If the Marlins Trade Stanton, They Need to Trade Everyone Else

The Jeter Group hasn’t been lazy and has made a lot of moves already. Now the rumor is that the payroll should be cut back to $90M and Stanton (and Gordon and Prado) should be traded, but the other stars like Yelich and Ozuna should be kept.

Now, I do think trading Stanton is a good idea. He has been great but also injury-prone, and he has a huge salary and opt-outs to make it worse. However, Stanton still is about a 4-5 win player and those wins have to be replaced. The Marlins are already a top-heavy team, with only six hitters and one pitcher with a WAR of 2 or better, and thus losing one star would hurt a lot. To make it worse, they only have three players between 1 and 2 WAR; the rest are below 1 or negative. Also, there is little help from the farm to be expected, which is ranked one of the worst in MLB by most sources.

So realistically, where does trading Stanton, Gordon, and Prado lead you? Gordon had a good season, but it was heavily fueled by BABIP; he isn’t really a good hitter and his trade value is limited. Stanton has trade value obviously, but the contract and opt-outs make him less appealing. Prado has zero value. So realistically trading the three gives you two top-100 prospects and maybe 2-3 more decent ones (40-45s). That is a good return, but we are talking about a terrible farm here, that according to Eric Longenhagen only had one top-100 guy pre-2017. So you lose about five wins from Stanton and maybe two from Gordon, and your team still is top-heavy and the farm is slightly better but still below average.

If the Marlins try to retool by trading Stanton and Gordon and keep everyone else, they are honestly in the same situation as the White Sox were before last year, a stars and scrubs team. Now, Yelich and Ozuna have long contracts, so they don’t necessarily need to go immediately, but without a farm system and trade chips it will be hard to build around them.

If the Marlins are serious about competing anytime soon, they need to either keep Stanton and spend big (which IMO is stupid because stars and scrubs teams hardly work anymore), or sell everyone and try to build a top-5 farm system as fast as possible. The Marlins aren’t in a bad spot to do that, although unfortunately their value is mostly hitters, and not ace pitchers, for whom the market currently is better.

But still, if you trade Stanton, Gordon, Yelich, Ozuna, Realmuto, Straily, and one or two of the relievers, you should easily be able to get back like seven top-100s, plus 6-7 more 40+ prospects, and that would immediately make them a top-5 farm system. Now, that would be a huge sell-off, but if you take Stanton away from such a top-heavy team, IMO that is the best thing that you can do.

I really hope Jeter is not just a popular head to sell an even more greedy owner. If the Marlins would trade the expensive guys and then try to retool around the cheap guys, that would be a very bad signal, because with that farm system, that likely would mean they keep being stuck in between. So unless the new group wants to spend $180M+, they better trade the high surplus value guys too.

Now, if there isn’t a good offer for Yelich and Ozuna, they can afford to wait a little like the White Sox did with Quintana, but ultimately the two need to be traded if the Marlins want to rebuild the team. Half-way rebuilds rarely work, at least if you don’t have a good farm system and good depth in the back end of the roster already.

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