If you’re one of the thousands of St. Louis Cardinals fans who is tired of riding the emotional roller-coaster of the Giancarlo Stanton saga, rest assured.
It’s all going to come to an end, one way or another, over the next two or three days.
Simply put, if the Redbirds can’t craft a trade with the Miami Marlins to land the most-feared slugger in the major leagues Monday, it’s not going to happen.
Monday marks the beginning of the general managers meetings, so St. Louis will send its front-office folks to meet face-to-face with their Marlins counterparts. And if a deal can’t be struck or if Stanton, who has a complete no-trade clause, won’t agree to the terms, the Cardinals will have to turn their attention elsewhere.
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While landing Stanton and his imposing bat would be ideal, St. Louis simply can’t afford to be left standing with nowhere to go when the Hot Stove League music stops.
There has been a lot of speculation about whether Stanton would be willing to come to St. Louis, a bunch of it created by a Los Angeles-based sports reporter who is trying to cheerlead Stanton to the Dodgers.
Sure, the slugger is a California guy. But why does that mean he wouldn’t be willing to play anywhere else? Mark McGwire and Jim Edmonds were both California guys who played on California teams only to decide that it was a better situation to leave the left coast to play in front of the packed stands of Busch Stadium.
People seem to have no problem accepting the idea that Stanton would move to Boston to play for the Red Sox who are also interested in adding an imposing power source. Why? Sure, the BoSox are a good team with ownership that is willing to spend whatever it takes to try to win. But Boston is a notoriously difficult place to play with unforgiving fans who have been known to ride their own players mercilessly (ask Edgar Renteria) and a rabid media which makes life miserable for superstars like David Price.
I hear a lot of folks express concern now that Boston is involved that they’ll somehow outspend the Cardinals. But the Red Sox don’t have the depth of young pitching that the Marlins crave.
So in this particular set of circumstances, the Redbirds have the ability to outbid the major-market team. They can’t control whether Stanton would want to play here. But Stanton can’t force the Marlins to make a bad trade, either. It’s possible, if he won’t accept a trade to the Birds, that Stanton could be forced to stay with a Marlins team that has to sell off the rest of its decent players in order to afford to pay him.
It might pay off to give coming to St. Louis for at least three years — when Stanton’s contractual opt-out kicks in. And then he could go wherever he wants.
But the best part is that this can’t linger on much longer. The Cardinals need an answer within the next couple of days or else they’ll have to move on. And they might not have to move far. If Stanton won’t accept the trade, maybe the Cardinals would take fellow Miami outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich off the Marlins’ hands.