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  • Fishing for the Biggest Marlin

    "My big fish must be somewhere."--- Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

    Marlin fishing can be an adventure. These beasts of the ocean can weight upwards of 1,000 pounds and it can take quite the fight to get them into a boat. Fishing for these animals can take a lot of time and patience. It also takes the right tools and skills to reel in one of these giant fish.

    Over the weekend, a story came out in the Boston Globe that discussed the possibility of the Twins making a play for Giancarlo Stanton, the 23-year old slugging outfielder from the Miami Marlins. The Twins farm system has plenty of depth at multiple levels and they have the resources to trade away a few prospects to land the budding superstar.

    The article does go on to say, "The Red Sox might be in a better position than the Twins because the Twins have to rely on their top players to come up and man several positions." One baseball executive said, "The Red Sox have veteran players so their need to keep their best guys isn't as severe. So if they can trade them off for a young player like Stanton, they wouldn't have to fear about thinning out as a result."

    Stanton is in the middle of his fourth MLB season and his 162 game average for home runs is 39. For his career, he is a .265/.350/.536 hitter and he has hit over 30 home runs in each of the last two seasons. During the 2013 season, Stanton has career lows in batting average and slugging percentage. This could provide the opportunity for the Twins to buy low on a player that is under team control for multiple seasons.

    At the trade deadline, there was plenty of talk about Stanton being dealt from a struggling Marlins ballclub. Word around baseball was the Marlins were turning down any suitors that came calling for Mr. Stanton. Miami doesn't have to rush to move him because he is still pre-arbitration eligible. He will be arbitration eligible in 2014 and the earliest he could reach free agency is 2017.

    There are plenty of resources in the Twins system that could land them a top player like Stanton. Byron Buxton is considered by many to be the top prospect in all of baseball. Third baseman Miguel Sano might be the best power hitter to come through the minor leagues since Stanton. The article also mentions other young players like Kyle Gibson, Alex Meyer, Eddie Rosario, Travis Harrison, and Daniel Santana.

    The Twins organization has invested over $9 million in signing bonuses to Buxton and Sano. One would think that these players would be untouchable but it could take a player of their caliber to make this deal happen. It's hard to know which player the Twins would be more willing to trade. Most likely both players are untouchable because they are part of the long-term rebuilding process for the organization.

    Could the Twins put together a package of players that doesn't include Buxton or Sano and still get a deal done?

    It seems likely that the Marlins would want some young pitching in return for Stanton. The Twins made moves last offseason to add some depth to the starting pitchers in their system. Meyer and Trevor May have done decently since coming to the organization but it might be a step backwards to include them in another offseason trade.

    Recent draft picks like Kohl Stewart and Jose Berrios are both young and they have plenty of upside. Minnesota's starting pitching has been one of the biggest issues in recent years. Flaws with the pitching staff could be the main reason for back-to-back 90 loss seasons. It seems more likely for the Twins to deal away from their minor league positional player depth than from their up-and-coming starting pitchers.

    What would it take to get Stanton?

    It sounds like the Marlins would have to be overwhelmed to even consider dealing him. If the Twins would be willing to part with Sano and a couple other position players, the deal could get done. That still might not be enough for Miami and the Twins are in the middle of a rebuild. Stanton might be worth five extra wins a season but that might not be enough to turn the franchise around. Especially since the Twins have so many holes at different positions.

    If the Marlins are willing to part with Stanton, the Twins have the goods to get the deal done. The question remains... Would the Twins be willing to thin out their system for a player like Stanton even if he is the biggest fish on the market?

