Marlins will reportedly try to trade Giancarlo Stanton and his record $325 million contract

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    The Marlins reportedly plan to trade Giancarlo Stanton in an effort to trim expenses. Stanton hit 59 home runs this year, but his $325 million contract doesn’t fit in with the new ownership regime’s plans for the organization. Teams with reported interest in Stanton include the Cardinals, Phillies, and Giants.

After months of speculation, the Miami Marlins have reportedly come up with an offseason plan, and it involves trading away their biggest star: Giancarlo Stanton.

The Marlins were in the news this season when an ownership group including retired shortstop Derek Jeter and billionaire Bruce Sherman bought the team from Jeffrey Loria for $1.2 billion. They assumed control of a franchise in the midst of a 14-season playoff drought in spite of taking on a number of hefty contracts.

With the team spinning its tires and new blood in the front office, the Marlins were at a crossroads, and now it looks like they’ve plotted out their next few moves. On Monday, Barry Jackson and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reported that the team now has a “preferred path” to slash the payroll from a projected $136 million all the way down to $90 million, starting with dealing their slugging right fielder.

Stanton should be a popular man on the trade market. The California native had one of the great power seasons in recent memory this year, leading MLB with a staggering 59 home runs. With 267 career bombs and 35.1 Wins Above Replacement through his age-27 season, a bronze plaque in Cooperstown could be in his future if he keeps up his current pace.

But as talented as Stanton is, Jeter has good reason for wanting to trade him: his contract. Stanton signed a backloaded 13-year, $325 million contract in late 2014, meaning he can earn as much as $310 million between next year and 2028. While he can opt out of the deal after the 2020 season, it would be a big risk for the Marlins’ new regime to allow hundreds of millions to rest on one player’s decision.

And besides, as talented as he is, it’s not like Stanton was carrying the Marlins towards their next dynasty. They’ve gone 587-708 since 2010, his first year with the team.

Stanton’s big contract will make him a challenge to move, but there already seems to be interest in his services. In early October, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported that the Cardinals, Phillies, and Giants were the frontrunners to make a deal, with other logical candidates including the Dodgers and Red Sox.

For what it’s worth, Stanton has no desire to be part of a rebuilding project, saying that “I’ve lost for seven years.” But that looks like the next step for the Marlins, who have a shaky MLB roster and a barren farm system.

The Marlins will also look to trade expensive infielders Dee Gordon and Martin Prado. They would prefer to keep two of their younger stars, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.

MLB teams will be able to make trades again after the World Series ends. The league’s annual winter meetings are set to kick off on December 10 in Florida.