In a world slightly detached from reality, a trade sending Giancarlo Stanton, a Southern California native, to the Los Angeles Dodgers makes all too much sense. After all, they are the team he grew up rooting for as a child.
The Dodgers seemingly operate without a budget, and the expensive Stanton is among the game’s best and most marketable players.
But then there’s the real world. You know, the one where the Dodgers already have a slew of Major-League level outfielders, one where they’re potentially more concerned with cutting payroll than they are with adding to it, and where they frankly don’t seem all that concerned with adding Stanton.
So, what gives?
Well, for starters, it’s safe to say the Dodgers front office deserves to be called any word other than predictable. They recognize how big of a star Stanton is, and how, compared to contracts that will be handed out next offseason to the likes of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, Stanton’s contract suddenly isn’t all that unreasonable.
Beyond the financial cost of acquiring Stanton, there’s his no trade clause. ESPN’s Buster Olney recently postulated that Stanton could easily block trades to any team not named the Dodgers.
At that point, the Dodgers would have to be interested, right? Right?
Who knows. Regardless, let’s ask the question as to what it would cost should Stanton suggest that it’s the Dodgers he’d like to play for; something which apparently has not happened yet, at least not directly.
Because this is the Miami Marlins we’re talking about, and no one has any clue whether they’re more interested in shedding every penny of Stanton’s salary or in getting something of significant value in return, here are a few different scenarios.
Option 1: Dodgers assume responsibility for Stanton’s entire contract
Dodgers receive: Giancarlo Stanton
Marlins receive: Wilmer Font, Trayce Thompson, Rob Segedin
This trade is mostly about cutting the fat off of the 40-man roster for the Dodgers considering how much guaranteed money they’d be inheriting.
Font, while coming off an unbelievably impressive 2017 season in the minors (178 strikeouts in 134.1 innings pitched), is 28 years old, is out of Minor League options, and struggled mightily in 3.2 Major League innings this season, allowing seven runs on seven hits while issuing four walks.
The second name here is obviously the most interesting in Thompson, but the general feeling is the same. If you trade for Stanton, Thompson becomes the eighth-best outfielder on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster.
He’d offer some value to the Marlins and would get the chance to compete for playing time right away. Segedin is another serviceable Major-League piece the Marlins could use and who has little use for the Dodgers at present time.
Option 2: Dodgers take on Stanton’s contract, but Marlins do the same with Adrian Gonzalez
Dodgers receive: Giancarlo Stanton
Marlins receive: Adrian Gonzalez, Will Smith, Jordan Sheffield, Trayce Thompson, Wilmer Font
Now we’re talking blockbusters. Personally, I’m not even speaking with the Marlins about Stanton trade scenarios unless the possibility of including Adrian Gonzalez is on the table.
Yes, Miami is looking to shed salary, but Gonzalez only has one year remaining on his deal. In Gonzalez, the Marlins get a veteran presence manager Don Mattingly is comfortable with and someone who might have a bit left in the tank in spot-start duty and off the bench.
The real prizes for the Marlins here are the next two names on the list, beginning with catcher Will Smith, the Dodgers’ No. 9 prospect according to Baseball America and No. 11 according to Baseball Prospectus.
Given the depth at catcher ahead of him (Austin Barnes, Kyle Farmer, Keibert Ruiz and Yasmani Grandal), Smith becomes expendable as an incentive for the Marlins to take on Gonzalez’s contract.
The second prospect here is Jordan Sheffield. He’s a hard-throwing pitcher who checks in as the organization’s No. 10 prospect, according to Baseball Prospectus. The No. 36 pick in the 2016 Draft out of Vanderbilt, Sheffield is likely headed for a career in the bullpen.
But where in the bullpen remains up in the air.
Now, as with any trade column, some will respond with, ‘The Dodgers would never trade X player!’ right alongside people others who would argue the Marlins would scoff at the exact same trade.
With that in mind, let me clarify here: these proposed trades won’t necessarily compete with offers from other clubs. It’s just not likely that the Dodgers get into a bidding war with the San Francisco Giants or St. Louis Cardinals.
Even if it means Giancarlo Stanton is moved elsewhere. That said, if the market slows or if Stanton is clear about his desire to come to Los Angeles, the leverage suddenly shifts in Andrew Friedman’s favor, and trades such as the ones outlined above do make some sense.
Another caveat to those clamoring for the Dodgers to trade for Stanton: Gonzalez is 35 years old, and prior to the 2017 season he had never been on the disabled list in his career.
By the time Stanton’s contract would end, assuming he doesn’t opt out, he’ll be 38 years old. Since 2011, Stanton has failed to play in 125 games four times, because of injuries to his groin, knee, hamstring, eye, and hand.
As far as I’m concerned, the Dodgers should be more aware of the risk involved with this type of trade than anyone else.
Then again, maybe they look at their current roster and realize someone like Stanton is the difference-maker who is needed to end the World Series drought.