Aug 2, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) delivers a pitch against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Earlier today I reported what a unnamed team source revealed to Marlin Maniac was thought to be the Pittsburgh Pirates offer to the Miami Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton. The package included Gerrit Cole, Starling Marte, Jameston Taillon, and Stetson Allie for Stanton, Steve Cishek, and Justin Ruggiano.
The package was enough to catch the Marlins front office’s eyes, which in turn they presented to owner Jeffery Loria, who quickly nixed the idea. The Marlins would prefer to first offer Stanton a long-term extension
Gerrit Cole is the obvious prize of the package, as he came into the season as a unanimous top 10 prospect in all of baseball, ranking seventh (two spots behind Jose Fernandez) on Baseball America’s Top 100 list. Cole started the season in Triple-A and made enough of an impression to earn a promotion to the big leagues.
Cole has held his own with an impressive 3.69/3.53 ERA/FIP for his rookie season. He has not missed as many at bats as he did his first two seasons in the minors, with only 43 strikeouts, but has only walked 14 in his 61 major league innings. Cole had an impressive start against the Marlins in late July, striking out eight and allowing just three runs. Cole features a fastball between 92 and 97 miles per hour, a strong slider, and a solid changeup. A one-two punch at the top of the rotation of Fernandez-Cole would have been a solid building block for many seasons to come. Both were first round picks in the 2011 draft.
Starling Marte, whose in his second big league season, was also a huge part of the Pirates package. With him already being established as a major leaguer, he would be the obvious candidate to take over for Stanton in right longterm. Marte plays strong defense in the outfield and has been worth about 4 wins in 2013.
Marte has a .279/.335/.441 slash line with 10 home runs and 32 stolen bases. Under team control under 2018, Dave Cameron had Marte ranked with the 31st best trade value currently in baseball. This is what he to say about him:
"In some ways, I think I’m underselling his value by placing him here, but on the other hand, teams have shown that they’re not as willing to pay for speed-and-defense in the corners. Marte could certainly handle a move to center field, but his defensive value isn’t going to be as appreciated while he’s playing next to Andrew McCutchen, and the things he does well aren’t quite as sexy as launching balls into the upper deck. Like many young players with this set of skills, Marte’s actual value is likely higher than his trade value."
Jameson Taillon is also a top pitching prospect currently in baseball. Coming into the season he was ranked the 19th best prospect according to BA, rising to number 11 in their mid-season update. Taillon was the Pirates first round pick in 2010 and scouts believe he has the same ceiling as an ace as Cole. Taillon has pitched well in Double-A in 2013 with a 3.67/3.45 ERA/FIP in 110 1/3 innings. Taillon was promoted to Triple-A earlier this week and is expected to make his AAA debut today.
The final prospect that the scout mentioned to me was another intriguing name. Along with teammate Taillon, Stetson Allie was considered by many to be the Top 2 prep arms available in the 2010 draft. Due to signability questions, Allie slipped to the second round and the Pirates were more than happy to hand him an above-slot deal. Despite his ability to hit triple digits, he struggled with command, walking 37 hitters in 26 2/3 innings.
The Pirates then tried Allie at third (which went miserably) before deciding on first as his permanent role. Allie struggled in 2012 with his bat, but had a tremendous season in Low-A with a .324/.414/.607 line and 17 homers in just 66 games. His performance was good enough to earn him a promotion to High-A.
Marlin Maniac friend and scout Nathaniel Stoltz recently wrote an article on Fangraphs discussing five sleeper first base prospects, in which he talked about Allie and has video of two of his more impressive home runs.
The question we are looking at is if this was a fair return for what the Marlins were going to give up. Back in June when the first Stanton-to-Pirates rumors emerged, Michael Jong of Fishstripes analyzed that the Pirates would have to include both their top pitching prospects in order for them to acquire Stanton. In this rumored trade, the Pirates would be doing just that.
That means the Marlins would be trading Stanton for Cole and Taillon and Cishek and Ruggiano for Marte and Stetson. Cannot say that is an unfair deal for either side, with the Pirates maybe even overpaying a little bit. It’s obvious why the Pirates offer caught the eye of the Marlins front office.
Of course, I don’t blame Jeffery Loria for wanting to try and signing Stanton to a longterm extension, as he is a once in a lifetime talent with his power. An argument could be made that the Marlins have waited too long to sign Stanton in the first place though.
Either way, we should look forward to an interesting offseason with Stanton and the Marlins. The Marlins could come out winners if Stanton agrees to sign an extension, but they could also come out as winners if they land a package similar to the one the Pirates are rumored to have offered.