USA TODAY Sports
The two best hitters in the Marlins lineup are Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Stanton. And it's not even close.
Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Carlos Lee, Omar Infante, Ozzie Guillen, Emilio Bonifaci, John Buck, a new stadium, Mark Buerhle, Heath Bell, Josh Johnson, a new city name on your jersey, and a TV show. Giancarlo Stanton looks around and says "Seems legit."
Well, at least you still have the stadium!
Based on a sample size of 20 years, the Marlins win a World Series 10% of the time! I wouldn't bank on much happening in the '10's though. Pretty much everything for the Marlins has gone super-not-right over the last year, and Stanton has pretty much vocalized that he is fed up with the franchise's unwillingness to stay the course after a 69-93 disaster of a season. The Marlins went all-in and then cashed out like they just got an insiders trading tip from Warren Buffett, leaving just Stanton and a host of has-been's and never-wazzle's. Stanton wants out. Stanton should want out. If you are a Stanton owner, you should want him out more than he wants out.
The problem is that Miami almost literally has nothing besides Stanton and he is reasonably one of the toughest players in the majors to trade for. Not because he isn't worth it, but only because he is worth so much. Stanton (who I am mostly mad at for not going by 'Mike' anymore) is under team control until 2016. Was worth 5.8 fWAR last season. Has hit 93 home runs in 373 career games. Is the Marlins only asset at the major league level that's worth much. And could favorably compare, at 22, to former Marlin Miguel Cabrera. You may remember that the Marlins let Cabrera go for two of the top prospects in baseball, Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller, and it promptly brought them nothing in future value.
Miami knows all-too-well how unreliable prospects are, and they're going to want probably at least three great ones in return for Stanton. Preferably ones that are close to or have reached the major leagues. Based on John Sickels organizational rankings, you've got several teams that might have the firepower: The Cardinals, Mariners, Rays, Rangers, and Pirates make up the top five. A team like the Orioles could offer Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado. Realistically you could talk about "need" and other factors but more realistically, there isn't a team that couldn't find a use for Stanton.
But how much are they willing to give up?
Too expensive you say? Welcome to the world of trying to deal for Giancarlo Stanton. It's going to hurt because it's going to feel so good.
Instead, fantasy owners have to plan for a full season of Stanton in Miami. It's possible that by July 31st, a team will be willing to do whatever it takes to have Stanton for a playoff run and three more years but it's not something we can plan for. Instead, get used to a lineup that could look like this:
OF Juan Pierre
OF Giancarlo Stanton
SS Adeiny Hechaverria
Pierre was actually respectable last year for the Phillies, hitting .307/.351/.371 with 37 stolen bases in 130 games. Bill James projects him for .282/.336/.333 with 28 SB and 55 R this year, age 35. Polanco, 37, had his worst season since 1999 when he hit .257/.302/.327 for the Phillies last season. James projects just .279/.331/.368 this year.
Of the few returning Marlins: Morrison is coming off of a .230/.308/.399 season in 93 games, and Ruggiano hit .313/.374/.535 in 91 games with 13 HR and 14 SB. As Guy Fieri would say, those number for Ruggiano are "out of bounds, brother!" The long-time prospect has never hit that well before, and he hit just .247/.303/.385 in the second half of the season. James projects .278/.339/.456 with 19 HR and 24 SB, a fine season if true. CAIRO projects just .263/.332/.429 with 14 HR and 16 SB.
Morrison is projected to hit .255/.347/.433 with 12 HR by CAIRO and could hit just behind Stanton.
Now, by 2013 you should not care about RBI and Run totals in the scheme of real world baseball and how good it makes a player. RBI totals are dependent upon players hitting in front of another player, among other factors. Run totals are dependent upon players hitting behind another player, among other factors. Having 140 RBI is neat but it doesn't necessarily make you better than a player with 90 RBI. It really, really doesn't. But we aren't "getting real" here, we are living in the fantasy world. It's not a good fantasy for Stanton right now.
CAIRO projections for Stanton: .267/.352/.547 with 35 HR, 86 RBI, 75 R
Steamer projections: .272/.355/.571, 44 HR, 112 RBI, 93 R
Rotochamp projections: .273/.358/.602, 43 HR, 101 RBI, 90 R
Composite of those: .269/.355/.571, 41 HR, 100 RBI, 87 R
Bill James projections: .284/.365/.605, 43 HR, 103 RBI, 88 R
The worst of all, by far, is the little town of Cairo, Projections. The ding on home runs is not insignificant, but it's nothing compared to the bigger gap in RBI and R. Mostly, Stanton is looking at a line around .270/.355/.590 with 40 HR, 100 RBI, 88 R-ish. Not bad at all.
Just think if he was in a decent lineup!
Morrison and Ruggiano behind him are "ehh, okay." Pierre at leadoff is okay-ish, and Polanco in the two-spot leaves a lot to be desired. There's always the possibility of shuffling around, especially on this team, but as of now Stanton's biggest competition is the Marlins front office. Just think of what kind of totals he could put up if he was dealt to the Cardinals or Rays. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem very likely right now.
No, if history with the Marlins has proven anything, he's going to help them win a World Series before he's worth being dealt.