bat Puig in the 5th spot and go with Toles or Verdugo in left.

    1. Good point on Ozuna. I agree with you that he is the better choice for a new power bat outfielder wearing the blue than Stanton. Not 59 homers worth but I doubt Stanton will repeat that. No more freakish homer years like ’17, hopefully. Also, Stanton has it in his contract that 2021 thru ’27 are all opt out years for him. What a nightmare if he suddenly decides he is worth 40 per. IMO, Ozuna is absolutely the better choice.

      1. Good point on Ozuna. I agree with you that he is the better choice for a new power bat outfielder wearing the blue than Stanton. Not 59 homers worth but I doubt Stanton will repeat that. No more freakish homer years like ’17, hopefully. Also, Stanton has it in his contract that 2021 thru ’27 are all opt out years for him. What a nightmare if he suddenly decides he is worth 40 per. IMO, Ozuna is absolutely the better choice.

  4. Baseball1439 – You nailed it… God knows I’d love to see Stanton in the Ravine, but it isn’t gonna happen… I stick with what I got and see what gems may come out of ST.(IE Verdugo, Buehler etc.)..
    I say make a creative and hard run at Ozuna…

  5. Boy do I agree. Stanton’s contract is not good for anybody. We do not need him. We need to get under the salary cap as soon as possible. We have Kershaw next year that we need to re-sign. Any team that signs a position player into their late 30s is a bad contract. Most hitters lose their ability to be a good hitter after the age of 35.

  6. Scott Kazmir will be closer to $15M. His contract is for three years at $48M with an AAV of $16M. Half of his $48M is deferred; therefore the AAV is discounted to present value estimated to be $15M.
    I also do not think that Maeda will get close to $13M. For him to do that, he would have to start 32 games and pitch 200 innings. He made $11.9M in 2016 (32 starts and 175.2IP), but $7.9M in 2017 (25 starts and 134.1 IP). For him to be effective for the entire year, I think he needs to closer approximate his 2017 workload rather than 2016. One other consideration for Maeda is that he is due a $1M bonus each time he is traded. I think the Dodgers would have to assume that cost.
    Differences in 2018 salary projections aside, I absolutely agree that the salary can be cut for whatever purpose FAZ desires. Baltimore is a perfect landing spot for McCarthy/Maeda/Grandal. Baltimore has one year remaining to go for it, and they need SP badly. McCarthy and Maeda will slot in very well, and Grandal will be a good mentor to Chance Sisco, and provide an additional DH bat when not catching. That is somewhere between $27M and $32M in savings if they only receive prospects in return. I know the two prospects I would want.
    A-Gon is not going anywhere. Southern California is his home, and he can pocket his $20+M and stay put. San Diego is the only other city he would consider, and the Padres are not going to take on that salary. I would expect the Dodgers to hold on to A-Gon until after the conclusion of their 3 game series against the Padres in Monterrey, Mexico on May 4-6. I would expect him to be released or put on the 60 day DL by mid-May. But I would also expect that A-Gon would move into a FO or coaching position once that happens.
    I can see a scenario where the Dodgers would insist that the Marlins take on the Kazmir contract if they want to move Stanton. But it is going to take a couple of good prospects and maybe a mid to low level prospect to get it done, maybe two mid-levels to get Dietrich in return. I would expect Verdugo and Alvarez would be included as the top prospects.
    While I agree that a deal can be structured to benefit both the Dodgers and Marlins for 2018, I still do not see FAZ pulling the trigger on it. If they are able to move contracts for saving $25M+, and the Dodgers are inclined to take on large contracts, I would prefer to spend the savings on Darvish. The Rays are extremely unlikely to trade Archer, and I do not see any other pitcher at the level of Yu Darvish who will be available in 2018 or 2019 (other than CK who they have to extend). As much as I like Rich Hill and Alex Wood, and the potential of Walker Buehler, Darvish provides more of an inning producing #2 than any pitcher presently in the Dodger organization. That would also leave the prospects projected to be moved in a Stanton deal remaining with the Dodgers, and available for a potential deadline trade, and allow some protection if CK decides to opt out and move on.
    I still think the Dodgers would be best served by trading Grandal, McCarthy, Maeda, Fields, Avilan, & Joc, and sign Darvish, Morrow, and Minor. The Dodgers could shed $34M, and take on $42M+/- of salary. They would still be in luxury tax hell, but it would not be near $237M, and they could drop well below in 2018. The Stanton scenario described above would have Stanton in LF and Jhoulys Chacin in the rotation, while my scenario would have Darvish in the rotation and Toles/Kike’ platoon in LF with Morrow and Minor (a righty and lefty setup). Either scenario would work, and both would generate some excitement going in to the 2018 season. but I would truly be surprised if FAZ trades for or signs a player set to earn 9 figure contract.

