ORLANDO, Fla. -- If the Miami Marlins want to trade Giancarlo Stanton, they have MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's blessing.
Manfred said Thursday that the Marlins' new ownership group, headed by chairman Bruce Sherman and CEO Derek Jeter, should be allowed to make the decisions it thinks are best for the franchise, and he hopes fans afford Jeter & Co. the opportunity to explain and fulfill their vision.
That includes potentially trading Stanton, who led the majors with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs in 2017. The idea of moving arguably the best player in franchise history is an unpopular one with large segments of the fan base.
"It's important for new owners to come in, evaluate the state of their franchise, decide where they think they're headed long term and kind of write with a clean slate," Manfred said.
"It's unfair, really, to criticize a decision -- if it turns out to be the decision -- to move a player who has a contract that somebody else negotiated."
Stanton's fate has become one of the central storylines of baseball's offseason, particularly at the GM and owners' meetings in recent days at the Waldorf Astoria luxury hotel, where Manfred spoke to conclude the week's agenda.
The Marlins, led by previous owner Jeffrey Loria and president David Samson, signed Stanton to a 13-year, $325 million contract in November 2014. His salary balloons to $25 million in 2018, and he is owed $295 million over the next decade. The Marlins have reportedly spoken with at least eight teams about moving the slugger.
As the Jeter regime starts to reshape the Marlins' roster and get the club's finances in order, moving Stanton and others are strong possibilities.
"New management often comes in with an idea of how best to put the best product on the field," Manfred said. "And I hope that the fans in Miami, whatever decisions are made, give Bruce and Derek an opportunity to show what their plan for moving that franchise forward is."
Sherman and Jeter made their major league debuts of sorts this week, attending as Miami bosses their first owners' meetings, which MLB holds four times per year in cities across the country.
Jeter, speaking to a throng of reporters Wednesday, said he has not spoken to Stanton but will "if there's a reason." Sherman declined an interview request from the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
A month and a half after the $1.2 billion sale of the team was finalized, Manfred said the league is pleased with how it all went down.
He expressed some frustration at points during the season as the sale dragged on -- reports started up in earnest before spring training and the sale was completed the day after the Marlins' season ended, with many twists and turns along the way -- but the ends seem to justify the means.
"I like the price. I like the new owners that we got. I like them a lot. I think they're going to be great for Miami," Manfred said. "Whatever little hiccups there may have been along the way -- every process has its issues -- I think the outcome is outstanding. Strong indication of the value of our franchises. I think Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter are the right people to move that franchise forward."
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