LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Does he prefer the Golden Gate Bridge over the Green Monster and Gateway Arch? Does he fancy toasted ravioli over clam chowder and cheesesteak sandwiches?
When and if it comes to trading Giancarlo Stanton — to St. Louis, to San Francisco, to Boston, to Philadelphia, or to wherever — the decision will ultimately rest on his broad shoulders.
The full no-trade provision in Stanton’s contract gives him final say on whatever deal the Marlins are able to work out for him, veto power that puts him in the drivers’ seat.
“He’s got complete power,” said a former front-office executive. “Giancarlo’s running the show.”
Hypothetically, the Marlins could receive four trade offers and Stanton might only accept the one that provides the worst return. Or he could refuse to go anywhere else, choosing instead to remain in Miami and luxuriate in the three-story penthouse he bought there recently.
“I’d say that’s definitely a possibility,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. “That’s why I don’t like to comment on rumors because you never know how things are going to play out.”
Hill said the Marlins have an idea of which teams Stanton would accept in a trade.
It’s all part of the challenge the Marlins have in trying to trade their elite slugger, who led the Majors with 59 home runs last season but comes with a hefty price tag, a $295 million contract most teams are unwilling to touch.
“No-trade clauses are fun the day you sign them,” the former executive said. “But then things like this happen and you’re, ‘Oh [expletive].’”
Now the Marlins, who are trying to cut payroll to about $90 million next season, could have trouble not only finding another team willing to take on all or most of Stanton’s future salary, but also finding one to his liking.
The Cardinals and Giants are thought to be most interested in Stanton. Philadelphia is considered a long shot among teams most often linked to him, as the Phillies are in rebuilding mode and Stanton would prefer to play for a winner.
But does he want to play in either St. Louis or San Francisco? Or Boston?
That decision is Stanton’s, and Stanton’s alone.