Why the Dodgers Should Pass on Giancarlo Stanton

The Dodgers’ interest in MVP and possible trade candidate, Giancarlo Stanton, has many fans excited. They envision adding Stanton to an already solid Dodgers lineup and imagine themselves gazing at mammoth home runs hit over the left field pavilion on a nightly basis.

It’s hard to blame anyone for dreaming about this. Undoubtedly, Stanton is a beast. His 59 dingers last year were the most in baseball since Barry Bonds’ record-setting 73 back in 2001. However, we all know there are many who think that records set by Bonds (as well as marks set by McGwire, Sosa, or anyone else in that era) are tarnished due to PED allegations.

So, you could argue that Stanton’s power display last year was one of the most impressive in MLB history, perhaps only topped by Roger Maris (61 in 1961) and Babe Ruth (60 in 1927.)

Regardless where you place Stanton’s achievement, there’s no doubt he’s a great player. His performance this past season just earned him the N.L. MVP Award. He leads all active MLB players with with one home run every 14.3 at-bats. Also, at only 28 years old, he’s still in his prime.

Who wouldn’t you want a guy like that? Even my counterparts here at Dodgers Nation seemed to have got on board the Stanton train. Well, not to sound too much like the party pooper here, but if it were up to me, I’d prefer the Dodgers pass on Stanton.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. How in the world did the Dodgers lose Games 2 and 5? They had those games in the bag, and if they had just pulled out one of them, the entire series would — oh… you weren’t thinking that? Maybe that’s just me then. Sorry… still having occasional flashbacks. I digress.

Getting back to Stanton, perhaps you’re actually thinking why in the world I wouldn’t want his services on the Dodgers. Let me explain.

That $295 million contract

Obviously, any protest to acquiring Stanton has little to do with him as a player, and more about his hefty contract. Stanton is due $295 million over the next 10 years, and in 2027, he’ll still be getting paid $25 million at the age of 37.

Andrew Friedman, and the rest of the Dodgers front office, has shied away from long term contracts so far during their tenure. Kenley Jansen’s 5-year deal last off-season was the longest one given out under their regime. Taking on a contract as massive and lengthy as Stanton’s doesn’t really fit in with Friedman’s style.

Of course, the Marlins could always pay a portion of the contract in a trade. However, the more salary that Miami remains on the hook for, the more likely it is that the Dodgers would have to include some top prospects in any deal. In other words, the Dodgers will end up paying one way or the other – either in money or in prospects.

Stanton’s health could also be something to consider before any deal. Last year was only the second time in the last six years that he’s played at least 125 games. While it would be a little premature to slap the “injury-prone” label on him, it does raise some concerns.

Other contract particulars

In addition to Stanton’s contract being expensive, it also has a couple of particulars that make it less appealing. For one, Stanton has an opt-out clause which will allow him to become a free agent after the 2020 season. That only gives three guaranteed years of his services.

Perhaps the Dodgers wouldn’t mind if Stanton opts out at that point, or they might even prefer it. Still, Stanton would have control over what happens either way, which is not ideal.

Stanton’s contract also has a full no trade clause, allowing him to veto any deal he doesn’t approve of. That would really limit the Dodgers’ flexibility with him in the future, and they could find themselves in the same situation as the Marlins are currently in, where they’re at the mercy of Stanton’s desires in any negotiations.

The Dodgers’ current outfield is pretty good already

The Dodgers had one of the better offenses in baseball in 2017. Although Stanton’s addition would definitely be a boost, it’s certainly not a necessity. Assuming no other moves are made, the Dodgers will have Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor, Joc Pederson, Andrew Toles, and Alex Verdugo as primary outfield options going into next year.

Sure, there are some questions around a few of those options. Pederson’s career has been filled with ups and downs, and any kind of consistency has eluded him. There’s no way to tell what version of Joc the Dodgers will get next year. Toles is coming off of a serious injury which sidelined him almost all of last year, so his health may be a question mark. Verdugo will be a rookie, albeit a highly touted one, so some might caution expecting too much from him right away.

Even with these questions though, it seems like the Dodgers will have enough options to field a very productive outfield, and the money they would fork out for Stanton could be spent elsewhere. Perhaps to bolster the bullpen. Maybe adding another starting pitcher or two.

Or, if you really want to think big, maybe saving up for even greater things to come…

2018 free agents

This year’s free agent class is nothing great. Next year’s, however, is shaping up to be one of the biggest ever, in terms of top tier players.

Here are just some of the top free agents for the 2018-2019 off-season:

  • Clayton Kershaw (opt-out option)
  • Bryce Harper
  • Manny Machado
  • Josh Donaldson
  • Charlie Blackmon
  • Andrew McCutchen
  • A.J Pollock
  • Daniel Murphy
  • Brian Dozier
  • D.J LeMahieu
  • Adam Jones
  • Dallas Keuchel
  • David Price (opt-out option)
  • Zach Britton
  • Andrew Miller
  • Craig Kimbrel
  • Cody Allen

“Holy Schinkes” you say? Exactly. And that’s only the top 15 or so. This will be one of the deepest free agent classes in recent memory, with many superstar players on the market.

Topping that list is the Dodgers’ own, Clayton Kershaw, who can, and assuredly will, opt-out after next season. It would seem that the Dodgers’ first order of business would be to bring back the best pitcher in the game and that, of course, won’t be cheap.

Moving along down the list, you can pick any number of great players who would be great to see in Dodger blue. Bryce Harper? Manny Machado? Maybe Zach Britton or Andrew Miller? There’s plenty of options, and all of them will cost a pretty penny.

