Rumors have swirled regarding Giancarlo Stanton as we approach the 2013 MLB trade deadline, and the Miami Marlins have probably received plenty of calls on the slugger. But according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Marlins still are not planning on trading Stanton anytime soon.
Frisaro notes that "bloggers have a field day" with these trade rumors, and indeed one of our most visited pages this past week has been our discussion on Stanton trade speculation regarding the Pittsburgh Pirates. I hope Frisaro wasn't talking about us!
He also notes that the Marlins have made their intention to offer Stanton a multi-year contract clear.
This is all positive and expected news, as the stance on this web site has always been that Stanton is too valuable to trade now. Stanton's trade value is closer to $80 million, and no team interested in acquiring Stanton is going to be willing to give up the assets necessary to pull off a trade now. The few teams who even have the resources to make such a move are likely not in a position to sacrifice so much talent. In a recent Bucs Dugout podcast, Bucs Dugout head writer Charlie Wilmoth said as much, mentioning that the Pirates' lifeblood is their farm system and to give up the amount of talent needed to pry Stanton from the Marlins may irreparably set back the franchise should Stanton fail.
The comparison between Stanton and Miguel Cabrera's situation is undeniable, and Cabrera too stuck around for two seasons with the Marlins after his generation's fire sale. Rumors swirled around his name as well, though they were quieter due to the fact that the 2006 Marlins club was surprisingly competitive. Still, the Marlins held onto him for those two seasons, probably in part because he too held too much value as a cost-controlled superstar.
But, like Cabrera, Stanton may be on his way to a trade eventually, and even Frisaro does not deny the possibility in the years to come. The Marlins struggled with an arbitration dispute with Cabrera that led to him earning $7.4 million in his first season in arbitration, and instead of both sides hashing out a potential long-term contract, the Marlins traded him 2008. Now, Stanton too seems hesitant to sign a deal, but the Marlins apparently made it known that they would offer a contract sometime in the future.
But time is running out on this proposition. Most of these long-term deals are handed out to replace the first arbitration season in order to depress prices. The longer the Marlins wait, the more expensive Stanton gets as he approaches free agency. But the team cannot sign Stanton if he is not on board with the plan as well, so there are two sides to the problem: the Marlins not only need to make the offer, but the team has to be appealing enough for Stanton to want to accept the offer.
The Marlins have a promising future, and that future could still include Stanton. But if the Fish are not ready to trade him this season (as well they shouldn't be), then they need to make their move to retain him soon. Otherwise, another season will pass and we will be discussing the same things over again as Stanton's Cabrera-like destiny looms.