The St. Louis Cardinals, who are expected to be quite active in the free-agent and trade markets this winter after uncharacteristically missing the playoffs two straight seasons, look to be a prime player for Marlins slugging superstar and NL MVP finalist Giancarlo Stanton.

They have been cited as one the three most interested pursuers this winter, along with the Giants and Phillies, and there’s reason to believe nothing’s changed there. The Cardinals certainly have the type of prospects that would interest the Marlins, but the question is this: Would he go?

While the Marlins are looking to trade Stanton, and Stanton told FanRag Sports he isn’t up for yet another rebuild, he is in control of the situation due to his complete no-trade clause and people around him on the team suggest they believe Stanton probably would prefer to go to one of the coasts. Stanton hasn’t stated any of his preferences, but while winning is his No. 1 priority, the belief is that he’d prioritize the East and West coasts ahead of the Midwest.

This could lead to an interesting situation, as the Cardinals are believed to be the team the Marlins would most like to make a deal with, as they have several top pitching prospects, including Alex Reyes, Sandy Alcantara, Jack Flaherty and others. In any case, it will be difficult for the Marlins to nudge Stanton to say yes to, say, his potential third or fourth choice, as the Tigers were able to do with Justin Verlander and the Astros – Verlander said he had to make the call with “milliseconds” to go, between the rebuilding Tigers or Astros, but Stanton has 10 years on the clock, giving him much, much more leverage.