One of the few players spared from the flames is budding superstar Giancarlo Stanton, who voiced his displeasure with the team’s blockbuster trade via Twitter. It’s hard to blame him for being frustrated.
Although there is no indication (via MLB.com) yet that the Marlins are planning to trade Stanton, with the way this organization is run, any player making more than the price of an admission ticket should have his bags packed just in case.
This is where the Rangers come in.
If the report that Texas is unwilling to go beyond three years with free-agent Josh Hamilton is true, they may as well be giving the star outfielder his walking papers. It would be very shocking if Hamilton takes a deal such as this when he could potentially receive twice that amount somewhere else. His possible departure will leave a big void in the lineup.
Giancarlo Stanton addresses this need in numerous ways. He just turned 23 years old and would add a needed injection of youth into an aging lineup. Stanton finished second in the National League in 2012 with 37 homers despite missing almost 40 games. Also, his offensive numbers have steadily improved in every season since he broke into the majors.
Stanton is under club control for the next four years and isn’t eligible for free agency until 2016. This gives the Rangers the financial flexibility to continue pursuing Zack Greinke this offseason.
The big question is what will the Rangers give Miami in return for the star slugger?
The answer is relatively simple: Jurickson Profar. The shortstop is arguably the most coveted prospect in all the baseball. This deal would probably require an additional piece or two, but it definitely makes sense for the Marlins, who traded two All-Star shortstops in the past five months (They did acquire Yunel Escobar in the blockbuster with Toronto, but he has a history of trouble and distraction).
Texas has been extremely reluctant to include their 19-year-old wunderkind in any deal, but this is a circumstance where they have to reconsider that approach.
The emergence of Profar has given the team a messy situation to sort out regarding their middle infield. Ian Kinsler just signed a long-term deal and Elvis Andrus is a free agent after 2014.
The situation with Andrus, a two-time All-Star who is only 24, in particular is sticky. If the Rangers trade Profar, they can begin negotiating a new contract with Andrus because, as mentioned earlier, acquiring Stanton won’t cost them much money for a few years. It also allows he and Kinsler to remain at their natural positions.
More financial wiggle room arrives when Michael Young, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy all come off the books in 2013. However, they also take with them many years of solid offensive production, which only enhances the need for a player like Stanton.
Giancarlo could put up unparalleled numbers at the Ballpark in Arlington as a force in the middle of the Rangers' lineup for years to come.
Admittedly, pitching is still a priority for Texas, and Profar’s status as trade bait will most likely hinge on whether the team can reel in an ace this offseason.
Still, the Rangers’ anemic offensive output down the stretch in 2012 shows that baseball is about scoring runs. Stanton makes this goal much easier.
The front office has spent years stockpiling the farm system for moments such as this. They kept their crown jewels at the deadline this past season, and now it’s time to capitalize on their value.
A deal for Stanton at this point appears like a long shot, but it’s more than worth considering.
This whole scenario may seem like just another headache for Jon Daniels, but that’s the price of being a contender.