MIAMI (CBSNewYork/AP) — Giancarlo Stanton signed his record $325 million, 13-year contract with the Miami Marlins at a news conference formally announcing the deal Wednesday.
Stanton signed the agreement while sitting next to owner Jeffrey Loria. The attendance-challenged franchise drew nearly 100 members of the media for the occasion.
The contract is the most lucrative for an American athlete and the longest in baseball history. It includes a no-trade clause, and Stanton can opt out after six years and $107 million. Stanton agreed to the structure of the deal "to give his team the financial flexibility to win now," ESPN reported.
"We're here to celebrate a landmark agreement, not only for the Marlins organization but for our entire community," Loria said.
Stanton said the deal points the Marlins in a winning direction.
"This is one building block toward a better future and a new way of life down here in Miami," he said. "I'm glad to be here for my foreseeable future."
Stanton wasn't due to become eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season, and signing him to a long-term agreement was considered a long shot. The Marlins haven't reached the playoffs since 2003, and Stanton said Loria's financial commitment to fielding a contender was his primary concern during negotiations.
"I didn't want to talk about dollars in the meeting," Stanton said. "I wanted to talk about what's our plan. Everyone wants to talk about the record-breaking deal. I want to have records on the field and do things on the field. That's what this is about. ...
"This was the toughest decision of my life. This is 13 years. I didn't even go to school for 13 years."
The Marlins hadn't held a celebratory news conference on such a scale since their last spending spree, just before their ballpark opened in 2012. They went 69-93, leading to a payroll purge, and their average attendance of 21,386 was 28th among the 30 major league teams.
Stanton's contract beats the $292 million, 10-year agreement Miguel Cabrera agreed to with Detroit in March. He gets the first 13-year guaranteed deal in baseball history, topping an April 2012 agreement between Cincinnati and Joey Votto that assured the first baseman of $251.5 million over 12 years.
"It's an exciting day for Miami, my fans, our fans," Stanton said. "This is not a lottery ticket. This is the start of work and a new job. It's a huge responsibility, and one I'm willing to take."
Stanton, who turned 25 on Nov. 8, is perhaps the game's most feared slugger. He has 154 homers, including an NL-leading 37 this year.
The two-time All-Star right fielder recently won the NL Hank Aaron Award and was voted the NL's outstanding player in balloting by his fellow major leaguers. He won a Silver Slugger Award and finished second to Clayton Kershaw in NL MVP voting.
"He wants to be the man, and he's good enough to assume that mantle," Marlins president David Samson said.
Stanton's season ended Sept. 11 when he was hit in the face by a pitch and suffered fractures in his face and other injuries. Despite missing the final 17 games, he led the NL in homers and slugging for the Marlins, who went 77-85 but ended a three-year streak of last-place finishes in the NL East.
The Marlins said they're not concerned the injuries will have lingering effects.
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