The realities of baseball’s economic structure likely make the Miami Marlins a short-term home for the best young hitter in the National League. Though the men who run the Fish say they are going to try to keep Stanton for the long-term as the cornerstone of their franchise, the likelihood of a Jeffrey Loria-owned team anteing up the tens of millions it is going to take seems a low-odds bet, indeed.
I run a St. Louis Cardinals-focused message board and hopes and dreams, mostly the latter, about the club acquiring Stanton have been posted and re-posted for months. I bet most every contending club in Major League Baseball has a segment of its fan base drooling all over themselves thinking about the possibility of their team being the one to land the 24-year-old in a trade.
It is certainly not crazy. After all, not many months ago, we could have substituted “pitcher David Price of Tampa Bay” with “outfielder Giancarlo Stanton of Miami” and most of the rest of the words would fit like a glove.
Many believe that the Rays asked too much for too long in return for the former Cy Young Award winner and ended up receiving much less than one dollar in return for each dollar of Price’s real value.
For that reason, some think the Marlins will trade Stanton this winter, as soon as they make a failed attempt to re-sign him to an extension.
One reason Cardinals fans may crave such a deal – other than the immediacy of a life-saving transfusion for an anemic offense – is that they remember the club swiping shortstop Edgar Renteria from Miami at the start of the prior decade.
Most trade ideas are unrealistic, either too weak, unloading a quantity of underachievers for the one player, or too strong, giving up too many of a good club’s best young players for the services of one man.
However, the Cards have nothing on Price’s new home, the Detroit Tigers.
The Tigers acquired Miguel Cabrera from the Marlins in December 2007. Since then, Cabrera became baseball’s best player, adding two American League Most Valuable Player Awards to his trophy case.
The Marlins, then called the Florida Marlins, also unloaded a declining (at age 25) Dontrelle Willis in the cost-cutting deal. They added six players in return. Problem is that none of them have been much as major leaguers. One did not make it at all.
What does this have to do with Stanton, you ask? Well, interestingly enough, when Cabrera was dealt away, he was the same age as Stanton today, 24, and with roughly the same level of Major League experience.
No one knows if there are seven 100-RBI seasons and a pair of MVP awards ahead for Stanton, but there is no reason to believe he cannot become that good for that long.
The review of the Cabrera trade should serve as a good reminder that prospects are never a sure thing. I am on the road now so I don’t have my 2007 Baseball America Prospect Handbook with me, but I bet a good number of the six players moving to Miami in the trade were considered strong potential major league talents at the time.
So no matter how the Stanton deal goes down, if it goes down at all, like any other trade, it will take at least three to five years to properly evaluate.Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 16-year history. He also holds the all-time NL Tout single-season records for wins and saves. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and thecardinalnationblog.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.