Today's player: Giancarlo Stanton
Perhaps we're a year early (were we two years early when Stanton appeared in our series last year?) on throwing Stanton's name out there, but you never know when the Miami Marlins might consider dealing him.
General manager Dan Jennings said earlier this month on SirusXMRadio's "The Front Office" show that Stanton isn't going anywhere.
"Mr. Stanton is not available," Jennings said on the show, hosted by ESPN.com contributor Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette. "He is going to be in right field at Marlins Park, and [we're] looking forward to having a big year with him. We're excited. We think it's going to be a lot of fun building around him, and what he can mean to this ballclub and that city."
It makes sense. If you're the Marlins, you take the next year to offer Stanton a long-term deal and hope you can coax him to stay in sunny Miami. But at some point, if Stanton doesn't want to stay, the Marlins have to do something or risk getting nothing (or very little) in return. Stanton has huge value and could bring a nice haul for the Marlins' future at a variety of spots.
Stanton, who hit .249 with 24 homers and 62 RBIs and a .845 OPS in 2013, is entering his first year of arbitration. He's under club control through the 2016 season, and, at 24 years old, is a young player with a high ceiling that could help the middle of anyone's lineup. He's hit at least 24 homers in each of his four seasons in the big leagues, including 37 homers and 86 RBIs in 123 games in 2012. He's played just about all of his games in right field at the big league level.
Why he makes sense: Even though the Rangers filled one need for a power-hitter by trading for Prince Fielder, GM Jon Daniels has already said they need more. Stanton would provide that. And the Rangers would be getting a player they could add to their core, in that this wouldn't be a one- or two-year proposition. If a deal goes down now, Stanton would be in Texas at least for the next three seasons. And, of course, the team would have time to attempt to negotiate a longer-term deal in that time.
Why he doesn't make sense: Price in terms of prospects. The Marlins sit in a great spot: They can demand a high price for Stanton. That would start with Jurickson Profar, but it might include a Roughned Odor or Luke Jackson or Joey Gallo or even a young major league piece or two. The Rangers must ask how many of those young players they are willing to give up and what combination makes sense. Do you give up Profar now that you've traded Ian Kinsler to create a spot for him to start?
Bottom line: Like we argued last year, Stanton is one of those players that you trade Profar to get. The Rangers have to use the Profar trade opportunity wisely, and this is one of those big opportunities (David Price is the other and he may be a bit more realistic in that he's likely to be available now). And with Fielder in the fold, the Rangers aren't quite as desperate as they could be. Still, Stanton would be a terrific, long-term addition. The real question: Would the Marlins bite at that package and trade him?