Giancarlo Stanton and the Miami Marlins shocked the sports world when the two sides agreed to the largest contract in the history of North American sports, a 13-year, $US325 million deal signed in November.
To many, the move was surprising because the Marlins are not one of the elite high-revenue teams in MLB. In addition, the move came just three months after Stanton had suggested that he would not sign a long-term extension with the team because of their notorious history of cutting payrolls and gutting the team of talented players, saying “five months [of winning] doesn’t change five years.”
But $US325 million has a way of changing a player’s mind and the move was one the Marlins had to make for their dwindling fan base and as an investment in their next local television contract which is expected to be negotiated in the next year or so.
Still, Stanton needed to be convinced to sign away the prime of his career and actually take less money over the next two seasons ($US15.5 million) than he likely would have made through arbitration without a long-term contract (estimated to be ~$US40 million).
In a feature story for Ben Reiter of Sports Illustrated, Stanton said he was actually “angered” when the Marlins first presented the $US325 million offer.
“I think they were thinking I was going to be like, ‘Oh, well, sign me up!'” Stanton told Reiter. “I put the paper down, and I was like, ‘I’ll tell you right now that numbers don’t mean anything. If you think you’re just going to pay me a bunch of money, and I’m going to go live my lavish lifestyle, come to the park and get my arse kicked every day, and go back to my lavish lifestyle, you got another thing coming.’ I said that straight to their faces. I was angered.”
It took Stanton two weeks to agree to the offer and according to Reiter it came down to three key reasons for Stanton.
1. Stanton loves Miami — “I could go anywhere … but if we win here, I’d rather be here over any place, any other city.”
2. Stanton believes in the Marlins’ young core of players — “Never are we going to be the biggest market, have the highest payroll, none of that … And the players that we have, they’re still not the biggest names, most people aren’t going to know who they are. But in terms of pure talent, they’re there.”
3. Stanton believes the team’s days of gutting the roster of talent are over — “Why would you give me so much money and not try to win? … What on earth is the point of that? They have to be serious about winning going forward. There’s no other logical explanation.”
Stanton did demand an opt-out clause in the contract that will allow him to become a free agent after six seasons at the age of 30. But for now, baseball’s next biggest star is committed to the Marlins and the team is trying to convince him that they are committed to winning.
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