The Miami Marlins are still in playoff contention, and April 25th came and went a long time ago. Imagine that. Currently 65-65 and 10 games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East, the Marlins are just three games back in the Wild Card race. Could they actually make the playoffs.
As expected, Giancarlo Stanton has led the way for Miami at the plate. The 24-year-old is hitting .299 with 33 homers, 97 RBI and an on-base percentage of .407 during his MVP-caliber season. He’ll also be a free agent in two years. If the Marlins make the playoffs, would Stanton consider signing an extension?
“Five months doesn’t change five years,” Stanton recently told Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports.
Those six words say it all. The Marlins have lost 90 or more games in each of the last three seasons. They lost 100 last year in what was Stanton’s worst season (.249/24/62) as a full-time MLB player. Stanton admitted that the horrible 2013 season left a foul taste in his mouth.
“The way I felt last year, with the whole situation of losing and not playing my best, that was one of the worst feelings I ever had,” he explained. “I put it as a waste of time. I spent all that time in the offseason. To lose 100 games and to not do my best? It was like, ‘What’d I do all that in the offseason for?’”
Stanton said the Marlins are moving in a “positive direction,” but he is clearly hesitant to look ahead. While Miami has played much better this season, three games could be a lot to make up for a team that has perfected the art of losing over the past several seasons.
“We’ve definitely done better than anyone thought we would do,” Stanton said. “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.”
The Marlins will at least make an attempt to sign Stanton to a long-term extension, but does he trust that they will assemble a winning team around him? This is a team with a $46 million payroll, and Stanton’s yearly salary will be at least equivalent to the $24 million Mike Trout recently agreed to with the LA Angels. Staying in Miami doesn’t seem like an option. Expect the Marlins to trade Stanton for a boatload of top prospects sooner rather than later.