The San Francisco Giants are reigning world champions and have won two of the last three World Series titles. Giants GM Brian Sabean succeeded in his goal of keeping the core of the team together by re-signing free agents Marco Scutaro, Angel Pagan and Jeremy Affeldt.
Sabean also signed outfielder Andres Torres, who will platoon with Gregor Blanco in left field. That move did not excite the Giants fanbase, as Torres does not add much pop to the Giants offense. Torres is an excellent defensive player and has great speed, but little power or RBI potential.
The Giants will still look to add another utility infielder and right-handed relief pitcher. Former closer Brian Wilson may be in the mix, but only if he's willing to accept an incentive-laden contract.
Outside of these last few tweaks, the Giants are most probably set to open the season.
There is one impact move the Giants should pursue: a trade with the Miami Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton. He is a big-time slugger and only 23 years old. In addition, Stanton would not be eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season.
Stanton, who grew up in the Los Angeles area, would most certainly be thrilled with a move back to the West Coast. In addition, anything that gets him out of the fiscal meltdown in Miami would be welcomed.
The Marlins are on record as saying they do not plan to trade Stanton; however, they have listened to offers. This is a smart move, as you never want to reduce the value of a player by letting the world know you want to deal him.
The more they deny wanting to trade Stanton, the more his value jumps up. Miami still might be willing to make a move, if they get enough in return.
The Giants can certainly use Stanton and move him to left field. In 2012, in only 449 at-bats, Stanton hit .290 with 37 home runs and 86 RBI. His SLG led the league at .608 and his OPS was an astounding .969.
Marlins Park is one of the more difficult parks to hit home runs in, but Stanton has such prestigious power, it could not hold him. His numbers should not suffer with a move to AT&T Park in San Francisco.
The key to a deal is what could the Giants offer that might intrigue the Marlins.
It won't be cheap, but the Giants have the chips that might interest the Marlins. Here's the offer that might interest Jeffrey Loria, the Marlins' owner.
The Giants could offer starting first baseman Brandon Belt, left-handed reliever Dan Runzler, highly touted minor league outfielder Gary Brown and one of their good young arms currently in the minors.
The Giants have several young starting pitchers who are showing great promise in the minors. These include Chris Heston, Kyle Crick, Martin Agosta, Chris Stratton and Clayton Blackburn.
Heston is closest to being ready for the majors, but it's Crick and Blackburn that most excite the Giants brass. Sabean does not like to deal young pitching, but it's the only type of asset that would bring in a player of Stanton's stature.
The Giants would undoubtedly have to include one of these top young pitchers, but they should make that move. A player like Stanton is a franchise-caliber player, and there are questions about how well Belt and Brown will develop.
In addition, you never know about young pitchers once they reach the majors: Hitters make adjustments and many young pitchers take time to re-adjust to the hitters.
The one other result of moving Brandon Belt would be opening up a hole at first base. This is a position that's easier to fill than a budding superstar outfielder who is only 23 years of age.
The Giants could look to acquire a veteran first baseman via free agency or trade. The other option would include moving Pablo Sandoval to first base, and they would also give Buster Posey several starts as well.
Would you make the proposed deal for Stanton?
This deal involves acquiring superstar quality versus a decent player in Belt and potential, which may or may not ever pan out. If this type of trade would appeal to the Marlins, Sabean should make that move. It never hurts to ask.