It isn’t often that a slugger of Giancarlo Stanton’s caliber becomes available on the trade market. Fresh off a monstrous 59-homer, 132-RBI campaign in 2017, Stanton has made it clear that he either wants to win, or wants out of the Miami Marlins organization. Yet to play postseason baseball in his eight-year tenure in Miami, enduring another rebuild doesn’t appear to be something the two-time NL home run champ is willing to put up with.
But with a new ownership group now in place led by Derek Jeter, starting with a blank slate and building from the ground up might be the route the Marlins elect to take. Moving their best player would fetch the organization a nice collection of prospects with which to begin their rebuild, although Stanton is in the driver’s seat somewhat with a full no-trade clause. But if Jeter and the Marlins do want to start over, dealing Stanton might be the best option for both the player and the club.
If Stanton is on the move, there is sure to be plenty of interest. Early reports have suggested that four teams have risen to the top in the Stanton sweepstakes: the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, and St. Louis Cardinals. Here is an in-depth look at the case of the four clubs rumored to be interested.
Assessing the Landing Spots in a Potential Giancarlo Stanton Trade
Stanton’s desire to win now would make Philadelphia a tough sell considering his full no trade clause, but the move could still make some sense nonetheless. The Phillies have all sorts of payroll available and an ownership group that has a proven willingness to spend, meaning that they would have no problem taking on the remaining $285 million guaranteed to Stanton over the next 10 years.
Now, some within the Phillies organization may argue that said payroll flexibility may be better allocated in free agency. That way, they could hold onto all of their top prospects and instead throw significant money at some of the top unrestricted free agents this winter, or wait until next off-season when the likes of Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and Charlie Blackmon are available.
If GM Mike Klentak did go the trade route, however, Philadelphia would have a number of appealing pieces to put on the table. Boasting a deep pool of prospects that ranks third-best in the MLB by Baseball America, the Phillies can afford to deal away one or two of Mickey Moniak, Jorge Alfaro, or J.P. Crawford. They could also offer Miami one of their young Major League roster players such as Maikel Franco, Aaron Altherr, or Odubel Herrera. Although the Marlins would likely prefer not to trade Stanton within the division, the Phillies are in position to offer the best young talent back of the group of teams interested, which would be difficult to Miami to turn down.
The Phillies have finished in the National League East basement three of the past four seasons and haven’t qualified for the postseason since 2011. Klentak and company can ill-afford to wait any longer to take a more aggressive approach in their rebuild. Bringing in Stanton would take some pressure off other members of their young core, and would also give the Phillies a legitimate star to help them lure other top free agents to the City of Brotherly Love in the future.
Boston Red Sox
Having the opportunity to watch Stanton crush bombs over the monster 81 times a year would be quite the sight. Then again, given the nature of Stanton’s usual laser beam line drives, we might just end up seeing a lot of long singles. Either way, it’s no surprise to hear the that Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox are in on Stanton.
Since David Ortiz’ retirement a year ago, the Sox have lacked that key power bat in the middle of the order. Hanley Ramirez was tasked with being that guy last season, but struggled out the gate and never seemed to recover. Ramirez seems happier and better suited for more of a complementary role lower down in the order.
Despite largely gutting their farm system in the Chris Sale trade, the Red Sox do have a handful of appealing young players already in the big leagues that could help expedite Miami’s rebuild process. A potential package for Stanton would be off to a great start if Dombrowski was willing to part with one of Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, or Eduardo Rodriguez. Or, the Red Sox could dig into what remains of their prospect pool and include left-hander Jay Groome or third basemen Michael Chavis.
The Red Sox have the pieces to get a deal done, but it remains to be seen whether Dombrowski feels motivated to cough up such a lucrative package in order to land Stanton. As reported by Peter Gammons on Twitter, the Giants and Cardinals have had the “most intense” interest, which hints that Dombrowski might not be quite as keen on meeting Miami’s asking price.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants are an intriguing case based on the position they are in as a franchise. Coming off an incredible run of three World Series titles in five seasons in the first half of the decade, the past three years have been much more of a disappointment. That was especially the case last season as the Giants sputtered all the way to last in the National League and tied for the worst record in baseball.
For an organization that has enjoyed as much success as the Giants, that type of futility isn’t going to fly. Therefore, President Brian Sabean and GM Bobby Evans are likely going to be aggressive this winter in the hopes of a revival in 2018. Stanton would certainly fit that bill.
San Francisco ranked dead last in the MLB in home runs last season by a mile, an issue that Stanton could rectify almost single-handedly. Now, the Giants have built their lineup to keep the strikeout numbers down and put the ball in play rather than one that swings for the fences, which matches well with the dinger-depressing nature of AT&T Park. But that’s not to say that switching things up with one dedicated power bat wouldn’t help the cause. With the rapidly declining and oft-injured Hunter Pence in right field and a revolving door of fringe Major Leaguers in left, the Giants have needed a legitimate power bat at one of their corner outfield spots for quite some time. And we haven’t even brought up Stanton’s likeness to a certain other Giants legend: Barry Bonds.
The trouble is what the Giants could offer back in return. Given the success the Giants have had in the past, their prospect cupboard is relatively bare. The MLB roster is starting to age and doesn’t possess many young, high-potential pieces that the Marlins would be after. Although the fit is there for the Giants, the Marlins could very likely find a better deal elsewhere.
St. Louis Cardinals
Rounding out the four teams reportedly in on Stanton are the Cardinals. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Cards are a “prime player” to deal for Stanton for two key reasons. Number one, they are committed to winning and have an excellent track record in that regard, which is what Stanton wants. Number two, they have the collection of blue chip prospects which the Marlins are seeking in return.
Although St. Louis’ farm system isn’t as deep as the Phillies, the Cards do have a handful of upper-echelon prospects that could get a deal done. That includes Alex Reyes, Carson Kelly, Luke Weaver, and Jack Flaherty, all of whom are considered top 50 prospects in all of baseball.
Given the Cardinals organizational philosophy of sustaining success by building from within, parting with any of those prospects might be difficult for President John Mozeliak and GM Mike Girsch. But the value Stanton would add in the immediate future would be awfully tempting for a club coming off it’s lowest win total since 2007.
The Cardinals have been one of the most consistently successful franchises in all of North American pro sports since the turn of the century, but are in need of a spark after missing out on the postseason in consecutive seasons. With Yadier Molina’s bat on the decline, Stanton would be the preeminent superstar that the Cards have been lacking in the meat of their order. Stanton and the Cardinals’ shared ambition to play deep into October make for a logical match, and the Redbirds have the assets to make it happen.
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