The St. Louis Cardinals courted slugging outfielder Giancarlo Stanton with their championship pedigree and the promise of more competitive days ahead with him at the center of their lineup.
His current team, the Miami Marlins, agreed to a presumed ransom in young talent and an agreement to take on the majority of the 10-years and $295 million still due on his record contract in exchange for the reigning National League MVP.
But Stanton officially did on Friday what was feared from the start of negotiations. He refused to waive his no-trade clause for the chance to play in St. Louis.
Cardinals Chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt, Jr., and President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak issued a statement expressing their disappointment.
“We had an agreement to acquire Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins, subject to him waiving his no-trade clause. We have been notified that he will not waive his no-trade clause to come to St. Louis,” said DeWitt. “While we are disappointed in his decision, we will continue to make every effort to improve our club for the upcoming season.”
Both the Cardinals and San Francisco Giants both made offers to acquire the 28-year-old Stanton, who led the Major Leagues with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs in 2017. Officials from both teams met with Stanton and his representatives in Los Angeles in last Friday.
St. Louis reportedly offered a package of young players centered around right-handed pitcher Sandy Alcantara and may have included big league starter Michael Wacha and outfielder-first baseman Jose Martinez, according to the Venezuelan baseball site, Los bigleaguers.
The Giants, meanwhile, reportedly offered pitcher Tyler Beede, outfielder Heliot Ramos, infielder Christian Arroyo and outfielder Chris Shaw.
As part of his contract, Stanton has the authority to veto any trade proposal.
In an interview with the MLB Network, former Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday, a free agent, offered Stanton an endorsement of St. Louis saying “there’s no better place” to play. The team pitched its history and the loyalty of St. Louis fans to Stanton.
Their plea didn’t move the California native, who graduated from high school in Sherman Oaks, barely 15 minutes from Dodger Stadium.
“Unfortunately we were not able to convince Stanton to waive his no-trade clause and join the Cardinals. We felt this was a great landing spot for him, but it was not meant to be,” Mozeliak said.
Under a new ownership group led by former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, the Marlins made public their intention of slashing payroll to $90 million for 2018. Stanton was of immediate interest to the Cardinals, who last season ranked 18th in runs scored and missed the playoffs for the second year in a row.
The Marlins pressured Stanton to be open to waiving his no-trade clause under the threat that he would be the star player on a young and unsuccessful team for the duration of his contract.
Stanton issued the Marlins a list of teams to which he would accept a trade. Neither the Cardinals or Giants were on it. The list includes all of last season’s league championship qualifiers — the Dodgers, Yankees, Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs.
It’s not believed that any of those teams have had substantive talks with the Marlins about a possible trade.
Rumors have tied the Cardinals to other sluggers in lieu of Stanton. They include Marlins’ outfielder Marcel Ozuna, who batted .312 with 37 home runs and 124 RBIs last season. He’s just 26 years old, but can be a free agent in 2020.
St. Louis also has reportedly contacted the Chicago White Sox about 30-year-old outfielder Jose Abreu, who hit 33 home runs with 102 RBI.