You are not signing Giancarlo Stanton long term. Repeat: You are not keeping Stanton. The only question, then, is when you trade him. And you know how this works, having done it, oh, a few times before: The earlier you jump, the better the deal.
Now, there is no indication – none, zero, zilch – the Marlins are considering moving Stanton before the July 31 non-waiver deadline. Quite the contrary: The Marlins are telling clubs interested in Stanton to back off, as if swatting away flies. We're young. We're getting Jose Fernandez back next season. We're going to be good.
Hah! Jeffrey Loria is Jeffrey Loria. And what the Marlins do under Jeffrey Loria is trade away stars. It's either that or sign Stanton for $200 million, right? And Stanton still might not say yes to such an offer, knowing the Marlins probably would surround him with Triple A talent.
I almost had to laugh reading a report out of South Florida this week indicating that a trade of closer Steve Cishek might not sit well with Stanton, who has said that he wants to see proof of the Marlins' commitment to winning.
Heck, the Marlins could keep Cishek, keep third baseman Casey McGehee, keep their entire 47-53 team together. Why would Stanton be convinced even then that the team is committed to a better future?
Loria traded Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera. He traded Josh Beckett and Ryan Dempster. He traded Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle. Some of those trades worked out rather well, too, which should only embolden Loria to rinse, wash, repeat.
What could Loria get for Stanton right now? At a time when the game is starved for offense, right-handed power in particular? And with Stanton under club control for the rest of this season and two more years after that?
A kingdom for your slugger!
The Cardinals would forget they ever heard of David Price. The Red Sox would move heaven, earth and Xander Bogaerts. The Dodgers would stop worrying about having too many outfielders and simply ship the ones they don't want out to sea.
Practically every team would be in; Stanton is only 24, and rapidly becoming a game-changing, Barry Bonds-type wrecking ball. He is bright and charismatic. He can change the direction of a franchise. And every team in baseball knows it.
So, pick a club, any club. Put him on the Yankees (don't ask me how they could satisfy the Marlins' desire for young talent). The Mariners with Robinson Cano (and, ahem, King Felix). The Pirates with Andrew McCutchen (for Stanton, you give up Gregory Polanco and more).
Any club that acquires Stanton will gain the inside track toward signing him long term, the inside track the Marlins currently possess and surely will burn. Stanton will be a free agent at 27. The dollar amount he will command is truly staggering. And if you think the Marlins can make this work, I've got a $639 million publicly financed ballpark in Miami that I'd like to sell ya . . .
Enough already. Let's see Stanton play for an actual contender. Let's see the Marlins do what they always do. Let's see the inevitable sooner rather than later.
Free Giancarlo Stanton.