Cardinals reportedly facing uphill battle to land Giancarlo Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton accepting a trade to the Cardinals is a longshot, according to reports. (AP)

We’ve reached the semi-serious stage in the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes now that the Marlins have given representatives from the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals an opportunity to meet with Stanton’s agents. Things are expected to really pick up at the Winter Meetings beginning on Dec. 10 in Orlando. Until then, we can only examine the few clues we have that might tip off where Stanton is headed.

With that in mind, things aren’t looking so promising for the Cardinals. Despite being one of two teams in serious discussions to acquire Stanton, they have one major hurdle to clear. That being Stanton’s approval.

Because he has a full no-trade clause, Stanton can say no to anyone, and based on rumblings FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman is hearing, it’s not likely he would approve a deal to St. Louis.

Here’s an excerpt from his Saturday report:

While Stanton himself has said nothing aloud about his desires, beyond his interview here at FanRag and elsewhere that he has no desire to endure another rebuild in Miami, which is obviously what’s happening there, others with connections to the 2017 N.L. MVP have a strong belief St. Louis will not be his first choice – and he obviously has choices.

One person said he “didn’t see any way” he’d accept the Cardinals but added the disqualifier that he can’t say he knows for sure. Another opined that he’d “100 percent” take the Giants over the Cardinals if that’s the choice, and yet another suggested the Midwest, behind the most preferred West Coast and East Coast, is his “last choice.”

Two others who have some familiarity with the situation gave similar responses. Of course, none of them know for sure (as one pointed out), a lot can change, possibly depending on the presentations. The mere fact that Stanton agreed to have his people meet with the Cardinals has to be taken as a positive sign (no one has said yet whether Stanton himself, who lives in the Hollywood Hills, is in these meetings).

As always, it’s important to note these reports are not set in stone. Heyman made that clear in his writing, noting that even his sources closest to the situation aren’t one-hundred percent certain of anything. In fact, there’s already been a report from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale that would seem to conflict with Heyman’s sources.

Saying no to the Cardinals would fall in line with Stanton’s reported desires to play on the east or west coast. Unless that feeling changes, or the Cardinals relocate in the next two weeks, it’s going to be a tough sell. That doesn’t mean they should stop selling though. Even if Stanton is leaning no now, he could always change his mind if other desirable options don’t reach go through.

It does appear to be a longshot though. And since the Marlins are reportedly more concerned about cutting payroll than gaining prospects, the Cardinals can’t hang their hat on what figures to be a solid return package. The Marlins might not be all that motivated to continue talking with St. Louis if Stanton’s interest in them isn’t high.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the Giants are in the driver’s seat either. They’re in better position certainly than St. Louis and maybe even 25 other teams. But the Dodgers are still looming and it wouldn’t be shocking if an unexpected team made things interesting. Time will tell, but this sweepstakes is definitely a long way from over.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!