Retaining Stanton Miami’s priority

MIAMI — Speculation continues that the Marlins may be making front office changes after the season.

But there are strong indications that the club’s top slugger will be part of the team’s plans for 2014.

Sources say Giancarlo Stanton will remain with the Marlins.

Asked if there is any chance Stanton could be traded, a plugged in MLB source said: “I don’t see any scenario.”

Another insider added the Marlins are looking to build around Stanton.

Multiple sources see a likely scenario in which Stanton signs a one-year deal for 2014, mainly because the slugger is keeping his long-term options open. And the Marlins themselves have concerns over the slugger’s durability, because he has missed so much the the past two years.

Stanton, who turns 24 in November, is arbitration-eligible in ’14, and technically the Marlins could sign him on a year-to-year basis through 2016.

Miami is weighing whether to offer Stanton a multi-year contract. Ideally, that is what the club would like to do.

However, because of Stanton’s injury history there are reservations if the back-end base salary years are in the $20 million range.

Stanton played in 123 games in 2012, missing more than a month due to right knee surgery. Still, he pounded out 37 home runs, second most in the National League.

Stanton missed all of May this year with a strained hamstring.

The slugger enters the final weekend having played in 113 games, and he is at 24 home runs.

Few players in the game pose the threat of Stanton. Since there is no urgency to either trade or sign Stanton long-term, the Marlins are prepared to ride out his arbitration years. His arbitration figures to be around $7 million in ’14, which is highly affordable for the Marlins.

Miami’s payroll is expected to remain roughly where it was this year, around $37 million.

The Marlins play in a ballpark that ranks last in the Majors in total home runs. There have been 84 blasts at Marlins Park, and Miami players have just 36 of them. Stanton has 15 of that total.

Stanton may not want to sign a multi-year deal, and he could play out the string in Miami until he is up for free agency.

But for next year, the Marlins are looking to upgrade their offense, and build around Stanton.

If the Marlins are serious about signing Stanton long-term, they should seriously consider moving in the fences.

A couple of days ago, Stanton told about the difficulty of hitting home runs in Miami.

“You love to see scoring, but you love to see home runs as well,” Stanton said. “You don’t see them when you come here — from both sides.”

Stanton estimated he lost about 10 home runs this season due to how tough it is to hit the ball out at Marlins Park.

Because of his size and strength, the slugger has heard from fans and the media that he can hit the ball out anywhere. That may be true, but he also wants to be treated the same as any other hitter.

“I want the normal ones, too,” Stanton said. “Where I don’t have to crush it 500 feet all the time.”

Joe Frisaro

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