The Miami Marlins can't be very motivated to trade Giancarlo Stanton by July 31. He makes $537,000 this season, his last before reaching arbitration, so it won't help them financially. If anything, attendance at Marlins Park could dip even further without Stanton in the lineup and they could actually lose money.
So if saving money is a priority, they could just trade him before next season, when he'll make at least $5 million, in my estimation.
In addition, the number of teams with the resources to make a trade of this magnitude will increase in the offseason when all 30 teams are hopeful of being contenders again. For example, the Astros have more elite prospects (5) than any team in baseball, according to Baseball Prospectus' midseason prospect rankings, and the Cubs will have four if top draft pick Kris Bryant signs.
But as non-contenders, it's unlikely their focus is on acquiring Stanton unless their strategy is to get a jump on the offseason.
Lastly, it might not be the best idea in the world to trade a 23-year-old with three years left of team control and superstar potential who's already established as one of the most-feared home run hitters in the game for a package of unproven players. At least not before it's absolutely necessary.
Stanton's light-tower power is rare. While it's easy to think he'd be more valuable on a team that doesn't play its home games in such a pitcher-friendly park, he can hit the ball out of any ballpark. Employing one of the few players in baseball who isn't affected by the spacious confines of Marlins Park—he hit 16 long balls at home in Year 1 of the ballpark's existence—is actually a good strategy.
In fact, it's probably a good enough reason to build the team around Stanton and do whatever it takes to sign him to a long-term deal that will keep him in Miami until he's at least 30 years old, when he could be approaching the 400-home run mark.
The problem is that the organization alienated Stanton and the Marlins fanbase—their average home attendance of 17,262 is last in baseball and down 10,000 per game from 2012—when they traded three of their best players to the Blue Jays this past offseason. The 6'6" slugger isn't likely to sign a long-term extension until the Marlins show a willingness to invest in the major league roster again.
And the organization might not want to start adding lucrative salaries to the payroll again with fans staying away from a brand new stadium.
If owner Jeffrey Loria isn't planning on adding significant dollars and veteran talent to the roster anytime soon as he did prior to the 2012 season, it could make sense to focus on building a strong farm system.
The Astros and general manager Jeff Luhnow are getting a lot of praise with their rebuilding efforts after trading away most of the team's best players in 2012, including Chris Johnson, Carlos Lee, Brett Myers and Wandy Rodriguez. They didn't trade away a young player of Stanton's ability, but Luhnow may have considered it if he thought it would make his team better two or three seasons down the road.
So here's the question. Will the Marlins be better off in 2015 with Stanton in the lineup or with the three top prospects he could net them in a July trade? Here's a look at a Marlins roster with Stanton and a Marlins roster after each of three potential July trade scenarios.
Be sure to discuss your preferred choice in the comments section.