Stanton v. Fernandez: Who is the ‘Face of the Marlins?’
During the off-season when baseball experiences its annual pre-Spring Training lull, MLB Network gives fans a chance to vote for each team’s “Face of the Franchise.” Today it was the Marlins turn in the “#FaceofMLB” conversation.
This contest pretty clearly comes down to two obvious candidates, those being right fielder Giancarlo Stanton and pitcher Jose Fernandez. Last year, Fernandez won the honor of “Face of the Marlins.” A lot has changed in the last year, including the Marlins graduating from laughing stock of the league to nearly contending for a NL Wild Card and reshaping the roster this winter.
The Marlins aren’t exactly known for holding on to players long-term, but when they signed Giancarlo Stanton, 25, to the richest and longest contract in North American sports history in November, it guaranteed the slugger would be a fixture on the team for a long time.
Fernandez is just 22 and 2015 will be his third year in the big leagues. He becomes arbitration-eligible in 2016, and cannot be a free agent until 2019. So it’s likely Fernandez will be a Marlin for many years, and the club has already discussed signing him long term. Along with Stanton the Cuban sensation is a fan-favorite and it’s no surprise he was named the Face of the franchise last January.
But with Stanton now signed for 13 years the Marlins have a true face of the franchise. That’s not a knock against Fernandez; the kid is a spark plug of personality, and one of the elite pitchers in the game when healthy. During the dark days of 2013, fans would show up in droves every fifth day to watch Fernandez pitch. Fernandez has been utterly dominant and downright nasty in his 36 MLB starts.
But, Giancarlo Stanton does this:
And also this:
And now, because he does those things, Giancarlo Stanton makes a lot of money:
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Stanton has been the talk of not just the Marlins, but all of baseball this off-season. The days of endless speculation over where the Marlins would trade the 2014 NL home run leader are behind us. Miami now has a legitimate baseball superstar to group with the likes of other hometown favorites like Dwyane Wade and Dan Marino.
Sadly only one player can be named “FaceofMarlins” by MLB Network. A concrete case could be made for either Jose Fernandez or Giancarlo Stanton. But right now, Giancarlo Stanton’s (fully healed!) face gets my vote.
What do you think? Go on Twitter and vote #JoseFernandez, #GiancarloStanton or whoever else you feel deserves the honor along with #FaceofMarlins to have your voice heard.
Next: Mike Redmond entering unknown territory with the Miami Marlins