Monday's MLB roundup: Stanton agrees to megadeal
Miami — The Marlins are no longer pinching pennies, and Giancarlo Stanton won't be, either.
Stanton agreed to terms with the team Monday on a $325 million, 13-year contract, Miami owner Jeffrey Loria said. It's the most lucrative deal for an American athlete and averages $25 million per season, or $154,321 per game.
The deal includes a no-trade clause, and Stanton can opt out after six years, Loria said. A news conference was planned Wednesday.
"It's a landmark moment for the franchise and Giancarlo, and it's for the city and fans to rally around," Loria said.
Any kind of multiyear deal is a big departure for the Marlins and Loria, whose frugal ways in the past alienated fans, angered the players' union and made the franchise the butt of jokes.
Given such thriftiness, the Marlins' generosity toward Stanton becomes even more stunning. His contract tops the $292 million, 10-year deal Miguel Cabrera agreed to with the Detroit Tigers in March. Alex Rodriguez signed the largest previous deal, a $275 million, 10-year contract with the Yankees before the 2008 season.
Stanton, who turned 25 on Nov. 8, is perhaps the game's most feared slugger. He has 154 career homers despite playing home games in spacious Marlins Park.
"Giancarlo Stanton has come of age, and he's going to be here a long time," Loria said in a phone interview. "It's wonderful to have a young man this caliber, integrity and ability, and I'm very happy."
The Marlins right fielder and centerpiece wasn't due to become eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season, and signing him to a long-term deal was considered a long shot. The Marlins haven't reached the playoffs since 2003, and he was distrustful of the franchise's direction.
Miami's 2014 payroll of $52.3 million was the lowest in the majors. The last time they spent big was before the 2012 season, the first in their new ballpark. Then came a disastrous season and another salary purge, intensifying fan animosity toward Loria.
That sell-off and subsequent roster rebuilding set the stage for the Stanton deal, Loria said.
"Unfortunately people didn't understand that two years ago, we had no choice," the owner said. "I had to get to today."
Loria said he doesn't expect Stanton to opt out when he's 31, and sees a positive side to the no-trade clause.
"There will be no distraction about, 'Will he be traded?'" Loria said.
Stanton's 2014 season ended Sept. 11 when he was hit in the face by a pitch and suffered fractures in his face and other injuries. Despite missing the final 17 games, he led the NL with 37 homers and a .555 slugging percentage for the Marlins, who went 77-85 but ended a three-year streak of last-place finishes in the NL East.
The Marlins have said they're not concerned the injuries will have lingering effects. They made locking up Stanton their top offseason priority and overcame his skepticism about their efforts to fielding a winning team.
The Marlins believe they're poised to contend next year with a young roster than includes right-handers Jose Fernandez and Henderson Alvarez, Gold Glove left fielder Christian Yelich, center fielder Marcell Ozuna and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.
Other deals that will upgrade the roster are planned, Loria said.
"We probably need another bat and could use another starting pitcher," Loria said. "We're going to work on it."
Stanton made a team-high $6.5 million in 2014. The two-time All-Star right fielder recently won the NL Hank Aaron Award and was voted the NL's outstanding player in balloting by his fellow major leaguers. He won a Silver Slugger Award and finished second to Clayton Kershaw in NL MVP voting.
Stanton likes to travel in the offseason and spend time in his native California. But he attended the Miami Hurricanes' home football game Saturday against Florida State, and now he'll be staying in town for a new conference.
Around the horn
The Braves dealt outfielder Jason Heyward and reliever Jordan Walden to the Cardinals day for pitcher Shelby Miller and a minor-leaguer.
John Hart, the Braves' new general manager, signaled the start of a major overhaul. He dealt a player who was due to make $7.8 million next season and then become eligible for free agency.
"It's very difficult to trade Jason Heyward," said Hart, the Braves' new general manager. "But the deal was made to help us not only in the short term but the long term."
The NL Central champion Cardinals felt compelled to pursue Heyward after top prospect Oscar Taveras was killed in a car crash last month in the Dominican Republic.
... Free-agent catcher Russell Martin agreed to terms with the Blue Jays on a five-year, $82 million contract.
Martin hit .290 with a .402 on-base percentage in 2014. The Pirates signed him to a two-year, $17 million contract after the 2012 season. The Pirates will receive a compensatory draft pick.