Marlins will listen to offers, but will they make a deal?
It would be silly for the Miami Marlins to trade Giancarlo Stanton.
At age 22, Stanton enjoyed his consecutive 30-plus homerun season–37 homeruns to be exact–and a dominant .290/.361/.608 line to go along with it.
His 5.4 WAR is elite-worthy.
And with just 2.118 years of service, Stanton and his growing talent are under team control for the next four years (or close to it).
Yet, despite all this–and just being paid about 2% of his true value–the Marlins are willing to listen to trade offers on Stanton.
There haven’t been any particular teams linked to Stanton yet, but below are five that match-up, from a prospect perspective, with the Marlins.
The Orioles arguably need pitching more than they do additional offense, but then again, how often do players like Giancarlo Stanton come on the trade market?
It’s unlikely the surprisingly-competitive Orioles would dangle Manny Machado, who looks to be the team’s opening day third baseman, but that doesn’t mean all is lost.
Bundy, who was the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft, dazzled in three levels of the Minors (the highest being Double-A) last season, combing for a 2.08 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, and 4.25 K/BB (2.4 BB/9, 10.3 K/9) in 103.6 IP.
Gausman has a bit less Minor League experience, as he was the Orioles top pick in the 2012 draft (fourth overall), hurling just 15 innings, but posting a 3.60 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, and 13.00 K/BB (0.6 BB/9, 7.8 K/9). The Marlins would probably demand Bundy, but Gausman looks to be a legitimate top-of-the-rotation starter too.
While Wilson seems to be more polished (3.84 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 4.77 K/BB in 143 IP between A/A+), Rodriguez is the sexier prospect of the two considering he’s a hard-throwing southpaw.
The Marlins system–both on the Major and Minor League levels–are weak in the middle-infield.
Schoop, who is 20 years old, exhibited good homerun power in Double-A (14 HR), but was otherwise disappointing (.245/.324/.386 line in 55 PA’s). Marin, who is 18 years old (and was a third rounder in the 2012 draft) won’t have as much power as Schoop, but looks to be a better hitter, in general (.286/.340/.352 line in 216 PA’s). Whether these guys will be upgrades over Adeiny Hechavarria and Donovan Solano is another story.
Despite the poor showing (4.87 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 1.98 K/BB in 98 IP), Matusz still has value since he’s just 25 and is a left-handed pitcher with four, albeit, mediocre pitches. Aside from league-average control (3.8 BB/9) and strikeout totals (7.4 K/9), the lefty’s main issue is getting hit hard (10.3 Hits/9).
Before you say, “How about his .321 BABIP?,” consider his career BABIP was .320 before 2012. But hey, if this starting thing doesn’t work out, Matusz could have a nice career as a specialist out of the ‘pen: 1.35 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 6.33 K/BB, .114/.170/.182 line against LHH in 2012.
On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Jake Arrieta–he’s just so misunderstood! The 26 year-old posted a 6.20 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, and 3.11 K/BB in 114.6 IP last seasoon, in what was one of the most split surface and peripheral season a starting pitcher could have.
Despite having a career .283 BABIP, the righty rolled balls at a much-escalated .323 BABIP clip. Also, Arrieta ranked dead-last among starting pitchers in stand rate (58.2% LOB%), and did so despite owning a 69.5% rate and 72.7% rate in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
These two unfortunate statistics led to an inordinate volume of baserunners, and perhaps accounted for his cavernous 6.20 ERA vs. 3.65 xFIP disparity.
If the Marlins are smart, they’ll also notice Arrieta’s across the board improvements in 2012.
The righty improved his control (from career 4.4 BB/9 to 2.7 BB/9), strikeouts (from career 5.9 K/9 to 8.6 K/9), fastball velocity (from average 92.4 MPH in 2011 to 93.4 MPH in 2012), and fastball (from -8.8 RAA in 2011 to -1.2 RAA in 2012) and curveball effectiveness (from -3.2 RAA in 2011 to 4.7 RAA in 2012).
Arrieta could immediately be inserted into the Marlins rotation, and if he pitches closer to his xFIP, he could either be a nice long-term option or trade chip for the Marlins.
NEW YORK YANKEES
The Yankees actually have one of the deepest systems from a pitching and future starting outfield perspective–so any deal involving Stanton would net the Marlins some very viable future stars.
In any deal for Stanton, the package would start with Tyler Austin and possibly Mason Williams too. Austin split time between four levels of the Minors in 2012–and as high as Double-A–posting a combined .322/.400/.559 line with 17 HR, 80 RBI, 92 R, and 23 SB.
The 21 year-old right-handed hitter will probably start the season at Double-A in 2013, but could see a quick promotion to Triple-A if he picks up where he left off in 2012.
Like Austin, Mason Williams appears to be a difference-making outfielder.
