With Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle among the five Marlins dealt to Ontario in the blockbuster 12-player trade with the Toronto Blue Jays, the 23-year-old outfielder is all that remains of a talented core that was expected to compete for playoff berths and NL East titles.
Stanton could have been shipped out too if not for the fact that he's a young, inexpensive player who's under team control for four more years. He isn't eligible for arbitration until after next season, meaning he won't be a free agent until 2016.
The Marlins could decide to deal Stanton away before his salary increases significantly through arbitration, as they did in 2007 with Miguel Cabrera. But with approximately $44 million cleared off next season's payroll and $160 million or so in contracts unloaded on the Blue Jays, Miami now has plenty of available funds for Stanton.
But do the Marlins have any interest in assembling a contender? Is the plan to just continue the cycle of developing players, then trading them when they become expensive for new prospects that will eventually be dealt away?
Every so often, those players may even develop together into a team capable of winning a World Series.
The Marlins supposedly had a new business model last year when their new ballpark was ready and they tried to give money away to every top free agent available. Yet four months into the season—and especially now during the offseason—owner Jeffrey Loria went back to the old way of doing business.
Under those circumstances, does Stanton really want to be with the Marlins for the next four years (or even just one year) if they seemingly have no intent to contend? This tweet posted shortly after news of the trade broke might provide some insight.
Alright, I'm pissed off!!! Plain & Simple
— Giancarlo Stanton (@Giancarlo818) November 13, 2012
Stanton doesn't appear to be happy with the current way of doing business in Miami.
Though Stanton was obviously referring to his mood at the time, the reasons for him being pissed off might not really be plain and simple.
Is he mad to see the team's best players, besides himself, get traded off? Does he feel he was lied to by the front office and ownership? Is he upset because this means the Marlins likely won't be a contender next year?
Could Stanton be mad because he wasn't traded too? Might he demand to be shipped out of town, preferably to a team that wants to win?
Stanton very well could ask to be traded, but the Marlins likely aren't going to accommodate him right now. As the New York Post's Joel Sherman tweeted, Stanton was not on the list of available players that the Marlins circulated around last week's GM meetings.
Despite evidence to the contrary, the Marlins need someone worth watching in their lineup. Even when the team has been bad, it's had hitters like Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez who can put up great numbers and produce highlight-worthy plays.
For all the comments asking how anyone could pay to see the Marlins after ownership filleted the roster, Stanton is still a player who can do something spectacular—like hit a 494-foot home run—every time he goes to bat. Sluggers who hit more than 30 homers a year are always going to attract attention.
Stanton is also a strong defensive player, according to FanGraphs' Ultimate Zone Rating. He saved nine runs more than an average right fielder this season. Additionally, he was credited with 10 defensive runs saved.
Stanton is too good of a player to have been included in that trade to the Blue Jays. Ideally, he should be able to fetch two to three top prospects by himself. As mentioned above, his salary isn't big enough for the Marlins to dump off. Not yet anyway.
His value is only going to increase. If Stanton can hit 37 home runs at the age of 23, what is he capable of once he reaches his prime years of 26 or 27 years old? By then, the Marlins should be able to get even more in return for him.
However, Stanton will be worth more to a team if he's under team control for multiple seasons. So he will probably be traded while he still has two or three arbitration years remaining. The Marlins can ask for even more in a trade knowing that a team can have an elite power hitter for more than one season.
So Stanton will probably have to be patient. He's obviously angry now. He might be upset through all of next season. If he sulks or pouts like Ramirez did, perhaps he can provoke a trade sooner, though he would hurt his value in the process.
But Stanton will eventually be traded. It might be two years from now. Miami certainly won't sign him to a long-term contract unless it's to buy out his arbitration seasons.
Unless Stanton wants the security that comes with a multi-year deal, why would he make that sort of commitment to the Marlins? Of course, he will probably be traded anyway, so perhaps there's not that much difference.
Regardless, Stanton won't have to worry about being with the Marlins for another four seasons. Loria will deal him away before he becomes a free agent. This is what he does.
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