As a trade rumor, it's been speculated about longer than just about all others, and now that the Miami Marlins' hopes to be surprise contenders in 2014 have been all but torn apart along with the right elbow of ace Jose Fernandez, well, it's about time to at least reconsider the possibility that Giancarlo Stanton could be traded in the near future.
This isn't to say there's been much in the way of reports or developments on this front, but the idea of swapping Stanton is always a popular one given his equally immense talent and potential. Throw in what Stanton has done so far this year in dominating to the tune of .305/.400/.588 with 12 homers and an MLB-high 44 RBI (through May 21), and his value may never be higher.
Of course, actually carrying out a trade of one of the biggest bats in the sport isn't easy. It takes finding just the right match of talent—both quality and quantity—and finances on each side of a potential transaction.
On the Marlins' end, they are going to want a whole heaping pile of elite prospects and young, club-controlled, impact big leaguers. And with their limited budget, they won't be into taking on any high-salaried players in return. Right away, that limits the number of suitors who even could propose a reasonable offer for Stanton.
Meanwhile, because Stanton remains under team control for a few more years himself—he'll be a free after 2016—presumably any team interested in acquiring him will want to be able to lock him up in a long-term deal. Especially considering the value of the package it will take to land him in the first place.
In other words, as we run down a handful of clubs who have the best chance to make a run at Stanton, the focus will be on teams who meet at least one of the following two criteria (if not both): One, a farm system deep and talented enough to meet the Marlins' craving for young, cheap talent; and two, an ability to pay out a multiyear, nine-figure contract to Stanton.
Although the Marlins certainly don't have to trade Stanton any time soon, the point here is to try to highlight the few clubs who actually could concoct a theoretical—yet realistic—proposal the Marlins might not be able to refuse.