Williams, who is also 21 years-old, might have less pop (.474 SLG vs. .559 SLG) than Austin, but boasts more speed and is heralded as a plus defender in center. Overall, Williams’ .298/.346/.474 line with 11 HR, 35 RBI, 68 R, and 20 SB in 397 PA’s would be a great addition to any system.
Black, who is a 21 year-old righty, was promoted twice (to Single-A) since being drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. The righty owned a dominant 3.08 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 3.33 K/BB in 52.6 IP last season, but posted an incredible 5.80 K/BB at Single-A (1.9 BB/9, 11.0 K/9).
Also, according to John Sickels, Black touched 100 MPH on the gun. There’s little not to like about Black.
The other pitching prospect the Marlins could covet is Montgomery, who could possibly be a Major League closer as soon as the second half of 2013 (but 2014, more realistically). In 64.3 innings last season, the 22 year-old reliever held hitters to a meager 1.54 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and 4.50 K/BB (3.1 BB/9, 13.8 K/9).
For those worried about his walk total, Montgomery posted a 2.2 BB/9 once he was promoted to Double-A, and didn’t have to sacrifice strikeouts to do it (from 13.6 K/9 in Advanced-A to 14.2 K/9 in Double-A).
Between Double-A and Triple-A last season, the former-fourth rounder swatted a combined .276/.375/.465 line with 15 HR, 62 RBI, and 59 R. Joseph could probably start on a team like the Marlins (over Solano), but another half-season in Triple-A wouldn’t be out of the question too.
The Rangers, arguably, match up best with the Marlins for a Stanton swap.
Profar, who is 19 years-old, is Major League ready, and considered to be the most sure-thing shortstop prospect in baseball. The switch-hitter posted a .281/.368/.452 line with 14 HR, 62 RBI, 76 R, and 16 SB in 562 PA’s.
He is also considered an excellent defender–so essentially, he has all the goods a team could want from a shortstop.
Mike Olt has seemingly been dangled for every big name, available Major Leaguer this off-season, which has, ironically, sort of hurt his value a bit.
That said, Olt still appears to be the real thing. The 24 year-old third baseman, like Profar, is Major League ready.
Olt dominated Double-A in 2012, posting a .288/.398/.579 line with 28 HR, 82 RBI, 65 R, and 4 SB, while playing plus defense.
Aside from age, the one knock on Olt is his strikeout total (101 K’s in 421 PA’s), but at least he can take a walk (12.5% BB%).
Profar has certainly been the center of attention among Rangers’ middle-infield prospects, but both Odor and Sardinas potentially have fine Major League careers ahead of them too.
Odor is a 18 year-old infielder (mostly second base) who spent all of 2012 in Single-A.
The left-handed hitter posted a decent line for a middle-infielder, hitting a .259/.313/.400 line in 471 PA’s. His 10 HR and 19 SB, as well as his stellar defense (.975 Fld% at second base) are exciting individual achievements, but he needs to develop better plate and on-base skills before truly becoming a blue-chip prospect.
Luis Sardinas has the opposite “problem” of Odor.
The 19 year-old shortstop is much more projectable, as the switch-hitter has zero power (2 HR and .356 SLG in 412 PA’s), but has a ton of speed (32 SB), and is a more refined hitter (.291/.346/.356 line).
Again in the non-Jurickson scenario, and in addition to either Odor or Sardinas, the Marlins could also ask for outfielder Leonys Martin. The 24 year-old Cuban not only projects to be a plus defender in center field, but can also hit the tar out of the ball.
In 260 PA’s at Triple-A, the left-handed hitter posted a .359/.422/.610 line with 12 HR, 42 RBI, 48 R, and 10 SB. The Rangers seem to be comfortable using Craig Gentry in center field, so perhaps it would make Martin that much more expendable.
What’s a prospect package without a pitcher? The Marlins could target one of Cody Buckel or Justin Grimm, with the former being the more enticing of the two. Buckel, who is just 20, showed flashes of brilliance in 2012.
Between Advanced-A and Double-A, the righty combined for a 2.49 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 3.31 K/BB (3.0 BB/9, 9.9 K/9) in 144.6 IP.
Prospect gurus like John Sickels like Buckel since he performed so well in such a hitter-heavy league (Texas League).
Grimm is no slouch either, but the righty is four years older (24 years-old). That said, he does have better control (2.0 BB/9 in 134.6 IP between Double-A and Triple-A), and handled the Texas League far better than Buckel did (1.72 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 5.21 K/BB in 83.6 IP).
Also, Grimm got the call in June by the Rangers, though he didn’t pitcher particularly well (9.00 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, 4.33 K/BB in 14 IP). The Marlins might prefer Buckel merely based on age, but Grimm looks to be a solid mid-rotation option.
