Naturally, my first step in this process of finding a new slugger was to contact the Miami Marlins Site Expert about the availability of reigning NL MVP and home run king Giancarlo Stanton.
It was reported earlier this month that the asking price from the Marlins for Stanton is “shockingly high” and I found this to be the same when negotiating with Marlins Maniacs.
I’ve outlined my opinion on what it should take to trade for Stanton, essentially viewing this as a glorified salary dump for Miami. They’ll require some useful pieces in return but can’t possibly expect a team to surrender their best assets if they want to unload the entirety of Stanton’s massive $295 million contract.
That unrealistic demand is exactly what Marlins Maniacs used as a starting point. Their initial offer asked us to surrender top prospect Jay Groome, along with Brock Holt and at least two other Top-30 prospects from the Red Sox farm system.
The discussing quickly unraveled from there. No matter how great Stanton is, I wasn’t willing to take on his albatross contract and give up Groome plus other assets. Not when there are other appealing power threats available on the free agent market who can be signed for less money without giving up any assets.
The conversation turned to Marcell Ozuna. The 27-year old hit 37 home runs with a .924 OPS and won a Gold Glove in left field this season. He’s projected to make $10.9 million in arbitration and remains under team control for two more seasons. While not the caliber hitter that Stanton is, Ozuna’s far more palatable salary left me open to giving up more in a trade for him.
Adding Ozuna would have necessitated dealing Jackie Bradley and sliding Andrew Benintendi over to center field. It would be a downgrade defensively in center field but Benny would do fine with a pair of Gold Glove corner outfielders on either side of him. The offensive production Ozuna provides would have made the deal well worth it.
I would have been willing to surrender Groome, Bradley and a lower-tier prospect for Ozuna but just as we seemed to be nearing an agreement, Marlins Maniacs threw a wrench in my plans. They wanted all that and more for Ozuna, while also insisting that we take Martin Prado‘s undesirable contract (2-years, $28.5 million remaining).
Ozuna plus Prado would be owed a combined salary of more than what Stanton will make over the next two years. It takes out the long-term risk but also brings in players that aren’t at Stanton’s superstar level. The Red Sox would have little use for Prado given they have better utility infielder options than a 34-year old on the decline coming off an injury-plagued season.
I offered a number of alternative scenarios, all of which were shot down. I would have taken Prado if Groome or Bradley were left out of the deal but Miami couldn’t have both if they were dumping his salary on us. I also asked to swap out Prado for Brad Ziegler (1-year, $9 million remaining). No dice.
Miami ended up keeping both Stanton and Ozuna. I honestly don’t see a realistic scenario where the rebuilding Marlins keep Stanton’s contract but Marlins Maniac did somehow manage to pawn off Prado and Ziegler’s contracts on other teams and felt content with where their payroll was in the end.