The Giants have zero shot of getting Giancarlo Stanton this offseason because, thanks to his full no-trade clause and Miami’s desire to basically dump his salary (suggesting a painful trade involving the best prospects isn’t a factor here), this is basically a free agent negotiation with the reigning league MVP.
And the Giants are never going to be able to woo a top of the market free agent hitter to come play for them.
As Brian Sabean has explained:
"To entice a free agent to come to San Francisco, we're almost in an overpay situation, so why get involved in all those battles where you're not going to be able to go up the totem pole money-wise? ... You've got the state of California taxes. (San Francisco) is a long way from where some of these guys live in the offseason. It's not a hitters' ballpark, so you can scratch that side of the fence. It takes the right pitcher to consider wanting to come there for a number of different reasons, some of them I just mentioned, even if it's a pitchers' ballpark in a pitchers' division."
Stanton’s salary is effectively market rate for a hitter of his ilk. It’s a guaranteed deal. I suppose the Giants could modify it, but what’s an increase in pay that would be palatable to Stanton and his representatives? $40 million, maybe?
And, as Grant pointed out yesterday, Stanton might not be too keen to join another losing franchise, one that’s coming off a worse season than his own loser club. If Stanton was open to playing for the Giants, then the deal would’ve been done by now.
But despite these overwhelmingly negative odds, the Giants are still signing up for the potential industry-wide embarrassment of being rejected so publicly. Adam LaRoche’s rejection begat a World Series in 2010. Jon Lester’s gave us 2014. If the pattern holds... a humiliating rejection of a desperate front office might not be the worst thing!
I think it’s fair to say the Giants seem desperate here because they’re behaving very much unlike themselves. They usually hate waiting on free agents to make a decision — they like to move very fast once an offseason begins. They don’t like to pay or even overpay for hitters, preferring to find cheap bats at the local Dollar Tree store and then try to haggle down the price.
I think this is why they were tied to a possible trade for Andrew McCutchen. He’s their Plan B for when Stanton makes it clear he’s not going to waive his no-trade to play for the loser Giants.
But again, none of these points are pushing the Giants to move on from Stanton. IN FACT
Source : SF Giants front office executives are now in Los Angeles to meet with representatives of NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) December 1, 2017
First, I’m bummed none of those dudes reached out to me to get a drink or something. I could’ve taken them to California Chicken Cafe for a combo wrap or California Chicken Salad. Or, or maybe somewhere cooler than that.
Second, Stanton is repped by Wasserman Media Group, housed on Wilshire Blvd., so this isn’t quite as big a deal as it might seem; but the Giants are carrying the risk of coming all the way down to LA and dealing with LAX and 405 traffic just to be told in person by Wasserman people that they’ve got no chance of seducing their client to waive his no-trade for them.
Third, I have to believe that the Giants are not so dumb as to think that an in-person meeting would be powerful enough to tip the odds in their favor, therefore, it’s likely it’s at least 50/50 already and Stanton’s reps simply want to see if there’s something more in it for their client than just a change of scenery and the trip is more about the Giants showing their serious desire to make it all work out for the team and the player.
We don’t know if Stanton was in this meeting. I’m going to guess he wasn’t, meaning his reps were basically interviewing and fact-finding the Giants and taking it all back to Stanton with their recommendation, which seems like a situation that would happen only if Stanton is somewhat open to being convinced to change his mind when he is already leaning strongly no. I still don’t think the Giants have a shot and I think this LA trip is basically a Beverly Hillbillies-esque vignette for Brian Sabean & co., BUT, if we have to be creative here and imagine a world where the Giants both do have a shot and are capable of saying the right combination of words to make that happen, then, the way I see it, there are only three possible pitches the Giants could make that would gain any traction with either Giancarlo Stanton himself or Giancarlo Stanton’s representatives:
- “When we get to the World Series, we win the World Series.”
This is the purely emotional argument. It’s a shot at the Dodgers — Stanton’s hometown team — and a statement of fact. They could bolster the aggressive, testosterone-fueled tone of it by having Bochy talk about how they’ll get to their next World Series because of Stanton, and having the successful manager say something like that might work on a gut level (“Here’s a probable Hall of Fame manager saying he can’t win another ring without me!”). But this idea presupposes that Stanton is actually in the room and that Stanton is young enough and dumb enough to buy into such an emotional argument when he’s going to earn $30 million a year no matter where he plays or how well his team does. So, this is probably the worst of the possible pitches.
- “The last reigning MVP to sign with us was Barry Bonds. And, as you know, we really want to be over him. Imagine Mays... McCovey... Stanton.”
Was this a tweet or did somebody make this comment the other day — “Giantcarlo Stanton”? I think GIANTcarlo Stanton is a really great marketing gimmick. Stanton is the literal embodiment of the franchise. He would immediately become its marquee player, not because the other guys are bad, but because he’s literally a Giant among men.
The park is most favorable to right-handed hitters, too, so some sort of whacky home run pursuit for him is not totally out of the question. And it’s extraordinarily likely that the fanbase is ready to afterthought Barry Bonds and embrace a wholesome and seemingly friendly dude who can hit massive dingers with ease. The Fans might actually be a really interesting angle to deploy here.
And, I feel like the Giants might feel pretty strongly about this angle already, if this tweet has any truth to it:
Important to note that Giants were talking relentlessly to Marlins about Stanton at last summer's trade deadline, even to point of private owner-to-owner conversations. Giants clearly enamored with Stanton. https://t.co/8UUttyliPL— clarkspencer (@clarkspencer) December 1, 2017
Of course, Larry Baer might plus that angle a bit by talking about the merchandising factor. Maybe offering Giancarlo’s reps a cut of anything they create using his likeness or implying his persona. Now I’m gonna pitch some of these possible Baer ideas, just for fun:
- Stanton Claus (a plush doll?)
- Giancarl-O’s (some sort of ice cream + cereal treat)
- “This Gian Right Here” (a poster give away for when Philadelphia comes to town?)
- Bay Area Sock Exchange reboot poster with just Giancarlo Stanton lording over the entire image oh god yes this is the thing this is the winning pitch.
I think this one might move the needle with the Wasserman people a little bit. Basically, I think the only way they’d recommend the Giants to their client is if something extra, financially, was added to the existing deal. The buildup of social capital in a wealthy, populous state would also be good for Stanton’s #brand. This is probably the second-best pitch the Giants could make.
- “Silicon Valley will offer you a buffet table of tech money every single day.”
Whatever the Warriors are doing to get Iguodala and other players to remain with or come to the franchise is what the Giants should be doing with any reputable free agent. Florida’s on the verge of feudalism, so whatever money Stanton is in proximity to, it’s hoarded-old-people wealth meant for pissing contests with other old rich people. But tech money... why, that money is drawn to young, recognizable faces... it serves as a stand-in for personality and interpersonal connections. Stanton making his bank account tech-incubator adjacent would, with the right management and smart decision-making, be a possibly very wise business decision and it’s possibly the best argument the Giants have to make for why he should come to San Francisco.
Dear Mr. Stanton,
I know you won’t be waiving your no-trade clause to join my favorite baseball team, but I do hope you don’t embarrass them too bad on their way out, because if you do, then they will make weird, dumb moves like trade for Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon. And then I’ll be very sad and, in weaker moments, blame you for that sadness.