With so much money coming off the books for the Dodgers at the conclusion of the 2018 season, they’ll have some money to play with. Adding a contract like Stanton’s wouldn’t necessarily cripple the Dodgers in free agency, but it could limit them. And if there’s ever a year where you don’t want to be limited, it would be next year.

There’s no doubt that Giancarlo Stanton is a great player with phenomenal power. That said, it might not be in the Dodgers best interest to add a contract like his when you look at everything involved.

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Brian Robitaille

Originally from Southern California, and currently stationed in Northern Virginia, Brian is a devoted Dodgers fan, and has been since he was a kid. He's an Active Duty member of the U.S Air Force, and has been serving for the last 16 years. While he loves all things sports related, and supports all his teams (Lakers, Steelers, L.A Kings, & USC) his true passion is the Dodgers, and loves writing about the boys in blue.


  1. Its a two edged sword, the dodgers can keep him from the giants and add a big bat that will also give better pitches to other players. So you send logan,joc,kinta,and a AA picther to make the deal work.
    You stop the giants from getting him. Your line up is now.
    A to z with pop. Toles,Taylor,Turner, stanton, bellinger,seager,puig,Barnes

  2. I somewhat agree with this article. While trading for Stanton will evaluate the Dodgers offense, our need is the bullpen. Stanton wants to be in LA. If the front office can pull off a trade that robs Miami, then do it. I see three options for a Stanton trade: 1) Pederson, two B/C prospects and absorb that gigantic contract for Stanton, 2) Ryu, Pederson and Verdugo for Stanton plus 10-15 million, and 3) Pederson, Verdugo, Alvarez, and Sheffield for Stanton plus 20-25 million. This front office is pretty crafty and could muster a trade that will benefit LA. However, they shown us in the past that they have a certain threshold to not overcompensate on free agent signings and trade acquisitions. Stanton and LA hold all the cards, lets see how they play their hands.

  3. Honestly, the Dodgers would be stupid to pass on Stanton if Miami is forced to do a bad deal with them due to Stanton’s no trade clause. They could easily force Miami to eat a reasonable portion over the course of his deal say, $45 million over 10 years. This would bring his net down to $25 mil a season averaged out. Considering players like Cespedes (29 mil age 32), Martinez (likely comparable annual salary), and especially Harper next year will earn something in the vicinity of this figure, it should be a no brainer to acquire the NL MVP and place him in front of Bellinger in the heart of the lineup. It would spell death for the NL next year and potentially for years to come. Committing resources now helps stave off uncertainty later in the 2018 offseason which is where it is apparent the Dodgers should really upgrade the bullpen given the names available imo. As for the prospects going the other way, Verdugo makes a lot of sense and honestly with Stanton, he won’t have much of a place to play. However, I could see Pederson being the primary suspect being dealt from the roster instead with a top pitching prospect like Alvarez going back as well and potentially an expiring deal like Kazmir to keep the Dodgers at a reasonable luxury tax threshold for next year. The point is a deal could and ought to be made if it is available. He is clearly on the level of a Bryce Harper, Donaldson, Goldschmidt, Martinez, etc. but the cost to sign on of those guys in FA would be stupendous anyways. Why not bring the socal boy back to LA and doom the NL for potentially years to come?

  4. one other consideration; which players/prospects the Dodgers would have to part with in order to acquire Stanton. Just say no!

  5. Finally someone who is thinking with their head not their heart! Dodgers should be focused on positioning themselves to resigning Kershaw. Thank you Brian for being the voice of reason!

  6. If it is true that Kershaw will opt out next year then it would make sense to trade Kershaw to the Marlins for Stanton. Plus two strong pitching prospects. And Vosquez if assume he can throw after surgury. His risk profile is similar to Darvish. They are rebuilding. Or also Steckenrider looks like a K machine and looks like gives a hit or walk an inning or both but Ks the rest with low HR and low ER vs ip.

    Long and short

    Stanton plus pitching (Steckenrider, Kolek (TJ), Vasquez (TJ)), Cody Poteet (UCLA), Hock(Stanford), or Lillie)
    For Andrew Toles and Kershaw plus minor leauge pitcher to be named later or Dennis Santana.

    Marlins eat little of the contract for Stanton VS other suitors, plus with the TJ we take some risky pitchers.

  7. Stay away from Stanton, if you are going to trade with Miami go after Osuna for grandal,Alvarez are a start.

  8. Exactly!!! 2018 is a huge year. Kershaw should be a priority. Stanton is an attractive glorious addition but you don’t want to be stuck then see him opt out and be gone. Who is going to fill in for him when he taked his injury breaks? Theres alot of promise ahead and Dodgers did great this year. Great reasoning Brian

  9. While I agree that Stanton’s contract can cripple us, I haven’t seen anyone break down what signing a Machado or Harper next year would cost. Is it possible that Stanton’s mega contract becomes more “average” after 2018?
    Can’t imagine those 2 contracts alone being less than 250 mill.

    Like, legit, can someone break down their potential contracts compared to Stanton’s?

  10. Trade for Stanton now! After 2018 outfielders like Harper, Trout will be available but would probably cost more than Stanton now. Kershaw and Stanton are both affordable. After 2018 I believe they rid themselves of McCarthy, Gonzalez, kasmir.
    Not including some of the contracts they rid themselves of this year. So it’s pay me now or pay me MORE later.

  11. Good article. And I agree totally with Mathew. Let Kershaw go. He is now on the downside and why would we tie ourselves to him for the next 7/10 years. We certainly don’t need him to make the playoffs and once there he’s not much of an asset. Go after Harper next year. Same price better player and you don’t give up prospects and players off your roster.

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