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The Marlins say they’re probably going to trade Giancarlo Stanton. Can the Cubs afford him?

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Those home runs would look pretty good at Wrigley.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

While the Cubs scored a lot of runs in 2017 — 822 — and hit 223 home runs, second (by one) in the National League, it’s always nice to improve your offense.

That’s why this article could be of interest, as Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins slugger who crushed 59 home runs in 2017, could be available:

The Marlins privately have come up with a preferred path to meet their $90 million payroll target, but whether it’s entirely realistic is debatable.

According to two sources, the Marlins will look to trade outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who’s due $25 million next season, and also will try to trade second baseman Dee Gordon and third baseman Martin Prado.

About the other two: The Cubs don’t need Prado, not with Kris Bryant at third base, and they don’t really need Gordon either, with Javier Baez looking like he’ll be the more-or-less regular second baseman in 2018.

Stanton... well now, there’s an idea. There’s a big “However” to this, though. Stanton is owed at least $270 million over the next 11 seasons, as follows:

18:$25M, 19:$26M, 20:$26M,21:$29M, 22:$29M, 23:$32M, 24:$32M, 25:$32M, 26:$29M,27:$25M, 28:$25M club option ($10M buyout)

Given the way baseball salaries are going, that’s not really unreasonable for a player of Stanton’s talent. The numbers even begin to drop after 2025, which would be Stanton’s age-35 season. It’s pretty much a franchise contract, meaning he’d be locked up for the rest of his career — unless he decides to take the opt-out after 2020.

This MLB Trade Rumors article goes into much more detail about dealing these contracts and includes this:

Even if competitors are willing to absorb the entirety of the Stanton and Gordon deals, they likely won’t be sending much in the way of talent back in return.

This is likely true. If the Marlins really do want to drop from their 2017 payroll level of $115 million to about $90 million, it probably won’t matter to them what kind of talent they get back. Mid-range prospects would be what they’d likely want to send in order to get out from under Stanton’s entire contract.

The question I would pose to you here is: Can the Cubs even do this? They’ve been fairly determined to stay under the luxury tax (which has gone up and serves as a de facto salary cap, even though it’s not specifically stated as such), so absorbing a contract the size of Stanton’s might, in future years, preclude signing guys like Bryant, Baez or Addison Russell to a longterm deal, or to give Anthony Rizzo the “lifetime contract” he almost certainly deserves.

On the other hand, there is almost certainly room for a deal like this for 2018, and maybe a couple of years beyond that. Cot’s Baseball Contracts projects the Cubs’ 2018 payroll at $137 million, which is down considerably from the $171 million the Cubs spent on player payroll in 2017. That link has the Cubs’ current commitments at $94 million, plus whatever the arb-eligible guys get, plus the renewals for non-arb-eligible players.

So it would seem the Cubs could have room for Stanton, payroll-wise, at least. But then they’d have three other outfielders who would warrant playing time: Jason Heyward, Albert Almora Jr. and Kyle Schwarber. That would suggest one of those players could be traded and I’ve already suggested Schwarber would be the most likely one to be dealt.

Stanton has missed considerable time with injuries and has played 150 or more games just twice in his career. On the other hand, a couple of those injuries (hit on the wrist by a pitch, hit in the face by a pitch) are freak injuries that don’t suggest he’d be injury-prone going forward. He seems past the knee and groin injuries that ruined previous years.

So... would you do it, if the Cubs could absorb this contract?

Poll

Giancarlo Stanton!

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    The Cubs should deal for him and take on the entire contract
    (781 votes)
  • 38%
    The Cubs should trade for him, but only if the Marlins eat part of the contract
    (1170 votes)
  • 35%
    The Cubs can’t afford to do this. Next!
    (1087 votes)
3038 votes total Vote Now