Miami Marlins Firesale: Why the Angels Need to Inquire About Giancarlo Stanton
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This was the scene in the Marlins' front office on Tuesday.
Well, maybe not, but it was pretty darn close.
If the trade does indeed goes through (the trade is not yet completed due to the players needing to pass their physicals), the Marlins would be shipping Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck up across the border and in return, the Blue Jays would send back Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jacob Marisnick, Jeff Mathis, Henderson Alvarez, Anthony DeSclafani and Justin Nicolino.
It would be a heck of a haul for the Blue Jays, who can only make the already-competitive AL East even tougher.
But for the Marlins... well, the entire sports world is just grilling them for what they've done.
The Chicago Tribune called the trade "shameful."
Deadspin straight up unloaded on them.
And on a stadium-related note (a publicly-funded stadium, remember?), Bob Nightengale of USA Today wrote that, "The Miami Marlins pulled off the ultimate Ponzi scheme, getting South Florida taxpayers to pay for a new ballpark to watch a product that simply doesn't exist."
Through all of this, I (as well as plenty of baseball fans too if I had to guess) couldn't help but feel absolutely terrible for the Marlins' stud slugger, Giancarlo Stanton.
If you were the Miami Marlins, would you trade Giancarlo Stanton?
Even Stanton is angry with the trade... and why not?
If I had to guess, I feel like his reaction to the trade was along the lines of this Michael Scott freak out.
Presumably after catching wind of the Marlins' impending roster-gutting trade, Stanton tweeted out:
"Alright, I'm pissed off!!! Plain & Simple" (Bryce Harper actually had a funny response to this).
Within nine hours of furiously thumbing out his displeasure via Twitter, Stanton's 41-character rant was closing in on 13,000 retweets and had already chalked up more than 2,600 favorites.
This is the baseball equivalent of the movie I Am Legend, with Giancarlo Stanton taking over for the Fresh Prince as the lead man.
There are hardly any players left from last season. Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco, who tweeted out, "Huh? ......." in response to the trade, is one of them...but apparently not for much longer. Update: the same goes for their talented and Twitter-happy outfielder Logan Morrison.
The Marlins have traded everyone else...so why shouldn't they turn their fire sale into a blazing inferno by entertaining offers for the 23-year-old Stanton?
He's already one of the best power hitters in the game (he blasted 93 home runs before he turned 23) and would command a king's ransom (and some) in return...but isn't that what the Marlins have been looking for all offseason anyway?
This is where the Los Angeles Angels should step in.
The Angels would probably be able to land Stanton if they offered Vernon Wells in a one-for-one swap.
... Kidding. If only this were the year 2003, right?
Stanton is as valuable of a trade chip not named Mike Trout as there is in all of Major League Baseball, so presumably the Angels would have to offer some higher-end talent from their big league roster as well as a bevy of some of their best prospects.
From the Major League roster, I'd have to imagine that younger guys like Peter Bourjos, Kole Calhoun, Hank Conger, Nick Maronde, Garrett Richards and Mark Trumbo would have their names tossed around. Possibly even Kendrys Morales as well.
Maronde is 23, Conger and Richards are both 24, Bourjos and Calhoun are both 25 and Trumbo is 26, so the Angels certainly have the ability to offer some enticing and still youthful Major League-level talent.
Do the Angels have good enough prospects to make a fair deal for Stanton?
But to go along with that, I'd have to imagine that three of the Angels' top prospects would be a part of the deal at the absolute bare minimum.
The Brewers already gutted the Angels' farm system in the Zack Greinke deal by swooping up Jean Segura, Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena, the Halos' second, fourth and ninth-best prospects respectively at the time. Although there is far less talent in the Angels' Minor League ranks post-Greinke trade, there are still plenty of intriguing prospects that the Marlins could hook themselves into.
Kaleb Cowart, the Angels' top-ranked Minor Leaguer would most certainly have to be a part of the deal. Only 20 years old and fresh off a 100+ RBI season between A and A+ ball last year, the No. 18 pick of the 2010 draft projects to be a solid run-producing switch hitter. He has a rocket of an arm over at third base and his fielding percentage improved drastically from his 2011 campaign.
Cowart would almost assuredly be the prospect centerpiece of the deal.
Other guys to look out for could be the Angels' top Minor League arm in Cam Bedrosian, their No. 1 middle infielder Taylor Lindsey, emerging slugger C.J. Cron, the steady Luis Jimenez, the toolsy Chevy Clarke and the improving Randal Grichuk.
If a Stanton-centric deal could be consummated between the Angels and Marlins, the return the Halos could get off of it could be staggering. Slotting Stanton in the cleanup spot in the lineup with Albert Pujols batting in front of him and Mike Trout leading things off, the top part of the Angels' lineup could be a run-producing dynamo for the foreseeable future.
With Stanton being 23 and Trout being only 21, the Angels would certainly have one of the most productive outfields in all of Major League Baseball... and could hold that title for years if they could lock both up long-term.
Aside from the fact that Stanton has an excellent reason not to want to be a Marlin, he's already a Southern California kid (he was a three-sport star at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks) and would feel right at home in every sense of the saying.
On an odder note, it's quite rare to see a team trade their star young player and wind up being labeled, "the good guys", but the Marlins could actually help rebuild their image a little. By trading Stanton, the Marlins would be doing him a huge favor by saving him and his incredibly promising career from being mired in too many years of South Floridian obscurity. But at the same time, the more likely effect of a Stanton trade would be a complete alienation of an already indifferent and, frankly, pissed off fan base.
Stanton is under club control through 2016, but barring some remarkable flurry of free agent signings, I just can't seem to envision him signing a long-term deal with the Marlins.
If the stars somehow happen to align and Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto is comfortable with shipping out his top young big league talent and gutting his farm system to complete another blockbuster deal, watch out, AL West and watch out, rest of the league.
Pardon the pun, but, at this point in time, Giancarlo Stanton is the biggest of fish in the smallest of ponds.
If there even is a pond anymore.
Whether or not the Angels will put in an inquiry on Stanton's availability remains to be seen, but they would be absolute fools to not at least kick the tires a little bit.
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