Not saying”I told you so” but – I told you so.
There are very few things that this could be compared to. Perhaps when the Heat pulled off the historical deal when they landed Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Lebron James in the 2010 offseason. Maybe this is even bigger than winning the World Series in ’97 or 2003.
What the Marlins just did was game-changing, franchise-changing, and damn near impossible to believe. Yet, to the few of us true believers out here, it was just a confirmation of faith.
Say what you will about the most polarizing figure in south Florida sports history – and arguably one of the most vilified in the modern era – but Jeffrey Loria shined up his game and made his franchise a legit contender.
Sure, they will be working with a shoestring budget initially. The payroll budget sits at a modest $60M this upcoming season but that will change eventually. No, not any time soon – the Marlins have one of the worst TV contracts in all of sports, getting only $18M a season until 2020. Yet, with Giancarlo Stanton guaranteed to be around every day during the season, for the next 13 years, ticket sales will be very strong.
One of the reasons why Giancarlo should have been the real NL MVP was because of his effect on the game. He has a chance to play everyday, not every fifth day and the chance for him to impact a game far outweighs something a pitcher can fathom. Stanton changes lineups, he forces teams to change approaches. His power singlehandedly made the Marlins wild card contenders.
Stanton’s impact on the game exceeds the temporal bounds of each 9 innings he plays. He has an effect on the league. If you watched him at the home run derby during the all-star game, players gathered around just to see him take BP; something fans in Miami can do before every game. Stanton literally made his peers giddy as they stared in disbelief at his towering shots. We get to see this for the rest of his career.
With 154 home runs already in his young career, Stanton, at all of age 25, has the franchise record in sight – and with ease. He is currently tied with Dan Uggla, but that won’t last long. In fact, the question remains, will he not only set and keep the franchise record but will he also be approaching historic figures where he could set the all-time mark? We get to see his attempt at immortality now in Miami.
Jeffrey Loria knows a good thing when he sees it. The question has always been, could he get out of the way of himself. For the past few years, he has turned down the volume and shifted the focus onto his team and this organization. The same guy who brought Joe Girardi to town, chased him away. The same guy who traded away talented players to get talent in return – and then help them pack – has finally stopped the bleeding. The memory of Miguel Cabrera is still too fresh in our minds. There has never been a hitter as good as Cabrera in modern history and the Marlins let him get away for next to nothing. It wasn’t always fated though as Cabrera started to show signs of degradation – he gained a tremendous amount of weight, became an alcoholic, and needed personal help. He was a mess, and the Marlins were not feeling positive about giving him a long term contract with no stadium revenue in sight (and a horrible TV contract renewed by then-owner, John Henry).
So we, the beleaguered members of MarlinsNation, have finally seen our time come. We have endured the highs of winning championships to the lows of fire sales and massive trades. We have ignored the threats of contraction and looked forward to the day we would finally have a baseball-only home. We were stunned at the $100M plus payroll on Opening Day, 2012. We were equally as stunned as the team was broken down almost immediately that very season. Few felt the trade with the Blue Jays was a good one; there was a lot of anger and confusion. Giancarlo Stanton may have best represented our fan base with his now infamous tweet.
But now, Stanton has just signed the most lucrative deal in sports history. We are all in disbelief. Even though yours truly had been hinting at this getting done, it was through a vague and non-empirical mode of feeling peppered by hope that we foresaw this happening. It’s almost laughable but a 10 year deal for $200M was what we thought would get it done. Turned out a lot more was needed.
Giancarlo Stanton is the perfect fit for this franchise. He is likeable, dedicated, charming, suave, and imposing. He is also multi-racial, in a town where that sort of thing has a tendency to be overlooked and made to feel welcome. Giancarlo Stanton now will shift from an everyday RF for this franchise to becoming an ambassador not only for the Miami Marlins, but for the game of baseball. He has the talent to be a once-in-a-lifetime hitter and we get to be spoiled by seeing him every day for the foreseeable future.
It’s time to take your hat off and do the unthinkable. It’s time to salute Jeffrey Loria and this franchise for creating a plan and a vision and delivering on it.
It could have been very easy to let Stanton go or at the very least sign him to market-value for the remainder of his years here and ship him off for a boatload of prospects. You could argue that the franchise would be ok as they would rebuild around Christian Yelich and Marcel Ozuna. Yet, this was never in the cards. The Marlins traded away Jake Marisnick because they wanted to send a message that this is the line in the sand; now is the time to make their move and to dedicate themselves to winning. With the Stanton deal, the Marlins made a clear demarcation – this franchise will matter.
And we get to see it matter for a very long time.
Welcome back to Miami, Giancarlo. We are very glad you are going to be around for awhile.
And thank you, Jeffrey Loria for having the wisdom to realize what was needed here to make this franchise matter again.
And hello MLB. Maybe you forgot about this franchise. Maybe you continue to refer to us as the “Florida” Marlins. You’ll never make that mistake again.