    1. “I still think the Dodgers would be best served by trading Grandal, McCarthy, Maeda, Fields, Avilan, & Joc, and sign Darvish, Morrow, and Minor. ” I completely agree with your assessment, AC.
      It’s good to see that UCLA and USC can still agree on some things.

  7. I’m all in Mark…make it so! I would love to have Stanton, especially if he could possibly be a Giant next year.

  8. A couple small points: Alex Guerrero and his $5 M also drop off, his contract is over and he is already playing in Japan. Arruebarrena has 1 year remaining at $6.5 M but has an AAV of $5 M and no one will take him. They are still getting hit for Olivera’s bonus at $4.666 M and $3.75 M for Kemp and $1.5 M for Toscano.

    It will take Harry Houdini to unload Kazmir and AGon, only two ways to do it: take back another bad contract in an area of need or boatloads of prospects. Maybe Stanton qualifies as a bad contract, but Kazmir’s keeps on going at $8 M for 3 years beyond 2018. Guys like Thompson, Avilan, Font and others are out of options and perhaps should be moved if not likely to stick next spring. As noted above Joc, Grandal, McCarthy and Maeda have value to be moved, for that matter so do Forsythe, Baez, Fields and Puig.

    I don’t personally see the need for a total housecleaning to add Stanton. Freidman said ‘what luxury tax?’ at the end of the season, indicating they will make some moves. I believe every effort will be made to retain Morrow, even while they look for someone else like him to add. I have mixed feelings on Darvish but don’t think either he or Morrow will provide much of a hometown discount. I also believe Grandal will be moved and probably some others who don’t fit their long range plans. Baltimore seems a likely trading partner except their owner sticks his nose in and kills deals. I doubt anything major happens until the winter meetings in another month, causing some anxiety among the faithful. I think they will stay under the $237 M as AC suggests but blow past the $198 M for this season, with the target to be under $208 M in 2019.

    1. Vegas, I had mixed feelings on Darvish that leaned to letting him walk to now where I am leaning towards re-signing. The reason is because the number of top of the rotation pitchers available for the next two years seems miniscule. Jake Arrieta and Darvish this year, and Keuchel and maybe Gio Gonzalez next year. Some consider Pomerantz a top of the rotation pitcher, but I am not sure I do. Does anyone truly expect Hill, Wood, Ryu, Maeda to have 32 starts and 180 innings? For that matter, will Kershaw get 32 starts? I do beleive Buehler will be a top of the rotation pitcher, but I also thought Urias would be for 2018. That didn’t work out too well. As much as I would like to, you cannot count on Buehler being a consistently good SP in 2018, and with shoulder surgery, there is no guarantee that Urias will make it all the way back. White should be mid-rotation by 2019. Dennis Santana needs a third pitch to be an effective SP. I would really prefer to go to battle with Stripling and Stewart in the bullpen and not the rotation. Trevor Oaks’ ceiling is a #4 or #5 (not a criticism).
      Buehler could move into the rotation from ST and pitch very well. Ryu could return to the pitcher he was in 2013 and 2014. Alex Wood could lengthen his dominance from 1st half through a full season. Rich Hill’s blisters could be behind him and he could have 28 starts and 160 innings. But I would not count on it. Darvish is insurance for a team that was one win away for a WS championship, and has all the talent to return. If the Dodgers could pull Syndergaard or De Grom out of NY, that would work, but I do not see that happening. I do not know what the Dodgers believed was a fair trade for Chris Sale, but he is the one I would have gone after. Detroit’s Michael Fullmer, and the Blue Jays Marcus Stroman or Aaron Sanchez are also worthy of consideration. But I doubt that any of those are available.
      If all the Dodgers needed was a #4 or #5 Darvish would not be a consideration. But the Dodgers need a legit #2, and while both Hill and Wood have the ability, do they have the stability.

