It was getting relatively quiet on the rumor mill front for the Miami Marlins following their most recent trade of Yunel Escobar. The Fish appeared to be pretty set going into the 2013 season with Giancarlo Stanton, Logan Morrison, and a number of scrubs and rookies at the various other positions. Marlins fans were resigned to a disappointing season with many losses, but at least some nice Stanton home runs.
Then Joe Frisaro of MLB.com has to drop this piece of idle speculation.
At the Winter Meetings, the Marlins told teams that Giancarlo Stanton is not available. That was then, prior to [free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton signing with the Los Angeles Angels].
The [Texas Rangers] have a loaded farm system, and if they are willing to offer some of their top young players, the Marlins may be in position to cash in, if they don’t consider Stanton part of their long-term plans.
Would Miami be tempted to move Stanton if suddenly Jurickson Profar and/or Mike Olt are centerpieces in a deal?
Frisaro's reasoning is that the Rangers may get so desperate as to sell off their entire deep farm system to the Marlins to add the power of Stanton to their roster. That desperation can be owed somehow to former Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton signing with the rival Los Angeles Angels.
As expected, this rumor / speculation probably gave Marlins fans chills and cold sweats just thinking about it. In an offseason filled with havoc and tumult, the last, backbreaking thing the franchise can do is trade the team's newest legitimate star in Stanton. Furthermore, we have already established that Stanton is night untradable because of his extensive trade value, so it would be difficult for the Marlins to find a pairing even if they wanted to.
But if there was a team out there that had the capability to match up with the Fish, it would the Rangers. Texas can offer the Marlins the best prospect in baseball in Jurickson Profar along with a top prospect hitter like Mike Olt to start their package, and that would get them further ahead than almost any other team in the league. John Sickels of SB Nation's Minor League Ball has Profar as the best position player prospect in baseball in his preliminary rankings list and Olt as the 13th-best, a few spots behind Christian Yelich, who received an A- rank in his top Marlins prospects list.
If you could not tell by the rankings that both of those players are for real, it is hard not to see it in the numbers. Profar is an above-average defender at shortstop who just finished an age-19 season in which he hit .281/.368/.452 (.364 wOBA) in Double-A. Profar was 27 percent better than the average hitter in Double-A this year while he was still a teenager. Meanwhile, Olt just hit .288/.398/.579 as a 23 year-old in Double-A.
The problem for both sides is that, as good as Profar and Olt probably are, they still are not guarantees like Giancarlo Stanton, and as such, this package is not enough to entice the Marlins to make a trade. The Marlins would likely ask for still more in return for Stanton, and that may include some pitching talent close to the majors. Sure, the Rangers may be willing to throw in Martin Perez into this deal, but the Marlins may want a cost-controlled pitcher who has proven some effectiveness, like Matt Harrison. In that case, the Rangers would balk, given their competitive situation and their likely desire not to give up major league talent that is on their roster and not named Elvis Andrus.
So even if the Marlins are interested in trading Stanton to the Rangers (and at this point, what Frisaro mentioned is nothing more than speculation), I imagine both teams still have a ways to go before figuring anything out. Stanton's value is so enormous that even Profar and Olt will not cover his worth, and giving up more away from the Rangers' minor league system would jeopardize Texas's chances of contending. Unless the Fish are blown away by a pure prospects haul or the Rangers go nuts, you can bank on seeing Stanton mash homers in front of empty blue seats in Marlins Park this season.