ESPN.com's Buster Olney shared a quick nugget the other day in his daily blog, noting that the Rangers were doing "some early reconnaissance on how they could put together some kind of a deal" for Giancarlo Stanton. This shouldn't come as a shock. The Rangers' front office is very proactive and it makes perfect sense to be poking the Miami Marlins about Stanton, even a few months prior to the trade deadline.
Of course, the Marlins may not deal him then. But why not be prepared? So let's say the Marlins make it clear at some point in July that they'll listen to offers for Stanton. What might it take to get him?
Every deal starts with Jurickson Profar, the No. 1-ranked prospect according to ESPN.com's Keith Law. Now that the Rangers have signed Elvis Andrus to a long-term deal that keeps him in Texas at least through the 2018 season, they can afford to ship Profar. But they won't do that for just anybody. It's got to be a frontline starter or a middle-of-the-lineup bat, and either of those possibilities should be under team control for a few years.
Stanton fits the bill. He's under team control through the 2016 season, so the Rangers would be trading a package fronted by Profar for someone who won't hit the free agent market right away. Yes, he's struggled so far this season (and has dealt with shoulder soreness), but he hit. 290 with 37 homers and 86 RBIs in 449 at-bats last year. It was a third straight season of solid numbers with his average and homers going up. He's got a track record, albeit a brief one, of success.
To get him, Profar won't be enough. Mike Olt makes some sense here, as well. The Marlins could use a third baseman with a glove like Olt's, and while he struggled in spring training, he's got a bat with upside. The Marlins would likely want pitching. The Rangers, staying in prospect mode, could let them choose one or two from a group including Martin Perez, Justin Grimm, Cody Buckel, and maybe Nick Tepesch. Would Leonys Martin factor in here somewhere? Maybe.
But the Marlins are likely to want a piece that's in the majors and would be under club control for a while. Derek Holland or Matt Harrison would be examples. If that happens, the prospect package has to drop or it's too high a price to pay. Perhaps the Rangers will feel any package that includes one of its starters at the big league level is too high a price to pay. They worked hard to tie up the starting staff long term and won't want to break that up. But maybe there are other possibilities -- like a Robbie Ross, for instance -- that could be factored in to some kind of deal.
But it's probably going to take a strong prospect package and some pieces at the big league level to get this done.
Your turn. Give me an offer for Stanton that you think the Marlins would take (and the Rangers would be willing to give).