      1. I agree with you. The primary reason to consider Darvish is that no one else can be counted on to eat innings and the Dodgers are left-handed heavy. If Honey can fix the tipping of pitches, a full season with Honey, Kershaw, and Hill would do wonders for Darvish.

    2. Regardless of how it’s paid out, Kazmir counts for about $`15 million against the salary cap next year.

  9. The Dodgers finished 1 game from winning it all, they have the highest payroll in baseball, and between these 2 facts, the now-depleted Braintrust will not be making any big changes this pre-season. Forget Stanton – no way they take on a $300MM contract. Forget JD Martinez too. Forget Darvish and Morrow. Here’s what I expect:
    1 – They will sign some scrapheap guys and try to find the next Morrow, Turner or Taylor
    2 – They will try to unload payroll. I expect them to try to find takers for Grandal (he’s the easiest), McCarthy, Ryu , Gonzalez and maybe Joc Pederson. Not Kazmir – who would pay $8MM/year to a guy who can’t pitch? Not Maeda – his contract is too team friendly.
    3 – They will play the 1st half and then see where they need to add.

  10. Stanton says he will not waive no trade for St. Louis or Boston. St. Louis seems to be the primary pursuer. I have not heard that he would waive the no-trade for the Giants, but they seem to be the favorite. Because the Marlins want to get under $90M, it is also believed that the Marlins do not want any bad contracts in return, and want multiple top tiered prospects. Stanton wants to come to the Dodgers, and Mark seems to be correct that he will nix any deal other than the Dodgers, at least initially. Apparently the Dodgers have not yet inquired with Miami. I would not expect anything to happen with Stanton before the Winter meetings.

    1. I’ve read conflicting reports about whether or not he will wave his no-trade for those places. Miami sure isn’t going to leak it if it is true. All reports have the Dodgers not checking in yet. Like I said earlier if the Dodgers were to leak an offer even if it isn’t an acceptable offer initially it could embolden Stanton to force his way to LA.
      Chris Camello who broke the Dodgers signing of Kenley and JT well before the talking heads like Rosenthal is the one who tweeted last night about Ohtani and his source believing that Ohtani may already “have a team situated”
      and his sources believe that team is the Dodgers.

  11. If this thing is allowed to play out, here’s what could happen:

    1. I truly believe Baltimore would take Maeda, Grandal and McCarthy – no long-term bad deals there and the Dodgers could get a few prospects.

    2. If Stanton sticks to his guns, the Marlins have no place to trade him but to LA. Of course, he is not linked to LA BEACUSE HE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE. Suddenly, it’s a buyers market and the Dodgers are the only buyers.

    3. The Marlins will take 2 one-year deals, not bad contracts, just bad one year-deals in Gonzo and Kazmir. The Dodgers give Gonzo a couple more million to waive his no trade deal and then the Marlins cut both players. Gonzo come back to LA or SD as a FO Type.

    4. They can stilll sign Darvish and be lower in salary than they are now, but they have to trade Maeda.

    1. Sure would, but not sure where Ohtani would fit defensively then if Puig remains with the team in that scenario. Dodgers now linked to Stanton.

  12. Saw this on Trade Rumors: All nine of the free agents that received a one-year, $17.4MM qualifying offer will reject that offer in favor of free agency, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports writes. Each of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, Greg Holland and Carlos Santana will turn down that one-year opportunity in search of a multi-year pact in free agency.

    I am scratching my head wondering who in this group is even worth $17.4 M per on a multiyear deal? Certainly not Cain, Lynn, Cobb or the 2 closers. Santana is getting up there in age too and that’s without the draft picks etc. I see Boras has upped his demand for Martinez to $210 M, who is going to pay that, the Stanton loser among Cards and Bosox? This could be a long free agency wait for some players.

