Padanilam: Miami should trade Giancarlo Stanton
Benjamin Padanilam | Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Imagine winning the lottery.
You’ve been playing for seven years, waiting for it all to come together. And for seven straight years, each new investment you make seemingly fails to pay off.
But, in that eighth year, it all comes together. Particularly when you needed it most, given you’ve spent the last eight years investing countless dollars into the venture and are now left with essentially nothing.
Would you cash in the ticket?
Of course you would. You’d be crazy not to — some would say certifiably insane.
So if you’re the Miami Marlins and you have a winning lottery ticket in the form of Giancarlo Stanton, why in this world wouldn’t you cash it in?
Ever since Stanton broke into the league in 2010, the Marlins have known the type of talent they’ve had in the slugger. And they’ve attempted to build a playoff team around him. But in seven previous seasons, the team has never been able to muster up a winning record — reaching the 80-win plateau only once.
Well, any baseball fan knows the Marlins didn’t change that narrative this season; they finished 77-85, 10 games out of the playoffs and 20 games out of their division race.
But one thing did change: Their lottery ticket finally put it all together this season.
Stanton had arguably the best season of any player in the National League, and it’s got him as the front-runner in the relatively open race for the league’s MVP. He played 159 games this season, the most of his injury-riddled career, as he had never played more than 150 games in his previous seven seasons and had only surpassed 125 games played twice.
And the extra time on the field coincided with increased production across the board. Stanton led all of baseball in home runs (59), runs batted in (132) and batted .281 with an OPS of 1.007 — up from last year’s marks of .240 and .815, respectively.
Basically, Stanton put together a season unlike any he had previously done in his career.
And that’s why the Marlins need to cash in while they can.
The team’s new management, led by CEO Derek Jeter, has already committed the team to a rebuild. And just a month ago, Jeter asked fans to be patient with the team, warning them of “unpopular decisions” in the coming months.
Well, the first of those unpopular decisions will likely be to trade the face of the franchise coming off the best — and healthiest — season of his career.
And it should be.
The Marlins are generally thought by experts around the game to have one of the league’s five worst farm systems. Having not found success in any of the last eight seasons in building a playoff contender through free agency and trades, the team has seemingly no future to look ahead to either — and building one requires selling your best players sometimes.
And now makes for the perfect opportunity to do so; the well-known adage of “sell high” couldn’t be more applicable when evaluating the value of Stanton. But what necessitates these moves even more than just his trade value is the window of opportunity for the team.
The change in ownership matters; making a former player as beloved as Jeter the face of that change buys the franchise the time and good will necessary to launch such a full-scale rebuild — particularly when you consider that former owner Jeffrey Loria was widely considered to be one of the worst and most hated owners in sports, let alone baseball.
The market is also ripe with opportunity. Given the established success of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the resurgence of the New York Yankees, perennial contenders like the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox would almost certainly feel the pressure to make a splashy move and dip into their young talent pools. Additionally, the potential arrival of Shohei Otani — whom many are calling Japan’s version of Babe Ruth — as an international free agent under the age of 25 and subject to the financial constraints of a standard minor league contract could change the game’s offseason landscape, forcing even the Dodgers and Yankees to dip into their very deep systems to stay in the chase.
The time for the Marlins to trade Stanton is now. And they simply can’t afford to pass on cashing in their lottery ticket.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.