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MLB trade rumors: Will Giancarlo Stanton really accept an offer to go play for the Cardinals?

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The answer may surprise you.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

There is growing doubt that Marlins star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton will waive his no- trade clause and accept an offer to play for the Cardinals, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

The Cardinals, who met with Stanton’s representatives Friday to talk about acquiring the reigning National League MVP, do offer a rich history of winning, have great prospects to give the Marlins in return and can spend money when needed. However, Heyman says “several people connected to the Marlins who know Stanton well suggest they have a hard time seeing Stanton, who has a complete no-trade clause, approve a trade to St. Louis, not when there are more geographically desirable alternatives with winning histories in play.”

One of those alternatives is the Giants, who met with Stanton’s reps on Thursday to discuss a potential deal and one of Heyman’s sources said he would bet Stanton would take over the Cardinals “if that’s the choice.” The Giants, who had reportedly offered a trade to the Marlins that they “likely would” accept, are winners of three World Series titles since 2010 and are on the West Coast. The Giants also have the means of taking on his whopping $295 million contract over the next 10 years, according to Jorge Ortiz of USA Today. On top of that, Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the Marlins care more about moving Stanton’s contract and that getting talent in return is their “secondary concern.”

Another destination is the Dodgers, one of the top teams on his priority list of clubs he would like to play for. Heyman says one of his sources told him that the Dodgers “are his first choice.” Stanton was born in Panorama City, California and went to high school at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, which is 16 miles away from Dodger Stadium. But, the Dodgers are still fighting the battle that comes with being over the luxury tax threshold, as Heyman says they “are about $50 million over” it. In addition, they are loaded in the outfield and they prefer not to do long-term deals like the one Stanton has.

Since 2000, the Cardinals have won two of their 11 World Series titles, made the Fall Classic four times and have reached the NLCS nine times in that span. They also have prospects such as Alex Reyes, Sandy Alcantara, Jack Flaherty and others who they are willing to part with for Stanton. Even though they may be an ideal partner, St. Louis may ultimately not be where Stanton wants to play in 2018 and beyond.