The status of Miami Marlins power hitter Giancarlo Stanton is one of the most compelling story lines surrounding the struggling Fish early this season. The Marlins, however, have not been receptive to inquiries from other teams regarding the brightest spot on their roster.
The MLB Network's Peter Gammons reported Sunday that three teams have asked the Marlins about trading Stanton - the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, and Texas Rangers. Miami has told all that they are "not interested."
Many Marlins fans assumed that Stanton's days with the team were numbered after the team made a salary-dumping mega-trade with the Toronto Blue Jays last November. Their reasoning was two-fold: Stanton would eventually become a free agent (after the 2016 season), and there is a high likelihood that the penny-pinching Marlins would be able to afford re-signing him when he hits the open market.
Additionally, Stanton was very upset when team management effectively gave up on the 2013 season by making the trade with the Blue Jays ("I do not like this at all," he said days after the trade).
Indeed, the threat of Stanton demanding a trade became a very real possibility for Marlins fans, though he has mostly remained silent on the issue ever since.
But because the Marlins retain club control on Stanton's contract through 2016, he may be too valuable to trade. Even after he becomes arbitration-eligible next year, The Marlins will likely continue to pay him less than his full market value, even though he is now one of the best hitters in baseball.
For the Marlins to receive a fair value in a Stanton trade, another team would have to offer two or three top-tier prospects along with one or two everyday players. And even if the Marlins could get top prospects in exchange for Stanton, they would not be nearly as valuable as Stanton, by virtue of the fact that there is no such thing as a can't-miss prospect.
Perhaps the Marlins have learned the lesson of the Miguel Cabrera trade, when the team gave up a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate for the Detroit Tigers' two best prospects - neither of whom (CF Cameron Maybin and LHP Andrew Miller) panned out.
Besides, the Marlins are struggling to get just 14,000 fans to attend their home games early this season. Trading Stanton would be the one move that could reduce home crowds to 1,000 or less. There is simply too much to lose and not nearly enough for the Marlins to gain by trading Stanton, at least for now.