Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is coming off a 2017 season in which he mashed 59 home runs and positioned himself as a strong candidate for NL MVP honors. Stanton, who turned 28 earlier this week, is also the subject of rampant trade rumors. That's because the Marlins' new ownership group fronted by Derek Jeter appears to be set on shedding payroll.

Stanton, with almost $300 million left on his contract (assuming he doesn't exercise his opt-out after the 2020 season), would offer the biggest chance for the Marlins to trim costs. They're almost certainly not going to find a team willing to take on all of Stanton's salary obligations, but they can offload a chunk of it, perhaps a big chunk if they're willing to take a lesser package of prospects in return. 

As you could imagine with a frontline slugger like Stanton, plenty of clubs have at least a cursory interest in acquiring him. On that front, Jon Morosi names four teams who have begun talking to the Marlins about a blockbuster Stanton deal ... 

We've known about the Giants, Cardinals, and Phillies for some time, but the Red Sox haven't been as heavily rumored. During the season, the Rangers also got bandied about as a potential trading partner. Stanton has full no-trade protection, so he'd need to give his blessing to any deal. Of course, Stanton has seemed palpably frustrated by all the losing in Miami, so he may be willing to make the leap to a likely contender. 

Of these four teams, the Phillies far and away have the most payroll flexibility. However, would the Marlins consider trading him within the division? And would Stanton allow a trade to a team that's coming off a 96-loss season? Uncertainties abound, but so does intrigue. 

Speaking of which, the responses to Morosi's tweet contained a rather tantalizing Photoshop job ... 

Developing, people.