Set the scene. There you are, sitting in a garish ballpark draped in bright greens and deep blues. In the outfield is a monstrosity of a monument to the excess of baseball stadiums. Then you see this…
Every time this hulk of a power hitter sends a baseball into the stratosphere that insane marlin leaps out of the monument in left center field. All you can do is shake your head in appreciation, disgust, and amazement. Except when you are watching a player like Giancarlo Stanton, you can’t help but await the marlin’s leap. You crave it.
Despite the terrible makeup of the stadium he plays in, Stanton will continue to set off that celebratory piece of art for the better part of the next 13 years…allegedly. Stanton’s representatives are putting the finishing touches on a 13-year, $325 million contract extension with the Miami Marlins. The richest contract in MLB history.
Every few years, a player stakes his claim as possibly the best in the business. Then, we all wonder just how much money they should be making and the old record inevitably falls. However, we all thought that Mike Trout would be the one to break this particular milestone. Trout took a 6-year, $144.5 million extension instead to get another bite at the free agent apple.
Stanton’s new contract will top the AAV of Trout’s by almost $1 million per year (~$24.1 vs. $25). Is he a better player than Trout? No, but Trout is fighting through a few years of team control that need to be bought out. Stanton is into his all-important arbitration years.
The contract will almost certainly be a horrid one to look at by the end of it, but Stanton is regularly among the leaders in home runs and slugging; topping both in the National League this season with 37 and .555.1 That all goes along with the bargaining power that finishing second in the NL MVP race brings.2
Heading into his sixth season, Stanton his never crushed less than 20 HRs in a season and may have the potential to break the 40 HR barrier as soon as 2015. He is just recently a 25-year-old (Nov. 8th) that could be about to enter his prime years; as scary as that may be.
True 80 raw power doesn’t come along every day, especially when it comes along with the bat to help that power play in games. Take a look at HitTrackerOnline’s top home run distances. You’ll see Stanton near the top and scattered throughout the entire list.
Let’s not forget that this all ties together with a useful 13 stolen bases (only caught stealing 1 time) and positive defensive statistics in every season.3 Not to mention finishing third in the NL in WAR, for all you stat inclined readers, with 6.5. No that isn’t an all-knowing stat, but it sure doesn’t mean nothing.
There will be plenty of talk about how terrible this contract can and/or will be over the long haul. Those may be right. But, the Marlins are on the uptick and likely had to overpay to keep Stanton and his light tower power in Miami. As long as he stays healthy, not certain because of his checkered injury history, this will almost certainly be a deal with pays for itself in the early years before being an albatross in his mid-30’s.
Someone had to take the mantle of having the largest/longest contract, there are only one or two players that may be more deserving, but only maybe.