Trading Giancarlo: Both Sides of the Argument.
Giancarlo Stanton is in the midst of a historic season for the Miami Marlins, and has almost single handedly brought the team back into wild card contention. Stanton is still less than 3 years removed from his record 325-million-dollar contract extension, and at the time it looked like a mistake. At the time, he only had 2 seasons where he played 145 games or more. However, when he was healthy he was, and still is arguably the most exciting player in baseball to watch. It only made sense for the Marlins to lock him up for as long as possible.
Stanton is finally enjoying a healthy season. He is currently having a season that could see him pass 61 home runs, a number which some still consider to be the single-season record. Before play on September 3, Stanton already sits at 52 homeruns and 111 RBI’s. In only 47 games since the ASG, Stanton is hitting .306/.415/.815/1.230 with 26 homeruns and 53 RBI’s and has thrown himself into the NL MVP discussion, and to some the favorite. Unfortunately for Stanton, he’s a superstar on a sub-par team with a big contract, so there’s one thing he has never been able to escape: trade rumors.
Stanton trade rumors have been floating around since the reports first broke of Loria trying to sell the Marlins, with teams such as the Giants, Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox, and up to 11 more teams reportedly showing interest. The thought is the new owners would trade Stanton to give the Marlins a reset, and let them rebuild the team under the new management, which in theory is a great idea, but should they do it? Let’s look at both arguments.
FOR TRADING HIM:
Stanton’s trade value will NEVER be higher. Any team in baseball is dreaming right now that one of their players was having a season like he is. Unless he magically hits 74 next year, he is sitting at his peak trade value right now.
A trade for Stanton would require some serious cash discussions, as the Marlins wouldn’t want to eat a lot, if any, of the contract, and depending on the team it’s easy to assume that the team trading for him wouldn’t want to take on the entire contract.
Stanton is owed an INSANE 234 million dollars after his 30th birthday, and that’s not including a potential 25 million team option for the 2028 season. It’s very safe to assume no team in baseball would want to take on that money, as that is a lot of money to pay to a high power, high strikeout player on the wrong side of 30. Any team that trades for him would either want a ton of the money eaten in the deal, or they’d work with Stanton to rework the deal, and potentially move most of the money in the current term, as it makes more sense to pay him this money during his prime and not past his prime.
The reason the Marlins would trade Stanton is that the new ownership wants a reset on the team’s financials. It’s no secret that the Marlins are losing money, as the price of the stadium and the lack of ticket sales pretty much ruins a chance for the Marlins to make money. Trading Stanton’s contract would clear up a lot of money for the team to stop the bleeding at the current moment and help the new ownership get back on track financially.
A player of Stanton’s caliber with a team-friendly contract would cost an entire franchise’s farm system in a trade. However, with Stanton contract, the prospect return would depend on the amount of money the Marlins are willing to eat. Hypothetically if the Marlins ate half the contract, then the return for Stanton would most likely be monumental. Now the more realistic option, if the Marlins refused to eat a lot, or even any of the contract, the Marlins would most likely get very little in return prospect wise. So, before a trade can happen, the Marlins would have to decide if they want to do this for financial reasons, or rebuilding reasons.
One thing the Marlins can do is take a bad contract the team may have in return. For example, in a hypothetical trade with the Yankees, the Marlins can potentially take on the contract of Jacoby Ellsbury or Aroldis Chapman, instead of just eating money. For the Red Sox, they could potentially take on the remaining money owed to Pablo Sandoval. This scenario is less likely, but a potential option in order to help work out the financial aspects to a trade.
WHY NOT TO TRADE HIM:
Imagine being the Mets GM who traded Nolan Ryan, or imagine being the Red Sox GM who sold Babe Ruth just to fund a play. This is the reason the Angels GM has refused to trade Mike Trout, and one of the main reason why it would be hard to trade Giancarlo Stanton. Being the GM who traded Stanton, especially if he stays at this level of insane production, would be a huge black mark on that GM’s resume, and it’s just something that someone might not want to do.
Another reason the team shouldn’t trade him is the new ownership. Stanton has become the face of the city over the course of his career, and if the new owners first move is to trade the most beloved player in the city, there could be some major backlash. Trading Stanton would put a big reset on the team and push them further under than they already are, and that could ruin the team once and for all. After paying 1.3 Billion dollars for the club, that’s the last thing Jeter & Co. want to happen.
The most important reason the team shouldn’t trade Stanton is obvious: baseball. A player of Stanton’s caliber doesn’t come very often, if they did this article wouldn’t be written. Chances are no prospect the Marlins get back will ever reach the level Stanton is playing at right now, and even if they did they wouldn’t reach that level for many years. With the team currently a threat to make the Wild Card, does this mean they’re a piece or two away from being a World Series threat? If the Marlin’s added one or two pitchers and maybe one more bat, the team could legitimately be a postseason threat. Wouldn’t it be a better story if Stanton is the hero that helped bring a championship to Miami by being a part of the team, instead of being the trade piece that made the team better in 5-10 years?
With the recent report that the new Marlins ownership wants to cut payroll once they officially take over, a Stanton trade seems more likely, but not definite. It will be very interesting to see what happens, but for now Miami is lucky to be able to enjoy a player of Stanton’s caliber.