These past few weeks have been full of rumors surrounding the possibility of Miami Marlins Right Fielder Giancarlo Stanton being traded. Why? If you were living under a rock, Giancarlo Stanton became the first Marlin to take home MVP honors and bashed a league-leading 59 home runs in 2017. There’s a lot of ways to say “Home Run” in today’s game. Dinger, Homer, Tater, Round-Tripper, etc. The list goes on and on, but Stanton doesn’t hit any of those. The guys his bonafide, Grade A certified MOONSHOTS. He’s sending so many baseballs to the moon that NASA and Elon Musk are racing to collect them.
Want a good stat to tell you how massive of a star Stanton is? After only playing 3 full MLB season, the rest being derailed by injuries, Stanton is the franchise leader in Homers, RBIs, and WAR. The guy has been in the league for 8 years, played in 75% of the games through that period of time, and still is more than halfway to 500 Home Runs. The guy is a stud. We used to laugh at his contract, but it seems like he’s starting to live up to the hype.
While these trade rumors bask in speculation, hype and seem almost laughable to consider, I thought it would be interesting to take a look and see if there’s any weight to them. Could Giancarlo be on the move or is this just another fish tale?
Trades of the Same Caliber
Let’s look at the last MVP to be traded the season after he won the MVP: Alex Rodriguez.
Look at that smile. Jeez.
Before going into A-Rod let’s first take a moment to acknowledge that other MVPs have been traded after they won the Award. Guys like Rickey Henderson, Ken Griffey, Jr., Jose Canseco, Keith Hernandez, Rod Carew, Frank Robinson, the list goes on, were all traded post-MVP award. However, A-Rod is the only player to win the Award and then get shipped out before the next season. A-Rod is literally the only player to win an MVP award in one team’s uniform and then receive it while wearing another because of a trade.
This might go down as the worst trade in the history of returns for a product, but it’s still worthwhile to use as a blueprint. Just three years before the trade went down, the Texas Rangers signed A-Rod to a 10-year, $252 million dollar deal, offering far more than any other team in pursuit of the 25-year-old shortstop.
So 3 years later, A-Rod is tearing it up in Arlington and no one is watching because the team is in the cellar. What happened in 2003? The Red Sox/Yankees rivalry hit a boiling point. When I talk about the Red Sox I have to stop and actively separate the 2003 and 2004 seasons, because those two seasons were so overwhelming for my middle school brain that they fused together in fear and euphoria. Seriously, sometimes my brain thinks that Aaron Boone hit that walk-off homer in Game 6 and then the Sox went on to win Game 7. That’s my brain on the Sox/Yanks rivalry.
So after the Yankees went to their 6th World Series in years and the Sox looking for answers, both teams
The Red Sox were close to making a deal for A-Rod before the MLB Player’s Association put the kibosh on the notion of restructuring his contract post-trade. Regardless, the Red Sox knew that A-Rod was going to be thrust into an even bigger spotlight once the trade went through, so restructuring to receive more control of his image rights makes a hell of a lot of sense. However, they would be willing to part with licensing rights, in A-Rod shaved off about $28 million of his remaining contract. Sports Illustrated irons out the rest of the details in their piece on the “What Ifs” of this trade:
“The full scope of the trades that had been hammered out had the 27-year-old Rodriguez going from Texas to Boston in exchange for 31-year-old Manny Ramirez, pitching prospect Jon Lester—then just two seasons into his professional career and a month shy of his 20th birthday—and cash. Nomar Garciaparra, then 29, would have gone to the White Sox along with reliever Scott Williamson, 27, in exchange for going-on-30-year-old outfielder Magglio Ordonez and 20-year-old pitching prospect Brandon McCarthy. ” – What if Alex Rodriguez had been traded to the Red Sox After All?, Sports Illustrated
That’s a trade to delve into another time. But… SWEET. JESUS. The Texas Rangers gets Manny and Lester? The White Sox snag Nomar? Can you imagine?
So what did the Rangers get in return for shipping the reigning AL MVP to New York? Alfonso Soriano, Cash, and a Player to be named later, Joaquin Arias.
Let’s break this down. The Red Sox offer John Lester and Manny Ramirez. You take Alfonso Soriano and Top-Level Shortstop prospect. Do you kick yourself or let it go? I think you throw your hands up and say, “What was I supposed to do?” The Rangers made a lot of bold singings that never really paid off. Chan Ho Park’s 5-year $65 million deal was a tough on to swallow especially after his first season in Arling where he posted a 5.75 ERA. They needed to dump salary to rebuild, to start over, to get out from under themselves.