  13. I read the Dodgers went after Pham before the trade deadline. That would have been a nice pickup.

    1. Yes it would have. I can never understand why the Cards have always appeared to be more enamored with Piscotty and Grichuk. Probably because they are three years younger than Pham.

    1. He’s actually a bargin. Even if he’s our number two, how many number twos have an ERA better than 3.32 ? He allowed 99 Hits in 133 innings, and yes he was on the DL early in the year with a blister (which he seems to have moved past). He also struck out 166 in 133 innings and among all starters in MLB he had the 4th lowest batting average against him.

      Oh, and his teammates love him. There aren’t many starters you can get for $48 million/3 years who can touch that!

    2. He’s a great deal, what are you talking about?
      I’m curious to people’s thoughts about Pineda as a FA target.
      Coming off TJ surgery he has a great cutter/slider. Still 29.
      Should be a value given he’ll miss some (most?) of 2018.

      1. At a team-friendly or incentative-laden deal, Pineda is exactly the kind of pitcher FAZ goes after. Good call!

        Honey might weave some magic on him. There are times when his stuff is absolutely filthy and other times when it is not so much….

      2. He has had 1 good year and he only pitched 76 innings in that season. Last year he was 8 – 4, 4.39 with a WHIP of 1.28. in 2016 he was 6 – 12, 4.82 with a WHIP of 1.34. In 5 seasons he has been healthy in 3 of them. He has been one of those “can’t miss” guys for 4 or 5 years but has never gotten it done. I vote no.

        1. Yes, wouldn’t be paying for past-performance, but that’s kind of how you find value.

          Also, Tyler Chatwood could be an interesting target.

        2. I’m with you. Seems like a guy who will wind up in the way more than helping like McCarthy and Kazmir.

      3. I am not as enamored with Pineda as others seem to be. I liked him a lot when he was with Seattle. But after being traded to NYY he underwent major shoulder surgery and was out for 18 months. He was out for 4 months in 2014 with a strain in his teres major muscle in his shoulder. In 2015 he went back on the DL with a strained flexor muscle in his right forearm. He did get through 2016, but in 2017 came the TJ surgery.
        Pineda had the surgery July 18, so his return is not expected until post All Star game next July. I do not know what incentives could be included for a very short season of two months and undoubtedly less than 50 innings. It makes no sense to sign a one year contract, no time to evaluate or to earn any real incentives. So it will have to be a two year contract with incentives galore the 2nd year. This looks like Brandon Beachy part deux. Beachy was paid $4.25M for two years. Pineda has had major shoulder surgery, TJ surgery, and additional strains taking significant time from 2 additional years, all within a 5 year period. FAZ took these kind of risks before, but with the top tiered Dodger pitching prospects much closer to ML ready, there is no reason to take these kind of risks.
        While I would prefer a legit #2 innings eater, admittedly Tyler Chatwood is more in line with FAZ priorities. He turns 28 in December, two years removed from TJ surgery, and survived 5 years of Colorado. Mid 90’s 4 seam FB, and generates a lot of ground balls. I am also on record of liking Jhoulys Chacin, an innings eater, whose 162 game average is 192 innings with a career 3.93 ERA. Neither Chatwood or Chacin are anywhere close to be a legit #2, but will not have a price tag that will put the luxury tax anywhere near $237M, and could put Maeda and/or Ryu in play in a potential trade.

  14. As I read articles and listen to what is being said, there is something that is not surprising to me, and it is the fact that many players want to come to the Dodgers to play. Money is one attraction. The other attraction may be that the Dodgers are like family and accept anyone who comes into the organization for what they are. They also like the coaching staff and front office. Stanton, Darvish, and Ohtani want to come to the Dodgers. Watson and Cingrani both came to the Dodgers struggling. Both turn their careers around in a very short time. Darvish evidently liked what he saw because now he would like to stay with the Dodgers. This should mean a lot to our farm kids. Knowing that they are getting the best training and teaching possible.

  15. We’re going to hear a lot of rumors between now and the winter meetings. Every single team should be willing to post $20 million for Ohtani and at about half the teams will check in with Stanton to see what they’re thinking.

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