The Marlins under new ownership are very likely looking to trade high-powered outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and his massive contract. In term of production, Stanton has obvious appeal. He's coming off an age-27 season that saw him blast 59 home runs, and he's a finalist for the NL MVP award. As well, Stanton owns a career OPS+ of 146 and is coming off his healthiest season yet.

On the other hand, there's his contract. Stanton has almost $300 million left on his contract, assuming he doesn't exercise his opt-out after the 2020 season. If he produces at 2017 levels through 2020, then he might indeed choose to hit the market, but that opt-out in essence puts all the risk on the club. Any team that acquires Stanton will either have to take on all or most of that obligation or lessen the future cost by sending premium prospects Miami's way (which, in turn, would mean that the Marlins would kick in lots of cash or agree to pay part of Stanton's future salaries).

As things stand now, four teams appear to be the most serious suitors for Stanton and the Marlins, and the Cardinals are reportedly prominent among that quartet. In a wide-ranging piece by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he reinforces the notion that the Cardinals are very serious about a Stanton blockbuster ...

Both teams expect conversations to continue this week and gain clarity, with the Cardinals described by one source as "determined" in their interest.

"Determined" is the word. Goold's piece has a lot more about the Cardinals' offseason plans, including what might unfold if they aren't able to land Stanton.