Pitching injuries will force Miami Marlins trade of Giancarlo Stanton


The Miami Marlins continue to get bad news as their season comes to a merciful end. Ultimately, injuries to their pitching staff may force a big trade.

Nobody want’s to admit that it’s coming, but it is. With Derek Jeter and his stable of co-owners set to take over the Miami Marlins sometime in October, they’re fit to bring sweeping change. They have already proven they’re will to shirk legacy hires and build out their own staff.

Rumors of trading slugger Giancarlo Stanton have been in abundance since well before the All-Star break. Once the offseason kicks into gear, speculation will again follow.

Ultimately, the size of his mega-contract won’t be the reason he is traded.

Not in and of itself, that is. Stanton’s contract tops out at $32 million for one season of work. That’s elite money for an elite player, and a contract more affluent clubs could afford if his production met expectations. But the Miami Marlins are not that club.

Hefty commitments to other players will keep them from being able to keep Stanton on the books. Even worse, two of their biggest financial commitments might not see the field in 2018.

Edinson Volquez has already undergone Tommy John surgery and will miss the entirety of next season. He is owed $13 million and will become a free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

Wei-Yin Chen is out for the rest of 2017. Moreover, his future is in doubt for the 2018 season as well. News of Chen meeting with Dr. Neal ElAttrache can only mean bad news for the Miami Marlins organization.

Chen has been pitching with a slight tear in his UCL, but has opted to avoid surgery to this point. After experiencing more elbow discomfort coming out of the bullpen, surgery appears to be on the table again.

Future in limbo

If Chen were to need more surgery on his pitching arm, the 15-month recovery timetable would undoubtedly rule him out for next year. The Miami Marlins will owe him $10 million in 2018, then another $42 million over the 2019, and 2020 seasons.

Large financial commitments to players that won’t see the field will force the Marlins hand. For a team that has finished in the bottom five in attendance 16 of the last 17 years, expenditures are carefully managed.

The year the finished out of the bottom five was 2012, the first in their new ballpark. The Miami Marlins finished 18th in the league in overall attendance.

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Derek Jeter may very well build the Miami Marlins into a consummate winner, but it won’t happen in one season. And it won’t happen with Giancarlo Stanton as a cornerstone. Painful as it may be to admit, trading away the biggest contract is the quickest way to financial solvency.