As has long been rumored, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is likely to be traded this offseason as Miami slashes payroll, and the Giants are seen as the “very early favorite” to acquire him, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Heyman writes that San Francisco would be “among the preferred destinations” for Stanton, who has a full no-trade clause and would reportedly prefer to play on one of the two coasts.
Stanton, 27, hit a league-best 59 homers while slashing .281/.376/.631 in his first fully-healthy season since 2011. Assuming he remains healthy, he’d provide a major boost to a Giants lineup that finished last in the league in home runs (128), slugging percentage (.380), and OPS (.689) in 2017. While San Francisco would probably be well-served to acquire a more defensively-adept center fielder regardless of what happens with Stanton—Denard Span’s -27 defensive runs saved were worst among all major-leaguers in 2017—adding Stanton would allow the Giants to reduce aging veterans like Span and Hunter Pence to part-time or backup duty.
However, Stanton is still set to make $295 million over the next 10 seasons, though he can opt out after 2020. He’ll make $25 million next season. At roughly $166 million, the Giants have the second-highest payroll commitment as the offseason begins. Unless they’re able to shed some significant salary—an unlikely possibility unless they’re willing to trade Madison Bumgarner—Stanton’s acquisition alone would push them over the $197 million luxury tax threshold for next season, and that’s not even accounting for the salaries of arbitration-eligible players like Joe Panik and Sam Dyson. If the Giants also make major free-agent additions or add another player in a trade, it seems possible that they could reach the $217 million payroll threshold which triggers an extra 12% tax under the new CBA.