Plan A has been crumpled up and thrown in the garbage, or is part of a document that will never be updated again, or some other metaphor that might apply in this situation. It’s over. The Cardinals will not be trading for Giancarlo Stanton this winter.
UPDATE: He’s going to the Yankees, per Jon Heyman.
The Cardinals issued a press release with quotes from Bil DeWitt, Jr. and John Mozeliak. Relevant part below:
“We had an agreement to acquire Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins, subject to him waiving his no-trade clause. We have been notified that he will not waive his no-trade clause to come to St. Louis. While we are disappointed in his decision, we will continue to make every effort to improve our club for the upcoming season,” said DeWitt.
“Unfortunately, we were not able to convince Stanton to waive his no-trade clause and join the Cardinals. We felt this was a great landing spot for him, but it was not meant to be,” said Mozeliak
The Cardinals were able to convince the Marlins to give up Stanton. They were willing to pick up around $250 million of Stanton’s remaining contract, per Derrick Goold. Feel free to queue up the Cardinals finishing second complaints, although this wasn’t a typical free agent acquisition. Giancarlo Stanton earned the right to choose his next destination or stay in his current one, and absent offering Stanton more money, which wouldn’t make a lot of sense, there wasn’t much more the Cardinals could have done in this situation.
The Cardinals have failed to execute their preferred plan in what is now their third straight offseason. Plan B in the previous two seasons has been rather lackluster. There are still other options, good options, that the Cardinals can pursue. Those options now have more urgency. The Cardinals were willing to be the highest bid for Giancarlo Stanton. Being the highest bid for Eric Hosmer or a trade for Evan Longoria isn’t going to move the needle this offseason. Plan B needs to stand for Bigger.*
I advocated earlier this week for Christian Yelich.
Christian Yelich is not Giancarlo Stanton, but he is a great talent and an incredibly talented ballplayer. Regardless of what position he played, he would provide an upgrade for the Cardinals on defense without making sacrifices to infield defense. He would improve the offense and make the team younger (he’s a year younger than Stephen Piscotty). If the Cardinals miss out on Stanton, Yelich is the best hope they have of making the team better now and into the future.
Earlier in the offseason, I actually went a step further and stated my preference for Yelich over Stanton:
Honestly, I would prefer the Cardinals trade for Christian Yelich. He’s younger, nearly as good and has a much better contract, but Yelich might not be available and he would be more expensive in terms of prospects.
We don’t yet know if the Marlins are still going to move Stanton or if Christian Yelich is available. It would behoove the Cardinals to make the Marlins make Christian Yelich available. They went past their so-called “puke point” for Stanton, and they are likely going to have to do it again to get substantially better this offseason. There are opportunities out there and the team will need explore them all and likely execute on several of them.
For now, not getting Stanton to St. Louis is a major blow for a Cardinals team in need of a major upgrade. The front office doesn’t have a ton of time to respond with the Winter Meetings starting next week.