Trading Giancarlo Stanton

It leaked out over the weekend that the Miami Marlins are “willing to listen” to offers on their sole remaining star player, Giancarlo Stanton, which is, of course, very different from actively trying to trade him or shopping him around. The Marlins, this offseason, have sabotaged any chance to compete this upcoming season in yet another rebuilding effort, but to this point, have stopped short of trading Stanton, who is their one remaining draw for fans and likely the only above-average position player in their everyday lineup.

So the question remaining is why, and for how long?

For the Marlins, it appears to be a question not of if they trade Stanton, but when? There is the outside possibility that they could hold on to him for the four years remaining in his contract, and if the Marlins get back to being competitive during that time and shift their organizational philosophy back to 2012 mode, they could re-sign him. But that would be a very un-Marlins thing to do.

It’s understandable for the Marlins not to want to trade Stanton, the only marketable asset on their roster. That Wade LeBlanc banner hanging outside the stadium isn’t exactly bringing in fans. And while it may not be their best decision to hold on to him much longer, the Marlins haven’t exactly been in the business of making the best baseball decisions lately.

Given that they have gone mostly-all-in on their rebuilding process by trading every valuable asset outside of Stanton, there is little reason to keep him at this point. After all, the difference between 62 wins and 67 doesn’t really do them any good. And if they can turn Stanton into a few pieces for their future, for example a couple of potential three- or four-win players, then they need to do it.

Which brings us to the real question here. What should the Marlins hold out for in a trade for their best player?

We don’t have a lot of precedent for a player who has been worth 12-13 wins through just his first three seasons getting traded with so many years remaining before free agency.

Roberto Alomar had 11.7 wins through his first three seasons when, before the 1991 season, he and Joe Carter were traded to the Blue Jays for Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez. That wasn’t a prospect deal, so it’s tough to gauge our return from that. Mat Latos got traded at a similar time in his career but was only a 7.5 win player to that point in his career, and the Padres still landed a big league starter, a nice bullpen arm, their starting first baseman and their catcher of the future.

Mark Teixeira got his career off to a similarly hot start as Stanton, but the Rangers waited until he had just a year-and-a-half of team control left and still landed Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in their deal. You can read Baseball America’s full write-up of that trade from 2007 here, but needless to say, it was a big package at the time and became an even bigger one as Feliz and Andrus fulfilled their potential.

If that’s the price that’s been set here, then only a few teams even have the goods to land Stanton. I had a little fun breaking down each team’s chances over the weekend, but in reality, regardless of need or room in their outfield, most teams would consider acquiring Stanton while few have the prospects to get a deal done. Furthering the complications is that the Marlins aren’t likely to take much major league talent in return unless it’s cheap (like Henderson Alvarez in their earlier deal with the Blue Jays), because their window for competing clearly isn’t for a few years. Adding talent that will be hitting arbitration by 2014-15 defeats their purpose.

I’ve long advocated that, when a team blows itself up or trades its best asset(s) in a rebuilding deal, it must get a centerpiece for its next competitive team. For instance, in the Latos deal, the Padres got back Yasmani Grandal, who is a potential all-star catcher, and Yonder Alonso, who isn’t an all-star but could still develop into an average major league first baseman. And Stanton is almost twice as valuable as Latos was at the same point in his career.

This was my issue with the Marlins trade with the Blue Jays. While they got a lot of interesting talent and potential, Jake Marisnick is still a significant risk to not pan out at all and Adeiny Hechavarria is a nice player but won’t be a cornerstone type. There is no guarantee that, in a trade that eliminated any chance of them being competitive for at least the next two years, they got any of the best players on their next competitive team, and that’s not good. They can’t afford for that to happen again if they move their only remaining asset.

Especially when it’s an asset this valuable.

When it comes down to it, Stanton has about as much trade value as any player in the game not named Trout or Harper. If the Marlins are going to trade him, they need not one but probably two cornerstone pieces of their next competitive team. Not every organization has that in its farm system.

The Phillies, for instance, would love nothing more than to land Stanton, but even if the Marlins were willing to trade him within their division (I have no idea about their thoughts on this), the Phillies don’t have that kind of talent left in their farm system. And that’s even if you still think Domonic Brown can be that type of player.

A package for Stanton would have to include, ironically, something like what the Rangers could offer (but likely won’t), using Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar as the centerpieces of a deal. Dangling Profar (something the Rangers have been extremely reluctant to do) would get the Marlins on the phone and offering Profar and Olt would get them listening intently, although still might not get the deal done. It would be a solid start though.

May I Have Your Autograph, Please?
The payoff of being polite.

Or the Red Sox, for instance, could use Xander Bogaerts as a centerpiece of an offer, one that would still likely need to include at least either Matt Barnes or Jackie Bradley.

If the Marlins move Stanton, they must be sure to do it right. When they cleaned house after their last title and traded Josh Beckett, they got Hanley Ramirez in return. If they’re going to make a similar move, they need to get a similar centerpiece-type player they can build around. Trading a promising young player to aid in a rebuilding process can help speed that process up by a year or two if done right, but if done wrong, it can set them back just as far.

Listening, and eventually trading Stanton, isn’t a bad move, but for the future of the Marlins, it’s essential that they get it right.


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Aaron Leight
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Aaron Leight

Thanks for the read. I know it won’t happen, but does a Marte, Taillon & Polanco package bring him to Pittsburgh? I don’t personally believe it’s enough, but it’s something I’ve had a couple debates about. Let me know your thinking.

DonM
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DonM

How about Kevin Gausman, Chris Davis and Jake Arrieta (or Matusz, or Tillman, or Zach Britton)… okay, Reimold could be thrown in for good measure… for Stanton?

