Giancarlo Stanton has reportedly signed a massive 13-year, $325 million contract to stay with the Miami Marlins. It's not only one of the most unexpected things the Marlins have ever done; it's also the richest contract in pro sports history -- a record previously held by Alex Rodriguez, who signed with the Yankees in 2008 for $275 million.
Hardball Talks says the deal is done.
Stanton, who is just 25 years old, also has an early opt-out and a no-trade clause, according to CBS Sports.
The opt-out clause will also give Stanton an opportunity to sign a second contractual record when he's past age 30, much as A-Rod did with the Yankees.
It's an odd move by the historically stingy Marlins, but the contract keeps their best player and MVP candidate on their squad through his prime years and maybe even until he's 38, if all goes well. Earlier this year, the Marlins said they fully intended on giving Stanton the largest contract in team history, and we called them out on it.
Looks like we were way off.
Rumors of Stanton signing the contract had been swirling since Friday, but fans were rightly skeptical the Marlins were ready to give one player so much money. But it appeared that opt-out language had been an early sticking point, with early reports saying that an opt-out would come after six years. It looks now as if the opt-out option will come in five years, which means that Stanton can ask for a trade if he's unhappy with the direction of the team -- something he's been very vocal about in the past.
Stanton had a career year in an otherwise lackluster season for the Fish, posting a .287/.395/.554 line, with 37 total home runs and an MLB-leading 105 RBI. The numbers were good enough to put him in as an NL MVP finalist. But, Stanton was forced to miss the final month of the season after suffering a face fracture from an errant pitch.
Stanton had been expected to wait on signing an extension to test the free agency waters in two seasons, where big clubs like the Yankees, Cardinals and Dodgers would likely throw big cash to have him hit his giant dongs for them.
For their part, the Marlins finished the last two seasons with the second lowest payroll in baseball. Fans had grown apathetic because of owner Jeffrey Loria's unwillingness to go after pricey free agents, and for trading away some of their best players over the years.
In 2007, the Marlins traded Miguel Cabrera to the Detroit Tigers for a handful of prospects -- none of which ever panned out -- in one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history. Cabrera has gone on to be the AL home run champion, the Triple Crown, and AL MVP, and is considered one of the game's best hitters.
Now, perhaps fearing that Stanton could be the next Cabrera, the Marlins are backing up the Brinks truck.
A press conference announcing the signing is expected later this week.
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