MIAMI – Giancarlo Stanton is on fire. As I write this, Stanton has homered 10 times in the last 11 games, including a franchise record five straight games. He also just set the Marlins single season home run record with 43, and the Fish still have 45 games left!
He’s been remarkable and is an MVP candidate.
Giancarlo Stanton is also the most valuable potential trade piece for the new ownership group.
That’s right, a trade piece.
Before you get up in arms about the Marlins trading their best player, hear me out. I’m not saying the Marlins should trade Stanton, but I am saying they’d be silly to not at least listen to offers.
As great as he’s been, Miami is still under .500 and well out of a playoff spot. It’s the same story as every season Stanton has been in a Marlins uniform.
Stanton isn’t the problem. That’s obvious. But, Stanton could be the solution to fix this franchise in more ways than one.
It would be great if the Marlins had a strong pitching staff and minor league system to help supplement Stanton with help for the present and future. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
The Marlins have a patchwork pitching staff that has been decimated by injuries and poor performance, and help isn’t on the way. The Marlins have one of the worst minor league systems in all of baseball.
Years and years of neglecting the farm system by the current front office have caught up to the Fish.
While the Marlins have some nice pieces on offense around Stanton, they don’t have much else.
That’s no formula to win. That’s no formula to even compete for a playoff spot. The Marlins need help and lots of it. How do you get that help?
Spending money always seems like an easy answer, but getting free agent pitchers cost big money, and it doesn’t always pay off. Wei-Yin Chen, anyone?
It also doesn’t help that the Marlins currently have their highest payroll in team history, and that payroll will only increase in coming seasons with the raises in Stanton’s contract.
This is why all ideas have to be on the table for new ownership, and yes, that includes trading Stanton.
The thought of trading Stanton came to light again because of a report by Yahoo MLB writer Jeff Passan. He wrote that Stanton cleared waivers, a fairly common process for higher paid players, and he suggested the Marlins should trade Stanton soon.
He makes many of the points I made about the help the Marlins need from top to bottom, but I don’t necessarily agree that Stanton has to go.
Here’s what I do know; someone has to go. The Marlins can’t be a true contender for the future with a solid offensive nucleus and nothing else. They’ll continue to be a mediocre team and franchise if they keep doing what they’re doing.
But, they have many options to consider. To me, I would listen to offers for Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon and even Christian Yelich. Those players are key pieces to the Marlins offense, but all could help bring back some talent to fix the farm system and/or get starting pitching help.
Ozuna seems like the most likely candidate because he will soon have a big pay day coming his way. Its unlikely new ownership can justify paying him the kind of money he’ll likely receive, especially with Stanton’s big contract on the payroll.
All of this brings us back to whether the Marlins should trade Stanton. That’s going to be a big question for new ownership, but I think the group, led by Derek Jeter, will need to really think long and hard this offseason. If they get a big offer for Stanton, I think they would have to pull the trigger.
It wouldn’t be where I would start. I would build around Stanton. I would do my best to get pieces from trading Ozuna or Yelich. I would also have patience to let the younger players they do obtain grow. The Marlins can’t have a future without a better minor league system.
I know fans don’t want to hear this, but the Marlins must rebuild. They’re not close to being a contender, and they won’t be any closer if they just stay status quo and add some average starting pitchers.
The Marlins need to rebuild this franchise the right way, or basically the complete opposite of what Jeffrey Loria has done.
Will that include Stanton? That’s for Jeter and company to decide. I’ll just warn you, don’t get too comfortable with this current roster. It needs to be revamped, and that will likely include some big moves in the offseason.