Just a sentence involving the word “trade” when it comes to Giancarlo Stanton is enough to send many Miami Marlins’ fans into a fit of rage. However, that is the action that the team needs to take right now if Stanton rejects a long term offer from the team. As of yet, Miami has not made such an offer to Stanton, but it’d be making a big mistake to wait any longer. Once an offer is made they will be able to decide how to proceed in terms of the future of the franchise.
There is no debating that Stanton is one of the best players in MLB, and he should remain so for many seasons to come. This is not the first time that Miami has been in a position where it has a player every other team covets. Following the 2007 season, the Marlins were forced to trade Miguel Cabrera to the Detroit Tigers for a package of prospects headlined by Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller. As has been well chronicled over the years, that package did not pan out for Miami while Cabrera has gone on to become the MVP in each of the last two seasons. At the time it appeared that the Marlins had received fair value, but that is the risk that comes with prospects even those that are considered “can’t miss” by analysts.
Taking into consideration the failed Cabrera deal, it’d be in the Marlins’ best interest to offer Stanton a fair deal to keep him in Miami for many years to come. Whether he will sign a deal of any kind from the team remains to be seen, but they need to at least make the effort. Despite his anger towards the organization following the trade with the Toronto Blue Jays last November, Stanton still may agree to a fair deal that sets him up for life. A player never knows when a career ending injury could be around the corner, and it’s tough to walk away from guaranteed money that reaches potentially $100 million or more.
If the team makes a big offer and Stanton does decide to decline it and go year-to-year, then Miami needs to trade Stanton immediately and not wait until after the 2014 season. The Marlins should be able to secure a substantial package for the slugger as he enters his first year of arbitration. That return would likely diminish with each year that passes, and there is simply no benefit to holding onto a player who would rather be elsewhere. Despite the failure of the Cabrera trade, there would remain a chance that the package coming back to Miami would end up a success. The Texas Rangers are known to be interested in Stanton and have been for a while, and a package centered around Jurickson Profar could prove to be very valuable to the Marlins. The Los Angeles Dodgers could also be in play to acquire the hometown stud but it remains to be seen if they have the pieces that the Marlins would be seeking.
It won’t be easy for Marlins’ fans to see Stanton dealt, and it may drive attendance even further down. However, if the team puts the ball in his court in terms of a long contract and he declines then there is only one correct move left for Miami.