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Where Should Giancarlo Go?

Will the Marlins' new owners trade Giancarlo Stanton and his $295 million contract? As the hot stove fires up, where the slugger plays in 2018 is already a hot topic. We pick the best landing spot for the 2017 home run champ.

By Dan Szymborski
Chicago White Sox Why it could work While the White Sox are still in the middle of a rebuilding phase, bringing in Stanton would be a long-term play, not a short-term rental, and he'd be good enough to be part of the core for the next good White Sox team. Eloy Jimenez is looking like a stud in one of the outfield corners, but Luis Robert could still stick as a center fielder and Blake Rutherford, while highly intriguing, is still no sure thing until his bat starts to develop. Why it won't work The prospects that the White Sox would likely have to give up would also be crippling to the franchise as it tries to build a core around Stanton. The White Sox have never been the spenders that their cross-town rival, the Cubs, have been, and as the team's prospects develops, that's a lot less money to fill the holes that inevitably arise.

ZiPS projections for 2018-27
Los Angeles Angels Why it could work It would be a waste to pay top dollar to have Mike Trout in his prime, sign Justin Upton to an extension and then have a 70-win team around them. The Angels can wait to spend obscene amounts of cash on Manny Machado or Bryce Harper after next season, but if you manage to pull off a trade for Stanton, then you have Stanton, not an uncertain bidding war for your desired free agent. With what the Angels have invested in the roster, it's best to get Stanton -- the sure thing -- added now. Why it won't work The Angels already have one of the best outfields with Upton, Trout, and Kole Calhoun, all signed long-term. The Angels have a lot of areas on the roster that are nowhere near the best around, so adding Stanton could be redundant, and he doesn't strengthen one of the Angels many weak spots. While Stanton could displace Albert Pujols as the designated hitter, the Angels have shown little inclination to admit defeat and cut bait with the former Cardinals star, one of the biggest free-agent disasters in baseball history. There's also the issue of the Angels' weak farm system, which means they can offer the Marlins little more than financial breathing room.

ZiPS projections 2018-27
Houston Astros Why it could work Teams that win the World Series have a tendency to embrace excess conservatism in the roster and are content to try to "keep the band together" rather than fight to defend the ring with the same vigor with which they won it in the first place. Carlos Beltran is retiring and there's nobody in the system or available on the market who is anywhere near as interesting as Stanton, who could take a corner outfield spot or a DH role. Why it won't work The Astros didn't get to the World Series by absorbing a bunch of big-money deals, and to throw away some of their carefully cultivated minor league depth could be seen as a betrayal of the very strategy that led to their successful rebuild. Dallas Keuchel is a free agent after 2018, Jose Altuve and Collin McHugh after 2019, and the team needs to start exploring a long-term deal for Carlos Correa. The Astros haven't given any indication of running a payroll on the level of the Dodgers or Yankees, so they have bigger priorities than trying to land Stanton.

ZiPS projections 2018-27
Philadelphia Phillies Why it could work Philadelphia's rebuild has been going swimmingly, and like the Cubs during their rebuilding, the team's market size and television contract reflect a team that's choosing not to spend based on where the team is in the success cycle, rather than a team that's just pinching pennies until their knuckles turn white. When the Phillies are ready to compete, they'll be willing to spend big for the players they want and could still afford to bring in a Bryce Harper for the other outfielder corner while paying Stanton. Why it won't work Besides the likely cost in prospects, there's no guarantee Stanton will even be around for the team's peak years given his opt-out after 2020. If the Phillies gave up significant parts of their future just to get one or two years of Stanton contributing to a winning team, it would be a major disaster for the organization and undo years of careful rebuilding.

ZiPS projections 2018-27
St. Louis Cardinals Why it could work St. Louis is one of the most careful of the contending teams in the majors, rarely taking big risks on giant contracts, most notably reflected in their refusal to give Albert Pujols anywhere near what the Angels offered -- a decision that turned out to be a great one. But if you're in a division with the Chicago Cubs at their best, at some point you do have to take that big risk or else possibly end up entering future seasons competing for the wild-card spots rather than the division crown. Why it won't work Tommy Pham in one corner was a serious MVP candidate and the team wants to move Dexter Fowler to right field. While Fowler is not the hitter Stanton is by any means, he's coming off an .851 OPS and is signed to a reasonable deal that runs through the 2021 season. Any Cardinals trade for Stanton would probably include Jack Flaherty or Luke Weaver, the team's needed reinforcements for the departed Mike Leake, Lance Lynn (a free agent) and the rapidly aging Adam Wainwright. The Stanton of Pitching would be a better big add for the Cards than The Stanton of Reality.

