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Marlins to offer Giancarlo Stanton franchise-record contract

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The Marlins are prepared to offer Giancarlo Stanton a franchise-record contract -- upwards of $300 million -- to keep the MVP-caliber slugger in Miami.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins are prepared to offer Giancarlo Stanton, the National League leader in home runs (37) and RBIs (105), the largest deal in franchise history, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Stanton, the surefire MVP if not for Sandy Koufax Clayton Kershaw, is under team control until 2016, but the Marlins reportedly intend on locking up the Ruthian slugger long before then. Word is that Stanton could fetch over $300 million if he were to hit free agency after 2016.

That $300 million tally would not only be the largest deal in team history, but the first of its kind in major league history as well -- certainly befitting Stanton and his almost laughably long-distanced home run balls.

This is not quite familiar territory for Marlins fans, accustomed to owner Jeffrey Loria's bi-annual fire sales. Even brand-name players who were signed to big deals, like, say, Jose Reyes in 2011 (6 years, $106 million), were traded soon after. But the Marlins claim to want to build a contender around Stanton, as good a player outside of Kershaw-Trout worth building a team around.

Stanton is watching, and listening, he told USA Today, watching for signs of the Marlins' championship foundation, and willing to listen to Miami's contract offer.

The Marlins added Jarrod Saltalamacchia in free agency last offseason, and the team's young position players -- Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, and Adeiny Hechaverria -- have all shown real promise in Miami's surprisingly competitive season. The Marlins' young pitching staff, bolstered by the deadline acquisition of Jarred Cosart, has been competitive, and will continue to be, with Cosart, Henderson Alvarez, Nathan Eovaldi, and of course, Jose Fernandez, all 24 or younger.

This winter, things will heat up in Miami: the Marlins have a contender to build, and Giancarlo Stanton has a $300 million decision to make.