Now that the Miami Marlins have gone against their own stringent rules of not giving a player a giant contract and opt-out clauses, they're apparently going to go against another stringent rule and go after real-life, honest-to-goodness good baseball players.
After giving MVP-candidate and monster-dong-hitter Giancarlo Stanton the biggest contract in professional sports history, the Marlins say they fully intend to surround him with talented players who will make the team a contender.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria told the media Monday that the team wants to add other talented players to the squad, in addition to re-signing their remaining most promising players.
"We are going to be surrounding him," Loria said, per the Miami Herald. "We have already started to surround him with all-star-caliber players, and there will be more."
When asked if the team can afford to keep spending after giving Stanton his mega-13-year, $325 million contract, Loria responded, "We can afford it. We are going to surround him with an improved lineup as well. We need another bat in this lineup that can help him out."
Loria then added, "I did this for the city, the fans, for Giancarlo, our team, for myself, and for baseball."
For now, it appears the Marlins next priority is sitting down with their Gold Glove-winning left-fielder Christian Yelich and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria to keep them in Miami. Now that the Stanton deal is done, the team can focus on just that.
But reports are also swirling that the Fish are interested in adding another top-of-the-rotation pitcher as they wait for ace Jose Fernandez to come back from Tommy John surgery.
Fernandez likely won't be able to pitch again until the middle of next season, which means the Marlins need an ace to lead the rotation in his place.
One name that has cropped up is James Shields, who led the Kansas City Royals to the World Series this past October. The A' talented pitcher Jeff Samardzija is another option, though Miami would have to trade for his services.
Either way, the Marlins will have to spend -- either with money or with top-flight prospects -- to get what they want, which would be uncharacteristic of this ownership.
Part of the change of heart might be a genuine desire to placate Stanton's frustrations over the last couple of years. Stanton has been very vocal over the team's lack of aggressiveness in getting talented players on the roster while remaining at the bottom of the standings with the second lowest payroll in baseball.
Back in 2012, Giancarlo ominously tweeted this out:
Alright, I'm pissed off!!! Plain & Simple— Giancarlo Stanton (@Giancarlo818) November 13, 2012
Just this year, with Stanton in the middle of the NL MVP race, he said that he was well aware of the Marlins' reputation for not being proactive in spending to get competitive.
When asked by Yahoo! Sports if his frustrations had quelled over the early season success of the Marlins, Stanton replied, "Five months doesn't change five years."
"We've definitely done better than anyone thought we would do," Stanton added. "At the same time, we're still not where we need to be to keep playing beyond the designed schedule... I want to be the only game on TV at the end of the day. We're definitely in a positive direction. But we have a month to go to make the playoffs."
The team fell well short of the playoffs.
But, now with promises being made (and big money being thrown at him), Stanton is all-in.
And, if Loria -- of all people -- is to be believed, so are the Marlins.