ZiPS projections 2018-27
Los Angeles Dodgers Why it could work The Dodgers fell just one game short of winning their first World Series since 1988, so it's highly unlikely that the team will be guilty of any indolence while they improve their roster for 2018. Stanton is the single-largest improvement that any team can make this offseason that's not grounded in mythical trades for Mike Trout or Max Scherzer. There will be $75 million in guaranteed cash that comes off the books this offseason, so the team easily has the funds for a Stanton. Why it won't work Even with Cody Bellinger moving back to first, Yasiel Puig's 2017 resurgence and the presence of Chris Taylor, Joc Pederson -- and eventually Alex Verdugo in the outfield -- means that there's simply no pressing need for Stanton on the roster. The team just won 104 games and returns practically its entire roster, making Stanton more of a want than a need, and this Dodgers front office isn't inclined to trade top young talent for simple wants.

ZiPS projections 2018-27
New York Yankees Why it could work Brett Gardner is not getting any younger and despite finishing second in the AL in runs scored, DH was a major weakness for the Yankees in 2017, as the team's DHs combined to hit only .235/.327/.429 for the year. The Yankees made several adds during the season without giving up their more desired prospects and do have the depth to trade from a position of strength. And wouldn't it be fun to see if Stanton and Aaron Judge can hit 100 homers combined in a year by themselves? Why it won't work The Yankees have extra room on their payroll in large part because older contracts -- such as the ill-conceived Alex Rodriguez extension -- are finally ending. They shouldn't be in a hurry to add another extremely expensive long-term contract. The 2017 Yankees competed a little differently than past teams, as they received far more production from inexpensive, homegrown players than any successful Yankee team since the early days of Derek, Bernie, Andy and Jorge. The Bronx Bombers may simply duke it out for next year's top free agents rather than give up top prospects.

ZiPS projections 2018-27
Boston Red Sox Why it could work The team sorely missed David Ortiz's presence in the middle of the lineup last season, finishing the season a respectable fifth-place in on-base percentage but 14th in slugging percentage at .407 and dead last in the AL with 168 homers. And how many players hit for a high slugging percentage and homer tally better than Stanton does? Dave Dombrowski's made this kind of franchise-altering slugger acquisition in the past, with Miguel Cabrera, so it wouldn't be out of character. Why it won't work Here's an issue: Not a single Red Sox player under 30 is locked up past the 2019 season. That, and several key players are hitting arbitration for the first time (most notably Mookie Betts, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Jackie Bradley Jr.), so the team doesn't have as much payroll flexibility as it seems to add a contract of Stanton's size. Boston has a need for power, but it also has bigger fish to fry.

ZiPS projections 2018-27
Chicago Cubs Why it could work Kyle Schwarber has unlimited power potential, but the Cubs are a team of now these days rather than the rapidly rising upstarts of 2014 and 2015. Schwarber's injury-ruined 2016 and weak 2017 make him less intriguing for a risk-averse team. The Cubs have shown a willingness to deal top talent when necessary to fill needs, trading elite prospects for Wade Davis and Aroldis Chapman. Plus, there's the side benefit of denying Stanton from the Cardinals. Why it won't work The Cubs finished second in the NL in runs scored despite a pedestrian outfield in 2017 and have reasonable expectations of improvement from Schwarber and Albert Almora Jr., so they may not see adding Stanton as urgent as the short-term need for shutdown closers in their past two playoff runs. Besides, pitching is more on the team's mind because of a rotation letdown after their stunning 2016 performances, and Jake Arrieta and John Lackey need to be replaced.

Plus, there's one team with a far more compelling need in the outfield.

ZiPS projections 2018-27
San Francisco Giants Our pick as the most logical new home for Stanton is ... The Giants. They need to go all-in and bring the 2017 NL MVP to the Bay Area. Given that the Giants are not committed to rebuilding and have a core that's going to age out of relevance after another few years -- if they're serious about 2018 and beyond -- it's time to go big or go home. Push all the chips. Play all their cards. Put the pedal to the metal, or use any other 1,470 idioms to make this point.

The team's left fielders combined for a .666 OPS in 2017. The right fielders were barely better, at .671. Stanton is the greatest possible improvement for the outfield of one of the worst teams in need of the largest jolt in the arm. Get it done or give up the ghost.

The Giants failed to win their traditional even-year World Series in 2016. If there's any chance to do so, it's time to reclaim that tradition in 2018 by starting a new tradition: acquiring an odd-year MVP. The last time the Giants went all-in on a megastar after his age-27 season? That Barry Bonds guy.

ZiPS projections 2018-27 Illustrations by Brian Konnick