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The Giants submitted a trade proposal for Giancarlo Stanton

That means ... well, it means that they submitted a trade proposal for Giancarlo Stanton.

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Miami Marlins v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Giants have officially submitted a trade proposal for Giancarlo Stanton, according to Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic. This doesn’t have to mean anything. This might mean everything.

As always, it’s worth noting that both Don Corleone in Godfather II and Clarence Worley of True Romance submitted trade proposals, too. They ended with dead people. This specific trade proposal doesn’t have to end with 50 extra dingers on the 2018 Giants.

Still, it’s not like every team has submitted a proposal, so it’s a start.

The Giants are willing to pick up a sizable amount of Stanton’s contract, one source said. Such a deal, however, would exacerbate the team’s luxury-tax concerns, likely resulting in the trade of at least one high-priced veteran, perhaps as part of a package going to the Marlins, perhaps to other clubs.

This could be Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, or Brandon Belt. All three would interest teams if the contracts were paid down a bit. Heck, Belt’s contract is going to look like a bargain compared to Eric Hosmer’s, so he might not even require salary relief. All three of them would create significant holes if they left, though. I’m skeptical that the Giants would move any of the three if they had to pay too much money. Seems like that’s a balancing act that would leave them further in debt and only incrementally better.

No, focus on the last part. “Perhaps as a part of a package going to the Marlins.” Stanton is owed $29.5 million for the next 10 years, on average. It doesn’t matter for luxury tax purposes that he’s actually owed $25 million next year. And if the Marlins decide to include $50 million back with Stanton, that means he’ll still count for $24.5 million against the competitive balance tax in 2018, which would put the Giants over by something like $10 million before they even consider additional free agents.

So it doesn’t matter that much to the Giants if the Marlins include $50 million or $75 million, at least when it comes to getting under the cap and resetting the penalties. The extra $2.5 million in this scenario would help the Giants incrementally next year, which is when they’re most concerned about the tax, but that’s about it.

That extra $25 million sure means a heckuva lot to the Marlins, though, mostly because it’s $25 million.

What if we’re not talking about cash coming over with Stanton, though? What if we’re talking about a bad contract going back?

Instead of the Marlins sending over cash, then, imagine if they take back Denard Span, who’s owed $11 million next year with a $4 million buyout. If the Giants are roughly $15 million under the cap right now, and they shed Span’s contract, they’ll already be teetering on the edge of going under the penalty for 2018. That’s without the Marlins sending over piles of cash.

Now imagine if the contract going back were worth $17.7 million annually, like a certain closer, or $19.5 million, like the right fielder Stanton was replacing. Both Mark Melancon and Hunter Pence have no-trade protection, so those are unlikely, but you get the idea when it comes to possible deals for high-priced veterans.

I’m thinking any proposal starts with Span rather than “give us $50 million,” just because of the logistics of getting under the tax. The more money the Marlins pile on has to be spread out over 10 years for the purposes of the tax. Span’s contract helps the Giants in 2018 by removing a lump sum from next year’s payroll, which is what they need.

This doesn’t mean that Span would be the only salary relief the Giants get in a hypothetical deal. There still might be money coming over, too. But he’s a player the Giants have already publicly discussed replacing, and he doesn’t have a no-trade clause. The more I think about it, the more it would shock me if Span weren’t a part of a trade proposal. It’s the easiest way for the Giants to get Stanton and still have a shot to get under the tax.

Man, this is some CPA stuff, and I’m sorry. Lemme dumb it down for you:

  1. The Giants have submitted a trade proposal for Giancarlo Stanton
  2. Nobody knows what’s in it but the Giants and the Marlins
  3. While it’s assumed that the Marlins will pay Stanton’s contract down, the Giants would probably prefer them to take back Denard Span.
  4. There’s still, like, a six-percent chance that the Giants get Stanton

Anyway, don’t freak out when you hear that the Giants will look to deal a high-priced veteran to make room for Stanton. It doesn’t have to be Buster Posey going to the Padres. It could be something that’s baked into this deal by design.

This extremely, extremely unlikely deal.

I’m guessing the proposal is two prospects you really care about, two prospects you’re lukewarm on, Span, and a reliever you’re used to for Stanton and $25 million. That is a total guess, but I’m running with it.

That’s the latest update. Have a happy weekend. And stop refreshing MLB Trade Rumors. You’ll wear your phone out.

(Credit to Darryl from Zero Effect for first introducing me to the merits of including Span in a deal.)