"Now Batting... For Minnesota... Right Fielder.. Number 27... Giancarlo Stanton[Crowd Cheers]". Has a pretty nice ring to it, right? According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Twins and Red Sox are in good position for an offseason blockbuster to acquire the power hitting Stanton.
So I think it's appropriate for a quick run-down of the pros and cons to this potential deal. Pros: Young, Powerful. Cons: We'd have to give up a top prospect or two, BUT Stanton is having an off year (Because an .805 OPS and .354 wOBA is an off year...). That factor can either be a pro or con. I like to think of it as a pro, since the off year could potentially lower the asking price, and he is only 23, so he's got plenty of time and ability to get back on track.
However, there is one final potential con, his contract. His contract expires after this season, and although it's cheap ($537k) he could wind up going to arbitration, meaning a much pricier contract and a long wait for the Twins to try and pursue him. Either way, his contract won't be renewed, since he's arbitration eligible, so we won’t be trading for him with only a $537k contract to eat. The Twins may be still willing to eat that salary, especially since their payroll is around $75 mil, as opposed to the 2010 mark of around $100 mil, but let's be honest... it's the Twins.
But salary is only a potential obstacle in acquiring Stanton, giving up prospects is as certain as death and taxes. Granted, Stanton is going to be a developing yet experienced 24 years of age in 2014, but the Twins possess highly-touted prospects such as Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano that are very likely to be involved in trade talks. So where do the Marlins not have prospects? According to MLB.com's Top 20 Prospects, the Marlins don't have a Top Prospect at First Base, despite having avid tweeter Logan Morrison in the MLB. The Twins' #20 Ranked Prospect, Adam Walker (.282/.321/.546 in Class A Cedar Rapids)is a One-Bagger, but if the front office thinks they can trade just him for Stanton, they've got something else coming. Miami is deep in OF (5/20) and pitching (9/20) prospects, leaving their infield depth something to be desired. So this means that Eddie Rosario and.. as much as it hurts me to say... Miguel Sano are most likely to be heavily discussed if such trade talks ensue, along with a prospect or two such as Adam Walker.
The last thing I'd like to address is the possible future-Twin's current slump. Even though he has a solid .354 wOBA this season, it doesn't match up with his 2012 (.405) and 2011 (.381)performances. So what's wrong? He's hitting the ball as much as he always does, as he is making contact with the ball 68.2% of the time he swings, the same as his career mark. However, he isn't swinging as much. In his career, he's swung at 46.4% of all pitches. This year, he swings at 62.8% of pitches. He also isn't making the same kind of solid contact he used to, with his Line Drive % down to 15.8% as opposed to last year's mark of 22.1%, and his HR/FB rate has nosedived from 28.9% in 2012 to 18.8% this year. Perhaps his hamstring is bothering him, and he's not able to generate enough torque from his lower body. Or, he might just not be seeing the ball well. Or, he's been figured out by pitchers. It is worth noting that according to FanGraphs he is producing less runs on Fastballs and sliders per 100 pitches than previous seasons.
So it's really a coin toss what happens if we trade him, both in terms of what we give up and his performance. But I must say that a future Twins lineup with Buxton, Sano/Rosario, and Stanton with a veteran presence of Joe Mauer (and maybe even Morneau) sounds pretty good to me. Please leave comments below on what you think about this ordeal. My 2 cents in this are that we shouldn't trade for Stanton if it means giving up Buxton, Alex Meyer, Sano, or Kohl Stewart. I would be open to trading Rosario, depending on the full conditions of the trade. That being said, I highly doubt the Twins will wind up with Stanton, the point of this article was to stir up some thoughts in terms of possibilities of a potential Stanton trade.
Sources: MLB Trade Rumors, Fangraphs, MLB.com, Cot's Contracts