Unlike the Orioles, Yankees, or Rangers, it would be truly surprising to see the Cleveland Indians land Stanton. That’s not because they don’t need a player like Stanton, but rather, they’re technically re-building.
That said, isn’t Stanton the type of special player a franchise should arguably build around?
Whether or not you agree, the Indians might have a good package to offer the Marlins, without hurting the future depth of the franchise.
Said package could start with a top pitching prospect the team recently acquired: Trevor Bauer.
Bauer was shockingly included in the three-team blockbuster that sent Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds from the Indians–but only once the Diamondbacks agreed to swap defense-first shortstop prospect, Didi Gregorius for their own top prospect, Trevor Bauer.
Bauer was picked third overall in the 2003 draft, and lived-up to his status as the ninth best prospect in baseball (by Baseball America) when he posted a 2.42 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and 2.57 K/BB (4.2 BB/9, 10.8 K/9).
The 21 year-old was so advanced, that he even made four starts (though only one of them was good) for the Diamondbacks towards the end of the season.
Even though the Diamondbacks sold low on the stud pitching prospect, that doesn’t mean Bauer couldn’t headline a trade to land a talent like Stanton.
Lindor, who is 19 years-old, is a glove-first type of shortstop, but he isn’t a non-factor with the bat. In 568 PA’s last season in Single-A, the switch-hitter posted a .257/.352/.355 line with 6 HR, 42 RBI, 83 R, and 27 SB. A stud defensive shortstop with a 10.8% BB% (and further offensive potential) is a worthy asset.
Paulino too is a fine shortstop prospect, but with 25 errors in just 46 games (.882 Fld%), he isn’t considered the glovesman Lindor is.
That said, Paulino is an extremely impressive hitter. Between Rookie-Ball and Single-A (Short-Season), the right-handed hitter slugged a .333/.380/.558 line with 7 HR, 38 RBI, 47 R, and 11 SB in 250 PA’s.
The Marlins would likely pick one of Lindor or Paulino, but should look at Jose Ramirez, a second baseman, too. In 326 PA’s last season, the 20 year-old Ramirez raked to the tune of a .354/.404/.465 line with 3 HR, 27 RBI, 56 R, and 17 SB.
John Sickels more or less compared Ramirez to Jose Altuve (if he continues to hit at this rate).
Last on the list is reliever prospect, Cody Allen. The 24 year-old righty started the season in Advanced-A, and was promoted all the way up to the Indians Major League roster by late-June. The impressive acceleration was due to absolutely dominating at every level of the Minors.
In 43.3 IP between Advanced-A and Triple-A, Allen posted a 1.87 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, and 5.89 K/BB (1.9 BB/9, 11.0 K/9).
The righty’s command took a hit once he hit the show, posting a 3.72 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, and 1.80 K/BB in 29 IP, but perhaps his control issues were a product of trying to over-impress.
If Allen finds his command, it’s hard not to like a three-pitch reliever–and potential closer–who throws a consistent 95 MPH fastball.
Last but not least is the Chicago Cubs. Theo Epstein is sort of half-rebuilding with his new play toy, but given his big splash roots, one has to think he’d love to make a deal for Stanton.
The Cubs are lucky enough to have a franchise shortstop in Starlin Castro, who they recently extended with a seven year, $60 million contract.
Given this contract, the Cubbies have little use for stud prospect Javier Baez.
Baez, age 20, absolutely mashed in the Minors during 2012.
Between Single-A and Advanced-A, the right-handed hitter posted a combined .294/.346/.543 line with 16 HR, 46 RBI, 50 R, and 24 SB in jut 321 PA’s.
He still has some kinks to work out, but Baez has potential to be an all-around offensive/defensive machine (for some franchise).
Luckily, Almora would be a heck of a compromise.
The 18 year-old Almora was the Cubs sixth overall pick from the 2012 draft, and immediately impressed the franchise with a .321/.331/.464 line in 145 PA’s.
Almora needs a full-season in the Minor Leagues for experts to truly react, but the center fielder needs to walk more than he did (2.5% BB%) to be a Major Leaguer.
Now that first baseman Anthony Rizzo appears to have a definite home (was traded twice in the past two years), the 23 year-old can focus on performing, and maybe even buy a house.
His .285/.342/.463 line should make the Cubs comfortable enough to deal stud prospect Daniel Vogelbach,
The 20 year-old Vogelbach enjoyed one of the most impressive Minor League seasons out there.
Between Rookie-Ball and Single-A (Short-Season), the left-handed hitter sported a .322/.410/.641 line with 17 HR, 62 RBI, and 39 R. With his OPS at 1.051, you have to be excited about this guy’s future as a hitter–and considering the Marlins just have Twitter-focused Logan Morrison starting at first base, you’d have to think they’d covet Vogelbach.