It is amazing what a calendar year will do for a franchise. Think back to last winter when the Marlins made a play for Albert Pujols, signed Jose Reyes and Mark Buerle to a huge deals, opened a new 37,000 seat, $515M stadium ($347M publically financed) and appeared to be dumping their penny pinching ways in lieu of putting a year-in, year-out contending team on the field. That lasted a few months, but Buerle, Reyes and incumbent Josh Johnson are all gone to Toronto and it appears they aren’t done dumping payroll (even if it is implied payroll a couple of years down the road). Is it possible the Miami Marlins are at it again? Are they considering trading one of the best pieces of talent they have in Giancarlo Stanton? Apparently they are at least listening.
It depends on whether or not you want to read between the lines. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports who reported that the Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfast stated “Giancarlo represents the power on our team.” In the same report it was made clear that the Marlins are not entertaining offers for Stanton. Wait a minute; I am confused because Assistant General Manager Dan Jennings mentioned that they will listen to all offers for him according to the conversation with Jim Bowden on MLB radio. So which is it?
My gut is this; the Marlins are very much willing to trade the talented power hitter but not flaunting that and lowering his overall value. Instead they publically say that he is their future allowing them to drive up the asking price for the young man.
Any perspective “buyer” would have a few reasons to be interested. Stanton is only 22 years old. In three years of MLB service he has a .270 BA, 93 HR, 232 RBI and slugged .553. In 2012 alone, his batting average climbed to .290, he hit 37 HR and drove in 86 while only playing in 123 games. Stanton is also not eligible for arbitration until 2014, won’t be a free agent until 2017 and makes a very pocketbook friendly salary, less than $500K per year. Even with arbitration he will have an owner-loving salary for a couple of years to come.
Who are some of the possible suitors for Stanton’s service that have the assets and wherewithal to try and reel him in? There are some of the usual suspects from the hot stove that may and probably have inquired. Teams like the Seattle Mariners (would they part with Taijuan Walker in the deal?), the Texas Rangers (will they part with Jurickson Profar?), and the Atlanta Braves (will they dig into their pitching stable for him?).
A little farther off the radar are teams like the ever present NY Yankees (could they package a deal with David Phelps and Brett Gardner to entice Miami?), the Boston Red Sox (would they dare trade Will Middlebrooks and a young pitcher like Matt Barnes to land Stanton?) or maybe a smaller market team enticed by his annual salary like the Minnesota Twins (would they package Kyle Gibson and Byron Buxton for a shot at some legit affordable power?).
With all the conjecture and speculation during the “hot stove” period of the year, this will be an interesting story to follow. Will Stanton be a Miami Marlin on opening day? Maybe, but it does not appear to be the lock that the Marlins front office tried to sell to its fans. Where do you think Giancarlo Stanton will be playing on opening day? Let’s hear what you think with some comments.