What Soriano gave the Rangers was a top-notch infielder at little to no cost. Soriano was still arbitrary eligible in 2004, making only $5.4 million dollars and $7.25 million the following year. Soriano was coming off of three previous seasons that saw him atop the MVP lists and even third in Rookie of the Year voting. The Rangers didn’t get taken for a ride, quite the contrary, they got a smarter contract.
In regards to Joaquin Arias, the Rangers got a bit of a gamble that didn’t pan out the way they thought it would. Arias immediately became the #4 prospect in the Rangers system when he arrived, and for the next three years, he would remain at the #3, #4 and #6 positions. After those three years, he dropped to #26 and never came back above. From there he bounced around eventually landing in San Francisco where he would win two rings as a member of the 2010 and 2012 San Francisco Giants. Arias is not the complete loss he’s thought to be in the long run, but Texas didn’t hold on long enough to see the fruits of their labor.
So what does this tell us about Giancarlo’s trade options? A lot. I’ll tell you this, the guy who experienced first hand what a guy of A-Rod and Stanton’s caliber can do for a team is the one who is now holding the cards in Miami. Derek Jeter will not stand for getting nothing in return, he’s not a Texas Ranger after all.
So A-Rod’s price tag was a young, team-controlled, fully formed player, and a top-level prospect. Have we had any deals go down like that in recent years? YUP. Will we see one this year? I think it’s too early to tell.
Look, what this really comes down to are two very important details to this trade being formed.
A) The Marlins need a rebuild.
B) Someone has to eat this contract.
Let’s start with A.
The Marlins have a stacked outfield even without Stanton. Ozuna and Yelich are superstars in the making and I hate that they play in the NL East. Seriously. These guys swing hot bats and can bolt down the line. They’re also exceptional fielders, so much so that you could throw either one in Center and they’ll get the job done. Even in their minor league system they have Brian Miller, who just hit .322 and stolen 21 bases for the Greensboro Grasshoppers. They have a young gun waiting in the wings.
Towards the infield, the Marlins still have Justin Bour, who hits dongs like he’s trying to win a stuffed animal at a county fair. J.T. Realmuto is also a solid young player coming into his own. I mean, a catcher who hits .359 from the leadoff spot and can hit in the bottom of the lineup? Come on. The former is actually unheard of.
So what do they lack? Financial Flexibility and Pitching.In our first full season after José Fernandez’s death, it’s become very apparent that Fernandez not only left a big hole in the Marlins organization and the Miami community’s hearts but also in the Miami rotation. To lose a star of that magnitude set this team back multiple years and now this trade could possibly bolster the rotation for the future.
When you take a look at the Top 30 Marlins prospects you begin to see a theme. It’s half Outfielders and half Right-handed pitchers. Sounds like a great thing to have, unless you need solid starters literally RIGHT NOW and have two young solid, soon to be league leading outfielders. The Marlins need a Lucas Giolito, a 2015 Steven Matz, a 2014 Jacob deGrom. The need a young gunslinger.
Now on to B. Someone’s gotta eat this contract, and they’re gonna need a big spoon to do it. There is $295 million left on the remaining 10 years of Stanton’s deal. At an average of $29.5 million a year, that makes Giancarlo the highest paid position player in the game of baseball. In fact, here’s a tidbit for you guys to chew on. Over the next 10 years, Giancarlo Stanton will make $80K A DAY. FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS. WHAT IS THAT MATH I HATE IT I WANT TO BE GIANCARLO STANTON. But who’s gonna pay the man?
There is now a list of teams circulation around and you just know that Ken Rosenthal and Buster Olney are hitting up all of their secretive sources trying to get a glimpse of the four teams who made the cut. We all know that Giants and the Cardinals have been keeping tabs on Stanton since September. We also know that Giancarlo grew up in the LA area, so a homecoming could be in the cards, but then again, the Dodgers are about to go into some very serious contract negotiations in the near future and trying up $29.5 million a year on a guy who plays a position you have great depth at, might not make the most sense.
All I’m saying is that there are a lot of different sides to this and this week at 3 Up, 3 Down we’re gonna take a look at all of Stanton’s Suitors. Things are going to get interesting. the Hot Stove season is the best, isn’t it?