With a 2-11 record, the Miami Marlins are off to their worst start since they began the 1998 season at 1-11.
And since the franchise isn't expected to be playoff-bound after its latest fire sale last November, the franchise is looking for a couple of cornerstone players to build around. Ironically, 1998 was the year after the franchise's first fire sale.
To the untrained eye, many would say the Marlins should build around Giancarlo Stanton. Those casual observers are right, despite Stanton's slow start (.167 batting average with zero home runs and zero runs batted in).
Unfortunately, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria might not be one of those people. When Loria went on his three-day PR media blitz in late February, he was noncommittal about a long-term extension for the 23-year-old slugging right fielder.
"He'll be here this year and I'm hopeful he'll come here the next year and when we have our opportunity to talk to him, we'll cross that bridge," Loria told the press, via The Miami Herald, when asked if Stanton would only be here for one more year.
He went on to say:
We will cross that bridge. He's a Marlin. You're jumping the gun. I would love to see him be the young centerpiece on this ballclub. He'd be the young giant on the ballclub. But you can't make promises in this game because strange things happen all the time. I can tell you he is 23 years old now. He's just beginning his career.
Later, when asked if waiting to offer Stanton a long-term extension sent the wrong message, Loria replied that he wanted Stanton to feel comfortable about the team's stability as well as the direction it is headed.
Perhaps Loria said that because he's still fuming about Stanton's "Alright, I'm pissed off!!! Plain & Simple" tweet hours after the fire sale was first reported. After all, Loria told first baseman Logan Morrison he’s still a big part of the Marlins’ future, but it also wasn’t lost on Loria how maturely Morrison handled the offseason upheaval, according to The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson.
If the Marlins decide to trade Stanton, whom might the they build around? Well, here are two candidates who have shown flashes of brilliance since spring training: right-handed pitcher Jose Fernandez and outfielder Christian Yelich.