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The St. Louis Cardinals have reportedly emerged as an early favorite to land reigning MLB home run champion Giancarlo Stanton in a trade from the Miami Marlins.

On Thursday, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports noted the Cardinals are a “prime player” in the Stanton sweepstakes along with the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies. He added the Marlins would “most like” to make a deal with the Cards due to their numerous top-tier pitching prospects.

The 28-year-old slugger is coming off a big year in Miami. He posted a .281/.376/.631 triple-slash line with 59 homers and 132 runs batted in. His 1.007 OPS ranked fourth in baseball behind only the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout, New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge and Cincinnati Reds’ Joey Votto.

Despite those huge numbers, Barry Jackson and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reported moving Stanton, who’s heading into the fourth season of a 13-year, $325 million contract, is part of the new owners’ plan to reduce payroll to $90 million for 2018.

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