Giancarlo Stanton’s agent told me this afternoon he expects Stanton to be here all 13 years of his backloaded contract, which has an opt-out after six seasons, and that Stanton agreed to take a salary well below market value for the next three seasons because he wants to win and wants the Marlins to have enough money to augment the roster.
Meanwhile, the Marlins have told people they plan to dramatically increase payroll by year four of the contract, when Stanton’s salary skyrockets, according to another person briefed on their plans.
Agent Joel Wolfe said Stanton would not have taken the richest contract in baseball history (13 years, $325 million) if the Marlins hadn’t been committed to winning. Stanton also likes living in South Florida, even though he spends part of the offseason in his native Southern California.
Wolfe said Stanton “wanted to know” that the Marlins “were going to create a winning culture.”
And Wolfe said if Stanton “was going to make those kind of demands, he couldn’t rightfully also demand the team pay him his full value [the next three years] and take up 50 to 70 percent of the team’s payroll over the next two or three years. This gave them flexibility, given the state of their current TV deal,” which is among the worst in baseball.
As a result, Stanton agreed to take $6.5 million next season (well below the $13 million he likely would have made in arbitration), $9 million in 2016 and $14.5 million in 2017, according to two sources with direct knowledge.
In seasons four through six of the deal, Stanton will pocket $25 million, $26 million and $26 million. Stanton then has an opt-out clause, after 2020.
The next six years of the contract, after the opt-out, include salaries of $29 million, $32 million in years 8, 9 and 10, $29 million in year 11 and $25 million in year 12. In year 13, the Marlins can pay Stanton $25 million or exercise a $10 million buyout.
But money alone “was not enough,” Wolfe said, adding the 13-year contract was Stanton’s idea.
We hear Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria pitched Stanton and gave him specific details about Loria’s plan to improve the team during a meeting in Los Angeles in the past month.
That plan includes adding another hitter and likely another starting pitcher, among other moves. As noted in this space last month, first basemen Adam LaRoche (.259, 26 homers and 92 RBI last season) is among the Marlins’ free agent targets.
The Marlins also have inquired about high-end free agent starting pitcher James Shields, though it would be surprising if the Marlins could meet his demands, reportedly $20 million a year. And agents for several other quality free agent starters said Tuesday they were expecting to hear from the Marlins.
The Marlins, expecting a payroll in the $60 million range next season, have less than $48 million in projected payroll for 2015, leaving them with at least $12 million to supplement the roster and potentially more if they can dump first baseman Garrett Jones, due $5 million next season, and catcher Jarrod Saltamacchia, due $7 million. The Marlins were disappointed in both Jones and Saltalamacchia last season.
They plan to increase payroll to more than $100 million by 2018 by using the money from what they expect will be a much more lucrative local TV deal.
Their Fox Sports TV deal expires after 2020 and pays the Marlins about $14 million per season. But the Marlins want to restructure and extend that contract in the next couple of years and hope to triple their annual local TV revenue.
Meanwhile, the Marlins have told Christian Yelich’s camp that they intend to make an offer that would extend beyond November 2019, when he’s eligible for free agency. If the money is right, Yelich would be interested, especially because he’s close with Stanton and knows Stanton will be here for a long time.
They’ve also broached an extension with shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who cannot be a free agent until after 2018.
### Besides a no-trade clause, Stanton's contract also includes incentives clauses, such as for winning MVP or making the All-Star team.
### After Philip Wheeler allowed a touchdown pass in the final seconds of the Green Bay game and criticized coaches afterward, one Dolphins player predicted: “He’s done here.”
In his five games since, Wheeler has played 11, 14, 16, 21 and 12 snaps --- the least of any starter.
“I feel I should be playing more but maybe others don’t think so,” Wheeler said. “I don’t know the reason.”
Part of the reason is that the Dolphins are now often playing with only two linebackers, and they far prefer using Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi, who both played every snap against Buffalo.
Because of the way former general manager Jeff Ireland structured Wheeler's contract, the Dolphins would have a $4.2 million 2015 cap hit if they cut or trade Wheeler this offseason, compared with $4.4 million if they keep him.
### Cortland Finnegan said his ankle is feeling a lot better and he hopes to play Sunday. But he didn't practice Tuesday, at least in the two portions open to media, which isn't exactly encouraging... There was a lot of talk today at camp about the fact the Dolphins' longest touchdown play all season has been 21 yards.
## Credit Pat Riley for the Shawne Williams signing when scouts and others were questioning giving the journeyman guaranteed money ($1.4 million).
Williams in fifth in the league in three-point shooting (50.9: 27 for 53). He has lost so much weight (30 pounds) that a bunch of players have done double takes when they see him.
Toronto's “Lou Williams said he didn’t recognize me when they were watching film.”
### Per Elias, Mario Chalmers is the first Heat player other than Dwyane Wade or LeBron James to lead the team in points and assists for three straight games since Shaquille O'Neal in 2005.
### Al Golden correctly points out that UM’s depth doesn’t yet measure up to FSU’s, and he pointed to three positions where that’s the case: running back (UM didn’t want to use Trayone Gray in Gus Edwards’ absence Saturday and isn’t sure what Gray’s longterm position will be), offensive line and linebacker. (Gray did play special teams Saturday.)
### How upset was UM receiver Braxton Berrios about dropping that touchdown pass Saturday? He said he has watched the play more than a dozen times and couldn’t sleep all weekend.
### Go figure: A greater percentage of homes watched UM-FSU in Columbus, Ohio (17.4) than in Miami-Fort Lauderdale (16.2). In between those two cities, ranking No. 2 among major markets, was Jacksonville (17.0).
### UM's Michael Wyche, who coaches thought would be a starter and impact player at defensive tackle, instead spent this season losing weight (365 to 329) and playing limited snaps (13 on Saturday).
“It was a setback,” he said, noting he's determined to be an impact player next season. Golden said Wyche has “come on” but Calvin Heurtelou has distinguished himself most of the defensive tackles.
### Twitter: @flasportsbuzz