The Stanton situation continues to be the predominant theme of the offseason as the Marlins look to move the high-priced outfielder while they begin a rebuilding process under new ownership. Derek Jeter, Miami's new chief executive officer, will address the media on Wednesday as the Owners Meetings begin in Orlando.
The Dodgers have Yasiel Puig and Chris Taylor locked in as starting outfielders in 2018, with Joc Pederson, Enrique Hernandez and top prospect Alex Verdugo among the candidates for the third spot. Verdugo (the Dodgers' No. 2 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com) could be a target for the Marlins, though the Dodgers will likely want Miami to kick in a significant portion of the $295 million remaining on Stanton's contract if they are to part with a top prospect.
Los Angeles dealt prospects Willie Calhoun, A.J. Alexy and Brendon Davis for Yu Darvish at this summer's non-waiver Trade Deadline, but they have several highly regarded prospects remaining to use in a Stanton deal. Their top three prospects -- Walker Buhler, Verdugo and Yadier Alvarez -- are all ranked among MLBPipeline.com's Top 45 overall prospects in the game, while three others are in the Top 100.
Elsewhere on the Stanton front, there were conflicting reports Tuesday regarding Stanton's preferences for potential trade destinations. The Boston Herald cited a source that said Stanton -- who has a full no-trade clause in his contract and is a native of Southern California -- would not accept a deal to either the Red Sox or Cardinals. NBC Sports Boston reported that Stanton has "a completely open mind" on the issue, citing "a person with knowledge of Stanton's thinking."
The Marlins and Giants remain in preliminary trade talks for Stanton, and according to an industry source, outfield prospect Heliot Ramos (the Giants' No. 4 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com) could be part of a deal.
The Stanton saga might not be resolved anytime soon, given the complicated nature of his contractual situation.
"From our standpoint, we want to get an assessment of what the market is and ways to improve our ballclub in a timely fashion," said Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill. "I don't think you ever put a deadline on what you can and can't do, because you're always looking at ways to help yourself get better. … I think we're just trying to be proactive in trying to improve our club."
Will a dragged-out process become a problem for the teams interested in acquiring the reigning MLB home run champion? Keeping an open spot in the outfield could be dangerous as free agents begin to come off the board, not to mention keeping the payroll space clear for Stanton's enormous contract rather than spending in other areas.
"Trades are just complicated in and of themselves," said Yankees GM Brian Cashman, speaking in general terms. "When you're making enormous financial decisions simultaneously, it makes the process that much more complicated. Everything is connected. It's not as simple as going down the buffet line and taking a piece of steak, then a piece of grouper, then vegetable medley and some mashed potatoes. You can't just keep going on as you so choose. It's not that simple."
Cashman recalled the bidding war between the Mets and Astros for Carlos Beltran, who was the jewel of the 2004-05 free-agent market. Beltran didn't sign with the Mets until Jan. 13, leaving Houston scrambling to find a replacement for the All-Star in their lineup.
"Whoever did not get Carlos Beltran, there was no other chair to sit in," Cashman said. "The Mets got him, signed him for a very large number, and Houston held up their entire winter program trying to bring Carlos back. They were left at the altar. That's an example of how one situation played out in years gone by. If you're willing to wait and let it play out or not, it affects probably everything else you might be able to do."
First things first
The first-base crop in this year's free-agent market is deep, and while Eric Hosmer is considered to be the premier player of the group, others such as Carlos Santana, Logan Morrison and Yonder Alonso could provide better value, given their perceived asking prices.
According to a source, Santana has already drawn interest from more than a half-dozen teams, and there's a sense that he could be the first of the bunch to sign. The Red Sox and Angels have reportedly reached out to Santana's agent, while the Mariners are also looming on the horizon.
Brave new world
Alex Anthopoulos spent his first full day as the Braves' new GM at the GM Meetings, declaring his intention to keep manager Brian Snitker and the coaching staff intact for 2018.
"You're not going to see any of that," Anthopoulos said. "The staff is in place, and the work has been done. I want to give everybody an opportunity, too. There is a reason everything was done with the coaching staff and the hires they made. I have all the confidence in the world with those decisions and how they made them."
Anthopoulos pointed to the bullpen and third base as potential areas of need, but he plans to spend at least the next week getting a good feel for the direction Atlanta might take this offseason.
"We want to win, but we want to win over the long term," Anthopoulos said. "So, we're not going to rush things or accelerate things. I need to get a better handle on what the timing might be. But the thought is when we finally get going, we don't stop."
Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.