Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton would likely welcome homecoming

Rob Carr

During the All-Star game press conferences, Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was asked about returning home to play for the Dodgers, and noted it was always a dream. Stanton hasn't publicly expressed any interest in staying in Miami long term.

Giancarlo Stanton is just a boy from Sherman Oaks, California.

Miami already lost one star athlete in the form of Lebron James, and if the Miami Marlins make the wrong move, it may lose another.

Stanton, just 24 years old, leads National League in home runs with 21. He made an appearance in both the Home Run Derby and All-Star game, and has posted a .295/.395/.538 line in 94 games.

He has emerged as a leader on a young team, something the Marlins have been waiting for. And he has, to this point, proven that he is one of baseball's best young players and is healthier than ever.

It isn't fair to compare the Miami Marlins to the Miami Heat, simply because the Heat have won two championships in four years and the Marlins are still recovering from a fire sale trade.

The situations, too, are different, since Stanton was drafted by the Marlins while James chose to head to South Beach. And Stanton didn't start his professional career in L.A. But the scenarios could, soon, become parallel.

Stanton grew up a Los Angeles kid, and a Dodgers fan too. He told reporters before the Home Run Derby on Monday night that he thinks about coming home to play "all the time," and that his friends tell him, "you need to come play for us."

Playing in front of his favorite childhood team was "the original dream, when you're a kid," Stanton told the L.A. Times. And while he is under control through the 2016 season, Stanton hasn't openly discussed his long term future in Miami.

The organization has yet to begin negotiating a long term contract that would keep Stanton in Miami for at least the next few seasons. Miami wanted to ensure he could stay healthy, and those talks could start this offseason, especially if Stanton posts second half numbers that are remotely similar to those that belonged to him through the first three months of the season.

While the Marlins have traded away franchise-type players in the past, they appear to be on the right path. General Manager Dan Jennings has deemed Stanton unavailable, repeating the fact that he will not be traded before the July 31 trading deadline.

The Marlins see Stanton as a player that they can build around, but the issue with that is Stanton has to have a desire to stay in Miami. And at the moment he may not have that.

"I want to win," Stanton said. "If we're prepared to win, I want to stay."

Does he believe the Marlins are prepared to win?

"Look at the record," he said.

Miami went into the All-Star break 44-50, good for fourth place in the National League East and seven and a half games behind the division-leading Nationals.

Jose Fernandez is gone for the season, and both Stanton and the Marlins have seen a young core grow and struggle. What the Marlins do at the trade deadline will likely dictate the direction the team will head.

Stanton wanted to see progress, and despite a 2013 campaign which saw the team lose 100 games, a sub five hundred record may not be enough proof. It all depends on where Stanton expected the team to end up this year, and how that compares with how they will finish the season.

Miami still has time, but not a ton of it. In April, the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson reported the Dodgers were the favorite to land Stanton when he becomes a free agent. It is the Marlins' job to not allow him to reach that point.

Lebron James is just a boy from Akron, Ohio, and Giancarlo Stanton is just a boy from Sherman Oaks, California.

James wasn't hesitant to go home, and Stanton may not be either.

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