    Now it's your turn to take on the role of Twins GM Terry Ryan. If you were sitting in his spot, what players would you consider dealing for Stanton? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
    This article was originally published in blog: Fishing for the Biggest Marlin started by Cody Christie
    Comments 26 Comments
    1. Twins Daily Admin's Avatar
      Twins Daily Admin -
      It wouldn't take Sano or Buxton, IMHO. I might take Rosario. Or Hicks. I'd be loathe to trade away any pitching.
    1. troyhobbs's Avatar
      troyhobbs -
      Not sure what Miami's needs are but maybe a Plouffe or Harrison, Rosario deal would do...? Or Hicks and 1 of those 3 with a couple more throw ins? I'd hate to see Rosario go but w Dozier playing well and Polanco coming up we could probably afford to lose him especially for a guy like Stanton.
    1. louisschaff's Avatar
      louisschaff -
      It would take a minimum of something like Sano, Rosario, Stewart and Berrios. I wouldn't be interested in making a deal like this. By 2015 (the earliest the Twins will have a shot at the division) Sano could be similar in production to Stanton and cheaper.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by louisschaff View Post
      It would take a minimum of something like Sano, Rosario, Stewart and Berrios. I wouldn't be interested in making a deal like this. By 2015 (the earliest the Twins will have a shot at the division) Sano could be similar in production to Stanton and cheaper.
      I highly doubt it would cost all four of those guys. Sano and any pitching prospect that's available for trade would probably be required (Sano/Meyer for example) and maybe another lower prospect on top...but it wouldn't take Sano, Rosario, Berrios and Stewart (who isn't even tradeable right now).
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      I highly doubt it would cost all four of those guys. Sano and any pitching prospect that's available for trade would probably be required (Sano/Meyer for example) and maybe another lower prospect on top...but it wouldn't take Sano, Rosario, Berrios and Stewart (who isn't even tradeable right now).
      I'm not sure 1923 Babe Ruth would command those four players.
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      I wasn't aware outfield was a need for the Twins.

      I would be more interested in throwing prospects for a starting pitcher, and I wouldn't include Sano or Buxton in any deal right now.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Since the Twins are looking to peak somewhere around five years from now, 23-yr old Stanton would be about 28, right about at his own peak. Sounds good, but would the Twins really need him? Right now they're looking at a logjam of talent in the outfield. Buxton will be in CF for the next ten years starting either next year or just after. Arcia will be in RF, Hicks in LF. Then you've got a few other guys coming up through the minors, like Max Kepler and Adam Walker.

      In fact, with all the talent in the Twins system, the team should forget about acquiring guys like Stanton and focus on improving their training facilities and getting the best coaches available. Especially if the Pohlads want to continue to be cheapskates, then the cheapest way to ensure this franchise is competitive is to keep it stocked with the best coaches and draft scouts, then be ready to trade away your best players before they become eligible for arbitration.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      I'm trying to come up with a similar player traded at a similar point in their career, when they were still that cheap, and traded for a prospect. I'm blanking. Anyone else got something?
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      I'm trying to come up with a similar player traded at a similar point in their career, when they were still that cheap, and traded for a prospect. I'm blanking. Anyone else got something?
      Well, Babe Ruth, already mentioned, was traded at age 24. (OK, sold, not for a prospect.) But, you mean in the modern era of salaries controlled by the CBA. I'll keep thinking. Palmeiro?
    1. Ctwink's Avatar
      Ctwink -
      I just did a Google search of "big trades" and "best young baseball players traded" and I could find none that involved the young stud (similar to Stanton) traded for prospects. Most of them were like the Smoltz or Pedro trades - a prospect that turned into a stud traded for another player who was the "name" guy.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      I just don't see this happening. The Twins are fairly set in the OF and trading away their top 3B prospect to add another outfielder seems strange. Don't get me wrong, an OF of Buxton, Stanton, Arcia makes me drool, but I doubt that the Marlins would do this for a Hicks, Walker, Berrios swap, which is about all I'd personally be willing to give for him. If Sano was being blocked by an all star 3B, that might make more sense, but Sano is being blocked by Plouffe, who's a wildcard in his own right.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Trades of someone like Stanton are rare enough that an exact match may be difficult. There have been young established players traded for perceived or rumored "character" reasons. Gary Sheffield, Garry Templeton, Colby Rasmus are three that come to mind - Shef was traded twice for prospects before he was 25, Templeton was traded for Ozzie Smith before he became OZZIE SMITH, Rasmus wasn't anywhere close to the level of Stanton.
    1. AROG's Avatar
      AROG -
      If this were to happen. I think the Marlins would want, Arcia, Rosario, Morales and Jorge. For a young stud like Stanton, who rival GM's say is a good 5-6 hitter not a true 3 or 4 because of average and strikeouts a package like this doesn't upset me too much. I really like what we have in Arcia, he is younger then Stanton and I think the Marlins would take an OF that is ready to step in from the opposite side of the plate as well as two AA players, Rosario that is close to ready and Morales that may take a couple years. And then a young, high upside pitcher. We would get the right handed power bat we need to replace Willingham, have room in the outfield, keep Hicks and our top pitching prospects. This is a trade I would make.
    1. Dave T's Avatar
      Dave T -
      The Twins are missing a front-of-the-rotation guy. Although I hate the Wil Meyers for Shields trade, Kansas City had the right idea. I'd be willing to trade a couple of blue chip position player prospects for a blue chip pitching prospect. Why trade for Stanton when Sano is two years away?
    1. markos's Avatar
      markos -
      A similar comparison has to be the Miguel Cabrera trade back in 2007. According to Baseball-Reference:

