COMMENTARY – I thought one of the biggest mistakes the Miami Marlins made this season was trading one of its top minor league prospects, Josh Naylor, to the San Diego Padres in a deal that netted them pitcher Andrew Cashner. If there is a move fans and national media may look at and wonder “why” this might be the one. Naylor was the organization’s top prospect and would have been a power source in the middle of the batting order in years to come.
Now that the season is over and the organization is preparing for free agency, another topic was brought up in a Q&A with MLB.com’s Joe Friasro. Would the Marlins consider trading slugger Giancarlo Stanton to help bolster the pitching staff which is now void of a leader in the rotation?
Two weeks ago, I spoke with NBC Sports Radio regarding the death of pitcher Jose Fernandez. At the end of the conversation I was asked how does this team recover and replace Fernandez on the roster. Simply put, no one can replace the dominance of such a young star. No one can just step in and, for lack of a better term, make the magic happen. But the person who asked Frisaro brought up a question everyone will ask at some point before spring training, during spring training and after the regular season starts.
“Would the team consider trading its biggest star?”
Excuse me, I need a moment to process all of this.
The theory is if Miami puts the word out there the ball club would be willing to part with their home run leader, there would not be a lack of teams wanting to snatch him up – for the right price. The Boston Red Sox just lost David Ortiz to retirement. The New York Yankees could want him in the middle of their lineup. I could see him in Atlanta or possibly in five or six other cities. Everything, however depends on timing and whether this team can weather that kind of hit to its lineup and the scrutiny that comes along with it from the national media, not to mention the fans who adore him.
After the loss of Fernandez, can this team deal with trading away its second biggest star? Remember there was talk before his death that the Marlins might entertain trading Fernandez because a new contract for the 24-year-old might be astronomical.
“I still believe Stanton will remain with the Marlins. The front office is committed to retaining the core, and Stanton is a franchise-caliber player,” Frisaro said
“The timing may not be right to seriously think about trading Stanton this offseason, but it will likely be discussed at some point in the next year or two.”
Frisaro added the package in return would have to be substantial, including a big league-ready front-line starting pitcher. So finding a match would be difficult.
The Marlins have solid pitching prospects in the minors, but not a lot of depth. Jarlin Garcia, the club’s No. 3 prospect spent most of the season on the disabled list. Luis Castillo is not ready yet and Jake Esch was called up from Triple-A New Orleans and may not be ready for a full season of work. Austin Brice was a starter in Jacksonville before being converted to a reliever and is now with the team on the 40-man roster.