Accountability, trust. These are ideas that seemed to have escaped the Marlins organization in the past. But that perception now is also in the past.
Giancarlo Stanton, in signing his $325M megadeal, admitted that the past was not the reason why he signed. It was for the road ahead. Dan Jennings was recently interviewed on MLBTV’s High Heat and had some notable things to say in regards to accountability and trust. He likened the deal to a marriage; that both elements are necessary to make a viable union. The Marlins are to hold up their end of the deal in surrounding Stanton with the talent to win. This accountability, Jennings said, is found in the structure of the contract.
“There’s a level of accountability that goes both ways, and I think it is healthy for us, the organization, and it’s certainly healthy for Giancarlo the player.”
If one considers the contract, it is hardly an albatross that many would like it to be. Stanton does not get a raise next year in 2015 and still only counts for $6.5M. That number rises to $9M in 2016 then to $14.5M in 2017. Those are hardly break-the-bank numbers for a power hitter entering his prime years at ages 26, 27, and 28. Consider also that Stanton has a no-trade clause; so he controls his own destiny. He also has the opt-out waiting after year 6 in 2020. The Marlins obviously believe in Stanton’s immense talents but they also get those first three seasons at what could be a bargain. Both sides have to trust in each other and Stanton’s willingness to defer money to later years shows an understanding of the plan.
The Marlins do not have the revenue to venture out and sign big-named free agents. At least, not yet. The plan is to give naming rights to a sponsor to help raise revenue while also looking to get a better TV deal since they have arguably the worst in all of professional sports with $14M-18M a season coming in. That contract with Fox Sports, by the way, ends in 2020.
Teams are not guaranteed success with their payroll amount. That said, successful teams rarely have a player making over 17% of the total. Stanton’s numbers also assure that the Marlins expect to grow their payroll numbers moving forward, which also syncs with their vision of future revenue projections expanding.
This is about a growth mindset. The Marlins organization have taken an approach to building a sustainable winner, which means developing from within. They want to draft the talent and grow it as an organization. This is the same message that Stanton reiterated that one of the reasons he re-signed was also due to the fact that the clubhouse feels different. There are a lot of guys that were brought in and developed here, together. They have a thing.
Consider also the loud drum that seems to be constantly banged these days about paying college athletes to play. One of the major issues that gets overlooked is that the NFL and the NBA get their player development done mostly for free – on the dimes of taxpayers and college students whose tuition covers the cost of those prestigious programs. MLB continues to draft every year, and send these prospects to be developed on the owners’ dime in the hopes of one day turning into a Stanton. The other advantage is, you develop a culture and a system for winning. You play the game the “Marlins’ Way”. It is this growth mindset, this possibility for greatness moving forward, that has this Marlins team on the rise. It is this very reason that Stanton signed and it is this very reason that fans will start coming back.