      Traded by the Florida Marlins with Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers for Dallas Trahern (minors), Burke Badenhop, Frankie De La Cruz, Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller and Mike Rabelo.

      It is a little hard to calculate the exact value for just Cabrera because Willis and Cabrera were bundled together, but if I recall correctly Willis was thrown in as a salary purge.

      It isn't an apples-to-apples comparison, as Cabrera just finished his age-24 season (Stanton is a year younger), and was a couple years closer to free agency than Stanton would be. Still, Maybin and Miller were both top-10 Prospects, though Miller had already graduated to the majors by the time of the trade. According to Baseball America, de la Cruz was the #6 prospect in their system, while Trahern was #8.

      Using this as a baseline, a similar package (based on similar team-relative prospect rankings) for the Twins would be Sano, Buxton, Berrios and Kepler.
    1. louisschaff's Avatar
      louisschaff -
      Miguel Cabrera was traded with 2 years of control left. He fetched 2 guys that were ranked overall top 10 prospects 9 months before he was traded. Stanton has one extra year of control left but might be viewed as slightly less of a hitter than Cabrera was at the time.
    1. louisschaff's Avatar
      louisschaff -
      Markos beat me to it!
    1. AROG's Avatar
      AROG -
      You also have to remember that Dontrelle was a stud pitcher at the time. He was only traded with one year on his salary (I could be wrong, but that is my memory of the event) so was less of a multiple year option, but was a front line starter.

      • Miguel Cabrera (2003–2007) — Cabrera debuted with the Marlins in 2003 and hit a game-winning home run in his first game against the Tampa Bay Rays. He was a key factor to the Marlins' 2003 World Series run and the ballclub's primary power hitter during his tenure, hitting 138 home runs and driving in 523 in five seasons. Cabrera went to four All-Star games and won a pair of Silver Slugger awards.
      • Dontrelle Willis (2003–2007) — The "D-Train" was named the National League Rookie of the Year in 2003 and showcased his remarkable (for a pitcher) hitting ability by going 3-for-3 with a triple while scoring a run during Game 4 of the 2003 National League Division Series, which the Marlins won 7–6 over the San Francisco Giants to advance to the NL Championship Series. Willis holds many Marlins pitching records including single season victories (22), complete games (15), shutouts (8), as well as being second in innings pitched (1,022 ⅔)

      Miguel Cabrera had the same HR power, averaging over 30HR per 162 games his last 4 seasons with Miami but had a BA of almost 80 points higher over their times in FL. Also, Miggy was a 3B so that made him more valuable.

      All in all, I think we could get Stanton for the guys I listed above, possibly substituting another young pitcher for Morales.
    1. boomerb5's Avatar
      boomerb5 -
      Sammy Sosa was traded early in his career...Sox to Cubs for George Bell. Not quite as established as Stanton, but it's as close as I can think of.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Not to pick nits, but Stanton is not the biggest Marlin. Fernandez fits the Twin's needs a bit more, and unfortunately, Stanton will be cheap in comparison.
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