Odds of being traded by trade deadline: 25-to-1
Stanton, out since April 29 with a hamstring injury, returned from the disabled list on June 10 and immediately began spraying balls into the stratosphere.
Stanton has hit safely in all seven games since his return (11-for-28, .393) and has smacked four home runs with 10 RBI. His first home run, a two-run shot in the bottom of the eighth, gave the Marlins a 5-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on June 11.
On Monday, Stanton single-handedly beat the Arizona Diamondbacks with a pair of home runs—a two-run bomb followed by a game-winning solo blast off former Marlins closer Heath Bell in the top of the ninth—in a 3-2 win.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond told the Sun-Sentinel that he is thrilled to have Stanton back in the lineup:
His swing looks good. He looks confident, even missing an extended period of time. He's got some big hits. Before he got injured he was feeling his way around. He's not like that now. He's going up there and he feels like he can get a big hit anytime. The good thing is we're starting to get some guys on in front of him and that ensures he gets pitched to. When they have to pitch to a guy like that he can do some damage.
Although the Marlins have said Stanton isn't available, there's a long list of teams wanting to acquire the 23-year-old slugger. So far, the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and the Texas Rangers are some of those teams reportedly to have checked on Stanton since the season began.
The other issue, besides the Marlins rebuffing every outside overture, is what Stanton might fetch at the trade deadline given his slow start and the hamstring injury
"If they trade him in-season, they probably wouldn't get any major league talent," one executive told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark in May. "So given everything that's happened with their team and their attendance, are they really in a position to make a deal for him where they just get back prospects? Probably not. So they're better off keeping him all year and trading him in the offseason, so they're getting some major league pieces in return."
However, a couple of factors works against this logic.
One is that Stanton has quickly rebuilt his value and if he proves he can stay healthy in the next month, his value might never be higher considering he will eligible for arbitration after the season.
Secondly, some teams that have zeroed in on the Stanton sweepstakes might be desperate enough to unload everything, including the kitchen sink in terms of prospects, in order to obtain Stanton for the stretch run.
For instance, if the Phillies feel they are contenders, they could use a right-handed power bat to balance their aging lineup. The Rangers might be compelled to give their offense a shot in the arm since they are 7-14 in their last 21 games and averaging 3.5 runs per game during that stretch.
And we haven't even mentioned other under-the-radar teams such as the Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates.
So while the Marlins maintain Stanton isn't available, all it takes is for some team to throw out an offer the Marlins can't refuse to get their attention.