Seriously? How in the hell does this make sense to ANYBODY?
Stanton gets a lot of money, so it makes sense for him. (Actually, Stanton gets a lot of money AND an opt out after five years, so if he even comes close to living up to this deal he can go get an even better one.)
In the short term, the Marlins try to rebuild some confidence with their fans - they're not just going to trade away everyone, they're going to build around Stanton, come buy some tickets! In the long term, ownership will have cashed out and the back end of the deal will be someone else's problem. (As will everyone else's deal escalating when they can use this as a comparison.) In the medium term, when they're not competitive and eveyrone points to this contract atking such a huge chunk of the available cash, that's probably not going to be a fun time for Stanton or the Marlins.
2015: $6.5 mil 2016: $9 mil 2017: $14.5 mil 2018-2020: a total of $77mil (so averaging $25.6 mil/year) (opt out is here) 2021-2028: a total of $218mil (so averaging $31 mil/year)
The Marlins are actually getting a discount on Stanton the next few years over what they'd have to pay him in aribitration; there's no reason they can't add more pieces around him right away (except maybe those pieces would have to choose to come to the Marlins.)
They kick all the problems down the road. It's so crazy backloaded that they've got to be hoping revenues continue inflating that $31mil (or 72% of last year's payroll!) isn't a big a deal as a chunk as it is now.
The only reasons they could be doing it this way are * they plan on going for it over the next few years and were willing to heavily mortgage their future to build around Stanton around (and will have another fire sale around 2018) * Loria is already planning on selling before this deal really kicks in and it'll be someone else's problem.
Both could be true. Both probably are a little bit true.
FWIW, there's also a local TV deal coming up in 2017 or so (or they plan on renegotiating then). The deal they have now is said to be terrible so I'm assuming they're looking for a substantial raise there given their ratings are better than you'd think for the Marlins.
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http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/quiz/_/id/4979/do-know-mlb-rules I got seven out of 10, missing Nos. 5, 7, and 8. But that is admittedly with some educated guessing on a few, rather than knowing for sure the exact rule.