Could fences be attached to Stanton deal?

MIAMI — The numbers are staggering, and if finalized, would be historic. The latest is the Marlins are closing in on a benchmark contract extension with Giancarlo Stanton. The sides reportedly are nearing agreement on a 13-year, $325 million contract.

If accepted, Stanton would become the highest paid athlete ever, topping the $292 million extension Miguel Cabrera signed with the Tigers.

When the particulars are known, we’ll find out if there are strings attached, such as a no-trade clause or an opt-out provision.

Something else to look for is whether there is a stadium attached. Or more specifically, the fences at spacious Marlins Park.

Although Stanton won the National League home run crown with 37, he’s spoken out publicly in the past about just how spacious Miami’s retractable-roof building is. He’s advocated moving the fences in, not just to pad his numbers, but to reward hitters in general.

Already the Marlins are in unchartered waters. Quite frankly, the club was prepared to offer Stanton no more than five or six years at a figure that could have rivaled Mike Trout’s $144.5 million.

Now, the years being reported, and not refuted, are more than a decade, and the salary is north of $300 million.

For players, Marlins Park is a terrific place to play, and the fan experience is excellent. The downfall, at least to position players, is the field is way to spacious.

If the Marlins are committed to securing Stanton for the next 10 years, they will be locking up the game’s most feared power hitter. It would make sense for both sides to pull in the fences to give the slugger a better set off the 72-foot Home Run sculpture in center field.

An unanswered question is whether the stadium dimensions are part of the negotiations. Perhaps the fences were addressed, either directly as a clause to the contract, or just an assurance that they will be move in over time.

Stanton already has 154 career homers. If he stays for the next 10 years, he could become a historical player, reaching milestones, which inevitably would generate more interest and attention.

Also, having Stanton as their centerpiece also could attract other power hitters to want to be in Miami. If the ballpark is more hitter-friendly, Stanton could be the franchise’s best recruiter.

When the dust settles and exact salary figures are releases, we may also eventually see the wall that sports the 418 foot marker in center field pushed up a bit.

Joe Frisaro

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