Miami Marlins fans are all quite aware of what a poor offseason the team had this year in its massive trade-off of much of the 2012 core. What is left surrounding superstar outfielder Giancarlo Stanton is a ragtag group of youngsters who are not likely to produce close to a winning campaign in the next year or two, even if this group is perhaps more likely to be a winner in this decade than the remains of the 2012 group was.
Marlins fans are also acutely aware of the problem that Stanton had with the whole trade ordeal, as he very clearly pointed out in a post-trade tweet that he was angry with the front office. Since then, he has had a long time to internalize the problems and he has shown, in an interview with USA Today's Bob Nightengale, that he is still not happy with the direction of this team.
Stanton, when asked Tuesday if he's still angry, said, "Yeah, it's tough. You deal with what you got. You realize that's the business side.''
The Marlins are nothing if not business-like with their player dealings, so this should not surprise neither Stanton nor the fans. Typically, however, whenever a player describes his understanding of the "business side" of the game, it is a clear and evident sign that said player and his current team are heading for a breakup in the near future. When players want to be a part of an organization, they typically gush about that organization's professionalism or how they personally handled their talks with the player. Usually, such players have positive things to say. It is impossible to decode one positive thing from Stanton's opinion of the Fish, and it is difficult to blame him for that.
Stanton, for his part, says that he will prepare for this season all the same, even if it is doomed to be a disappointing year.
"All of the spotlight was on us last year,'' Stanton, 23, told USA TODAY Sports. "This year, it will be like all of the other previous years.''
"My preparation will be the same,'' he said, "so there's no difference for me.
"I'm preparing the same way I do every year.''
At the very least, it seems as though he is saying all of the right things with regards to the Marlins. While he still displays outward anger, Stanton is at least saying that he will commit himself to the Fish in 2013. Of course, there is plenty of motivation for him to put on a strong 2013 performance; a banner year from him in this upcoming season is a perfect way to push his first arbitration salary well into the $7 million or $8 million range, and any value like that will make it extremely unlikely that the Marlins retain him in 2015 and beyond. If Stanton is harboring feelings about leaving the organization as soon as possible, it behooves him to perform as well as possible and push himself out of the Marlins' suddenly small price range.
As for the trade rumors surrounding Stanton, he takes the typical player high road and downplays them.
"People take everything out of proportion,'' Stanton says, "everybody loves to stir something. If you listen to everything you hear, there's a lot of different directions you'd be leaning.''
Of course, he should say these sorts of thing with regards to trade rumors. Staying quiet is an excellent way to appear professional and keep him as appealing as possible to other potential teams. And it seems other teams are more than willing to wait; already the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners are both waiting with prospects in hand for when Stanton is inevitably made available. Though this situation may not actually occur for a few seasons, the Marlins will have their pick of top prospect litter when Stanton finally becomes tradable.
For now, it seems the Fish and Stanton are at an impasse. The team is uninterested in moving the player because of the lack of value, while the player is unhappy on a skeleton crew team for the next year or two. The two sides will have to bear each other for at least the 2013 season, and after that doomed year ends, the whole group will revisit their relationship and see if a mutual ending is for the best.