That’s not something every organization can legitimately say. The price for Stanton is going to be steep–likely two to three top prospects and other pieces–and many organizations simply don’t have that in their farm system. And many of the ones who do don’t want to pay it.
For the Pirates, they don’t want to pay the prospect price, or likely the contracts Stanton is going to command in arbitration over three of the next four seasons.
But they have no one to blame but themselves.
If the Pirates wanted to land Stanton, they’re one of the few teams who could convince the Marlins to part ways with their lone remaining star. Within their farm system, they have not one, but two, potential frontline starters whom the Marlins would likely covet. Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon represent the the latest phase of the Pirates two-decade long rebuilding project and the best chance they have of developing their own way out of their funk.
But neither one is Stanton. They could be, but there’s no guarantee. We know what Stanton is.
Parting with one of their young horses for a few years of a star would be short-sighted, but the Pirates would get a minimum of four years of Stanton’s services. That’s potentially between 15-20 wins of value. The Pirates are in the enviable position of being able to trade a potential ace and still have one remaining in their system.
The Pirates could formulate a deal centering around Taillon without parting with their top prospect. No other team can do that while offering a prospect as good as Taillon. That puts the Pirates in the driver’s seat, or at least it would if they would get in the car.
But the Pirates, who greatly over-value their own talent and ask for the world in most deals, are not likely to pony up the prospects to make a move. The ever-stagnant Pirates will instead stay the course on their rebuilding project and let it play out the way they intended.
Which is not necessarily the wrong move. Pairing Giancarlo Stanton with Andrew McCutchen in their outfield would give them the centerpiece of a potentially contending team. The price will be high, but it could be worth it. Just once, however, it would be nice to see them take a risk and make something happen for themselves. They have an opportunity to do just that here.