Giancarlo Stanton is on the verge of becoming not just MLB's next super-rich slugger, but the player due the single biggest contract in MLB history. The Miami Marlins outfielder, name-switcher, and dinger-smasher extraordinaire will likely sign on his line of the rumored 13 year, $325 million contract at some point in the next few days, and that's got Yahoo's Mark Townsend wondering which young MLB current/future star is next on the list to stake a very large claim to the very large billions flowing into baseball's coffers.
It's an interesting exercise since so many of baseball's young and talented have been locked up already. Townsend mentions Chris Sale and Madison Bumgarner, for instance, both of whom have inked early contracts for guaranteed tens of millions, putting them in the same category as guys like Matt Moore, Mike Trout, and Paul Goldschmidt who have opted for minor-mega-contracts and lifetime security over potential bank-breaking deals. Couple that with the iffy early returns on the superdeals signed by the likes of Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Joe Mauer, Joey Votto (/ducks), Mark Teixeira, and others, and there's not exactly a shining beacon of future megarichity sitting out there waiting to be buried in cash.
So, since Saturday nights in November are prime times to talk baseball economics, who do you think gets MLB's next contract that dwarfs those from every other major North American sport? Matt Harvey and his recently reconstructed elbow? Anthony Rendon after his breakout 2014 campaign?
What if Yasiel Puig hits .330 with 30 dingers next year? Would the Dodgers go nuts to give him all the money they can spare?
More than anything, I'll be watching to see exactly how much advanced metrics play into the future of contract negotiations, and there'll be a very visible case on display soon as Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward heads into his final season under contract. Heyward's a 25 year old - merely three months older than Stanton - and the dynamic Atlanta defender has all the makings to become another one of baseball's payroll royalty. Heyward has accrued 24.5 bWAR in his career to this point (which outpaces Stanton's 21.2), has hit 27 dingers in a season, has posted a full-season OBP as high as .393, and has proven to be one of baseball's elite defenders regardless of position, meaning he's provided enough versatility for certain measurements to appreciate his abilities even more so than those of his NL East comptetitor.
But does defense compare favorably to the ability to mash dingers? Can Heyward's glove bring in dollars the way Stanton's bat blasts them apart? If I knew, I'd be representing them, cashing checks, and buying multiple sky boxes at GABP for the Red Reporter contingent. What I do know is that the recent demand for minds like Andrew Friedman makes me think that kind of thing will carry greater weight in the future, and Heyward may be in line to benefit from this dollar influx as much as anyone.
What say you?