Chuck
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Chuck

The funniest part of this article is the assumption that the Marlins are trying in good faith to build a future contender.

Aaron Leight
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Aaron Leight
I went to high school with Reimold. Following his career has been a headache, I can’t even imagine living it. Hopefully this is finally the year where the speed bumps get paved over and he’s able to showcase his abilities. I don’t think he’s an All-Star, but I think he could definitely produce well enough to stick at the major league level. And Chuck – I couldn’t agree more. It’s obvious they are in full Expos-mode here, and who can blame them with a terrible fan base? It’s the city’s fault for allowing him to drain them of the stadium… Read more »
Jeff Moore
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Jeff Moore
Aaron, I actually think the Pirates would be a perfect for for a Stanton trade, but like you, don’t think they’ll pull the trigger.  One of the problems is that, even if they wanted to, the Pirates have consistently over-valued their own assets in trade negotiations and consistently low-ball other clubs.  One NL GM told me a couple years ago that he hates dealing with Huntington because his offers are almost laughable and there’s always so much ground to make up between the two sides.  We saw this earlier this winter when reports leaked out that the Pirates offered the… Read more »
shibboleth
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shibboleth

DonM, I had a similar thought, but I was unable to come upon a package I would accept as Marlins GM.  Afraid I’d want Bundy involved somehow…

Does anyone think Stanton for Bundy would be a reasonable basis for a trade?

A.B.
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A.B.

What about the Tigers?  Castellanos, Avisail Garcia and Porcello/Smyly?  Garcia showed great promise at the end of the season and Porcello is a solid starting pitcher who is only 24.  Castellanos is regarded as a top 10 Prospect.  Or have the Tigers burned the Marlins with their “Top” Flight prospects (Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin come to mind in the Miguel Cabrera deal).  Of course that would deplete the Tigers farm system, but would vault them to being a clear favorite for the World Series.

Mike G
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Mike G
Jeff – great article, nice background info.  I do think he may be traded before ST (as crazy as that seems), and I do think this may be one of those rare deals where the Pirates might be uniquely able to get something done, for all of the reasons you gave above. However, I think that teams will stare at the equation “Giancarlo Stanton =…….” for so long that nothing will actually get done.  It’s almost better to spread this out to an even larger deal on both sides, and try to find other Marlins problems to “solve” at the… Read more »
Mike G
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Mike G
I think everyone gets it that “my #2” doesn’t equal “your # 2” but because there indeed are so many subjective differences in scouting opinions on prospects its also hard to objectively compare a SS like Alen Hanson (Pirates’ #3 prospect #47 overall MLB prospect #8 overall SS prospect) to a Nick Franklin (Mariners #3, MLB #29, and #4 SS). (Just like there isn’t “much difference” between Franklin and Bogaerts) Beyond that, I don’t think there’s too much value in this analysis in trying to make too fina a distinction on what the Marlins “need” at this point……..they “need” everything,… Read more »
Balthazar
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Balthazar
So Jeff, a timely post.  I can’t imagine that the Marlins don’t move Stanton, the only question is when.  The FO there couldn’t possibly have any less credibility with their fan base than the do now, and the difference between loosing 95 with Dgianni and 100 without isn’t much.  Taters are fun and all, but how many folks are going to buy a ticket just to watch him knock a few?  Stanton’s value is as at it’s absolute peak now, so it makes the most sense to move him. He could get hurt, or have a down year, or get… Read more »
Mike G
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Mike G
I agree that,the Mariners are one of maybe 2 or 3 teams who could put a deal together for Stanton. But, let’s assume the Fish took the Mariners up on the best possible package that Balthazar outlines above, I.e. their #2, #3 & #5 prospects, plus Jesus Montero (who, BTW, was a negative -0.2 WAR catcher in 2012) That’s identical to just the first piece of the Pirates package I proposed above – their #2, #3 & #5 prospects. Adding Nolasco (who has negative trade value at this point, and HAS to go if Stanton goes) and LoMo to the… Read more »
Balthazar
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Balthazar
So Mike G., 1) rankings are within organizations not between them.  A ‘#2’ in one org may be _a couple of WAR per annum_ better OR worse than someone ranked similarly in another org.  In addition, rankings have no absolute standard either, with event he most knowledgable scouts and analysts differing significantly on the projection for the same individual.  So comparing prospects by ‘relative rankings’ isn’t really a sound approach.  2) What perhaps matters most are what are the acquiring organization’s needs?  Yes, ceiling is all very well, but if you have great starters but a black hole in the… Read more »
Balthazar
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Balthazar
And as a btw, there really isn’t that much difference between Bogaerts and Franklin.  Yes, Xander is better if one thinks he’ll stick at SS because Franklin isn’t rated to have the arm to stay at the position.  As batters, Franklin has as much to offer; a bit better in walk rate and contact, slightly less natural power, but a lefty too so having the platoon advantage.  They’re nearly the same age, with Franklin a season closer to the majors too.  . . . No one is talking about Franklin as the centerpiece to a major deal.  I really don’t… Read more »
Nick M
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Nick M

I feel like I have the perfect deal to land Stanton in New York.  Yankee stadium would be perfect for him, the short porch in right would be able to generate in my opinion, at least 40 home runs, which they need to get back on top.  Brian Cashman needs to call Miami and offer him this deal:  Granderson, Hughes, and a prospect from the yankees farm system in exchange for Stanton.  This deal works for both clubs, cutting Yankee payroll for young power, and Miami getting power, a quality 3rd pitcher in the rotation and future talent.

Aaron James
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Aaron James

I’m sure if Loria was gonna take on that kinda salary he’d rather just pay Giancarlo. This is a no brainer for NY, but I don’t see why Miami would have any interest whatsoever. Mason Williams, Tyler Austin & Banuelos would be more likely.

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