Ever since Giancarlo Stanton voiced his displeasure on Twitter about the Marlins' 12-player fire-sale trade with the Toronto Blue Jays nearly three months ago, his name has been plastered all over the Internet.
It's no secret Stanton is more popular than Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria. After all, Stanton is a valuable, young commodity other teams covet, while the only public figure Loria might beat in a popularity contest, Fernand Amandi told the Miami Herald days after the Marlins-Blue Jays trade, is Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Amandi is the managing partner at Bendixen and Amandi International, a well-known international research, media and communication strategy firm.
And while this might be hard to swallow, especially if you're one of the 23 remaining Marlins fan, the Marlins need to trade Stanton now while his value is at its peak.
Unlike his teammates Wade LeBlanc and Justin Ruggiano—Marlins who the team should also sell high now (LeBlanc might have found his niche last year as a reliever rather than as a starter, although it was a small sample size; Ruggiano had a career year in 2012 after never playing more than 46 games in his previous three major league seasons)—Stanton is in high demand.
Well, Stanton will be once he demands a trade or when Marlins management tells the world Stanton is available.
Since the fire sale, multiple sources claim the Mariners have contacted the Marlins about Stanton's availability. Furthermore, one source close to the Marlins told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler "it would be easier to list who hasn't called." And finally, ESPN.com's Buster Olney tweeted the Texas Rangers, among other teams, are stockpiling assets for the moment the bidding for Stanton begins.
But the Marlins have every right to ask for a king's ransom because Stanton's salary is dirt cheap. Moreover, only once has a trade occurred involving a top-100 position player in WAR (wins above replacement) through their age-24 season for a package of prospects since 1950. That one trade involved former Marlin Miguel Cabrera, according to ESPN.com's David Schoenfield.
As some of you might recall, the Marlins traded Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers for a package of six players, highlighted by top prospects Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller, in 2007. At the time of the deal, Cabrera had just finished his first year of arbitration and earned $7.4 million. Meanwhile, Stanton earned $480,000 last season and won't be eligible for arbitration until after the 2013 season.
Whichever team is lucky enough to snatch Stanton from the Marlins, assuming the Marlins do sell high for him, will get a productive player. According to the Sun-Sentinel's Juan Rodriguez, here are some projected totals Stanton is expected to produce this season as a Marlin:
—The Bill James Handbook: .284 batting average, .365 on-base percentage, .605 slugging percentage with 43 home runs and 103 RBI in 151 games.
—Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections: .286 batting average, .367 on-base percentage, .606 slugging percentage with 41 home runs and 98 RBI in 569 plate appearances.
In most cases, those projections could only improve if Stanton is traded. That said, some of you might wonder why the Marlins should even consider trading Stanton now if that's what he could produce on a team that might lose 100 games?
The answer is simple: If Stanton is still angry about the fire sale, which Stanton confirmed to USA Today's Bob Nightengale a month ago, and the Marlins feel the chances of signing Stanton to a long-term extension is less than 50-50, then the Marlins should extract the most trade value possible before Stanton becomes too expensive to keep and the return on him shrinks.