Apr 23, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Miami Marlins trainer looks at the arm of right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) after a hit by pitch in the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The Twins won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Is it possible that this is the straw that broke the camel’s back? Is this the gentle push the Marlins needed to finally go over the edge? Could this be the sign from the heavens the Marlins’ front office has been waiting for (though some Marlins fans may argue the front office gets its signs from the place in the other direction)? Might the hamstring injury suffered by Giancarlo Stanton last night be the factor that finally causes Marlins management to pull the trigger on trading their star?
Speculation has run rampant since the start of the season concerning the possible trade destinations and suitors for the “pissed off” superstar:
The Marlins, for their part, have continued to hold to the company line that they are “not interested” in trading Stanton:
However, the team has gotten off to a horrendous start this season and with each loss it becomes clearer that the roster is grossly lacking the elements to be competitive. It is possible that the perception of Stanton changes from a superstar player with 3 more years of team control to an injury prone malcontent who will have difficulty outplaying his salary during his arbitration years. A package of 3 or 4 elite prospects that will still be under team control six years from now when the team is ready to compete starts to look more attractive.
After all, though he has been able to maintain a very high level of production the past couple of seasons, Stanton’s injury record is beginning to feel extensive. He was slowed by leg injuries in spring training prior to the 2011 and 2012 seasons, had knee surgery during last season and already missed a week earlier this season with a shoulder injury. Now the hamstring is likely to keep him out of action for at least a month. This is starting to look like a player a team cannot count on to stay in the lineup.
The call up of Marcell Ozuna, one of the team’s top outfield prospects, may serve to further entice the team to use a Stanton trade as a way to expedite the rebuilding process. If Ozuna is able to confirm his top prospect status with a respectable showing during the next month, the Marlins might conclude that they have the rightfield position covered for the future. They might then steer a trade towards bringing in prospects to help in the infield where they do not appear to have solid minor league prospects.
The proposed trade with the Rangers, for example, would possibly allow them to add a star quality shortstop and a solid power hitter at third base in Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt, respectively. This trade would also certainly bring a top pitching prospect that could slot into the rotation somewhere behind Jose Fernandez. The path to competing for playoff spots starts to look shorter now that you have 3 additional lineup slots covered with quality players as opposed to just one with Stanton. Besides, the $30 million they would have had to pay Stanton over the next 3 seasons in arbitration can be used to fill the couple of holes they would still have.
Maybe it is delusional to think that a bunch of unproven prospects can provide anywhere close to the production the Marlins would get from one Giancarlo Stanton. With each injury, though, Marlins management must surely feel that the return they would get for Stanton grows smaller and smaller. This could be the final opportunity for a big payday in prospects.
Of course nothing will happen until Stanton is able to return and prove he is healthy, but assuming that he does – does this injury signify that it is finally time to trade Giancarlo Stanton?