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Should the Marlins trade Giancarlo Stanton? Two scouts think it’s time.

The Marlins badly need pitching depth.

New York Mets v Miami Marlins Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

Two veteran scouts believe the Marlins should trade outfielder Giancarlo Stanton in order to address their need for starting pitching, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Even if the Marlins considered a Stanton trade, though, his extensive salary, which will only increase the next few seasons, might not be appealing to smaller market teams, one scout told Jackson.

Now without Jose Fernandez, who passed away in a boating accident at the end of September, Miami is in need of pitching depth. The club doesn’t have many options beyond Adam Conley, Tom Koehler and Wei-Yin Chen and could be hesitant to turn to its depth.

Justin Nicolino, Jose Urena and Jacob Esch all received the opportunity to start in 2016, but the Marlins might want to give them time to continue to develop.

Because the Marlins don’t have many other players to dangle in trade talks and this offseason’s free agent pitching class lacks affordable veteran starters, they might consider trading Stanton. Over 119 games last season, he batted .240/.326/.489 with 27 home runs and 74 RBIs.

Still, the Marlins had difficulty scoring runs at times in 2016, and as a result, it might be counterproductive to trade one of the team’s most consistent offensive threats.

Stanton’s contract contains an opt-out clause after the seventh season, but regardless, he is now one of the lone faces of Miami’s franchise. He appeared to be one of the players most involved with keeping the team together after Fernandez’s passing, too.

Because Stanton’s contract is so large, he might not yield top pitching prospects. The Marlins could be better of trading Adeiny Hechavarria, Derek Dietrich or Marcell Ozuna, as Jackson notes.

If Stanton were traded, Miami would not only lose power, but also a corner outfielder. The organization has little minor league outfield depth and as a result would likely have to explore external options. Destin Hood might be an internal candidate the Marlins consider.

The Marlins almost certainly add starting depth this winter, but a Stanton trade likely remains unrealistic. However, if a team is interested enough, the Marlins could use him to improve its pitching staff.