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Early offseason inferences: Lots of money, lots of trades?

Looming Giancarlo Stanton megadeal suggests even the unusual suspects have spending power

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

When Victor Martinez signed his four-year, $68 million deal with the Tigers ... yes, everybody thought it was a lot of money, but everybody thought Martinez had Mike Ilitch and Dave Dombrowski over a barrel. They're in win-now mode until their increasingly expensive core overwhelms the front office's ability to build an effective-enough roster around it.

But then you see the Marlins -- the Marlins! -- working on a  reported  13-year, $325 million deal for Giancarlo Stanton, and maybe everybody has more money than everybody thinks.

Of course, this is the Marlins we're talking about. That club's front office signed Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes for $164 million, and traded them after paying just $16 million of it. Chris Cotillo's sources say Stanton could have an opt-out clause in 2019, and the Marlins' historical fear of commitment makes it seems like there has to be some way they wouldn't see it all the way through.


Along with the sheer spending, USA Today's Bob Nightengale says general managers are expecting the winter to turn into a swap meet.

"I think it's going to be an active trade market," Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says. "There's a lot of aggressive conversations going on. It seems like there's a lot of teams looking to change their clubs."

"I expect it will be a pretty busy trade season," Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels says, "because the free agent market has areas that are really lacking. It pushes teams toward the trade table."

The Diamondbacks and Rays made such a deal on Friday, with Tampa Bay sending Jeremy Hellickson to Arizona for low-minors prospects Justin Williams and Andrew Velazquez.

The move itself doesn't shift tectonic plates, but it's the first deal for new guys in charge (Dave Stewart for Arizona, Matthew Silverman for Tampa Bay), and while it made sense for the Rays to move the arb-eligible, post-surgery Hellickson, it's not a particularly intuitive move for the Diamondbacks. They could use depth, since injuries destroyed a deep on-paper rotation last year, but it doesn't seem like Hellickson is the best of bets to provide it.

The Diamondbacks could be one of the offseason's more active teams -- a new front office is there to presumably make some changes, and they have areas of need and areas of depth. If Kevin Towers were still in charge, one might call them ripe for the picking (see the Adam Eaton trade last year). The combination of Stewart and Tony La Russa in the front office is an odd one, though, so maybe they'll still have some weird trades in store.


Also on Friday, Dombrowski said he told Torii Hunter they wouldn't be able to fit him into their plans after the Martinez signing. If Kenny Williams were GM, you could've probably penciled him into a corner spot at U.S. Cellular Field for 2015 already.