The Miami Marlins have traded away any hope of contending in the National League East in 2013, and probably in a few years forward, too.
So why would you keep the one piece that another team would really want?
With Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins will finish in last place. Without him, they will finish in last place. That's the crux of a very reasonable argument by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
"This has a chance to be baseball's version of the Herschel Walker trade. Teams are begging to give up a minivan full of young players for the 23-year-old Stanton, an outfielder with more raw power than anyone in the game. In the immediate aftermath of the trade that saw the Marlins offload Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio for a bevy of prospects, teams called Marlins executives and asked what it would take to get Stanton. The response, according to two sources who inquired: He's not available - yet."
Stanton isn't happy in Miami. He's 23 and is already a star, but he's got to play in a pitcher's park in the middle of a lineup in which he won't be protected. Stick him in the lineup of the Yankees, or Dodgers, or Cardinals, or Rays, or Rangers, or Angels -- just pick a contender, really -- and some big-time offers should come. That's because he won't be a free agent until 2016, meaning that's four years at a bargain price for perhaps the best young power hitter in the game. Heck, a team might be able to get him on an extension now, which would extend team control that into 2018 or 2019 at a price that is below market value for a player who has a .903 career OPS in just thre seasons. If he can become just a little more selective at the plate, you're looking at a guy who will hit .300 with 40 homers every season. The only reason he hasn't driven in 100 yet is because the Marlins are pathetic in getting on base in front if him.
The Marlins aren't likely to be good during any point that Stanton is under team control, or at the very least, when he's eligible for arbitration and making north of $10 million per season. So why wouldn't the Marlins do it? Because they're just that inept? Owner Jeff Loria must learn to trust his scouts to stockpile the minor-league teams with as much young talent as possible. He's already driven away his fan base -- would watching Stanton and a bunch of nobodies lose every night sell considerably more tickets than just the nobodies losing every night? Probably not. And the team would become a contender faster if the trade works out.