Manfred likes Miami market, Stanton representing game

Manfred likes Miami market, Stanton representing game

JUPITER, Fla. -- In the eyes of Major League Baseball, Miami is a market on the rise, and Giancarlo Stanton is one of the faces of the game. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred reaffirmed both positions during his visit to the Marlins' Spring Training complex on Tuesday.

Covering a wide range of topics, Manfred repeated the importance of South Florida as a gateway to the Caribbean. In Stanton, the organization has one of the most marketable players in the game.

"I think we have a group of young players -- and Giancarlo is one of them -- that are tremendously appealing because of their amazing abilities on the field, and the type of human beings they are off the field. I think the quality of that young talent -- and the quality of the human beings in that group -- gives baseball a tremendous opportunity to grow the game," Manfred said.

MLB is as committed as ever to raising the profile of its players.

"If you said to me, 'Do you have a list of five priorities?' I think increasing the profile of some of our young stars would be in that top five," the Commissioner said. "I think it's really important for the future of the game. I think it's important with attracting young fans into the game."

The Marlins made one of the biggest offseason deals in the sport, signing Stanton to a record-setting 13-year, $325 million contract.

"I see the contract as a sign of the current ownership's commitment to Miami," Manfred said. "I see Miami as a really, really important market for us, in terms of expanding the game into Latin America. I see it as a positive on both fronts."

Other topics the Commissioner addressed included:
• Stanton ($325 million) facing Washington's Max Scherzer ($210 million) on Tuesday: "I think numbers like that on players contracts, I see that as a reflection of the health of the game, in terms of the revenues that are generated. Obviously, players get paid that because it's consistent with the revenues that are being generated in the game. I see it as a sign of health."

• On the World Baseball Classic: "The World Baseball Classic is a great event. One of the things we're going to focus on going forward is we're going to play as many of those games as we possibly can -- consistent with travel, economics and all those issues -- offshore. The reason I'm interested is it just gives you an opportunity to play games somewhere where they don't have games, as opposed to doing them in Florida or Arizona where they're already playing Spring Training."

• On possibility of an international Draft: "I actually think an international Draft would be a positive in terms of the international development of the game."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.