Despite what both the Miami Marlins and Giancarlo Stanton have said about approaching the 2013 season as calmly as possible despite what has happened to the roster, the trade rumors continue to persist around one the best trade asset in baseball at the moment. The latest, proposed by the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, involves Stanton in a deal with the Marlins' in-state rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays.
5. Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins — There continues to be rumblings that the Marlins will deal Stanton if the price is right. Some wonder whether Tampa Bay has what Miami wants to make it happen. The Rays have lots of pitching prospects heading toward the majors. They also have outfielder Wil Myers (acquired in the James Shields deal with Kansas City), who could be part of such a deal.
On the surface, this seems like yet another reasonable offer from a team. After all, the Marlins are going to certainly acquire the presence of a top-10 prospect in any trade involving Stanton, and Wil Myers is an undisputed top-five prospect and very likely the second-best player in the minors behind Jurickson Profar. Myers just had a monster 2012 season in the minors, hitting a comined .314/.387/.600 at Double-A and Triple-A. After being converted full-time to the outfield, Myers has adjusted at the plate well, recovered from a down 2011 season, and shown that he is major league ready. His plate approach is very strong, as evidenced by his 12.5 percent walk rate in the minors, and while he has had contact issues (20.6 percent strikeout rate, 24.0 percent when you remove walks), his power and approach appear to be heading towards a year similar to Stanton's rookie campaign.
So what seems to be the problem? Well, for starters, Myers has not had Stanton's rookie campaign yet, nor has he seen a single pitch of big-league play, so while that may be a very promising prognostication for an elite prospect, it still comes with some uncertainty. The fans of FanGraphs are still projecting good things, as they have him hitting .264/.329/.455 (.339 wOBA) in 2013. In comparison, Stanton hit .259/.326/.507 (.356 wOBA), with the obvious advantage being in the home run and power department.
But the problem is not really with Myers and whether there is doubt about his skills. If the Marlins were to acquire him this year, he would slot right into Stanton's abandoned spot in right field and would be a perfect fit, albeit one that is likely not as good as his predecessor. The real problem, however, is that the Rays do not have anything else to offer the Marlins as of right now. If we consider that Tampa Bay would want to keep their elite young players at the major league level, then pitchers like Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore are out of the question. This leaves the Rays' suddenly dried-up farm system behind Myers to fill in the spots. Chris Archer, Taylor Guerreri, and Hak-Ju Lee are all decent prospects, but none are much better than who the Fish already have, and all they would do is add depth without big impact.
That brings us back to our original Stanton trade problem once again: the Rays simply do not have the package of elite prospects necessary to acquire Stanton now. In a few years, a package involving a player of Myers's caliber may be enough, along with good minor league depth additions, to snag Stanton away. But right now, the Fish still need more than one elite prospect, and the Rays are not the team to offer that.