If a question the Miami Marlins organization does not want to have to answer.
What happens if Giancarlo Stanton goes down with yet another injury? Are the team’s playoff hopes dashed with the loss of their power hitter?
The Marlins aren’t the only ones facing that kind of fear. There is at least one player on each major league team that could cause sleepless nights should they go down during the middle of the season. Stanton, however, would be as detrimental to the Marlins as Tom Brady going on the injured reserve for the New England Patriots.
Bradford Doolittle of ESPN.com wrote a piece highlighting what happens if Stanton, and others, cannot play a full season. For the sake of this story, let’s just focus on the right fielder, who was also chosen as one of the best at his position this Spring Training.
“Stanton's string of poor injury luck is well-established. He spent 41 days on the DL in 2013 with a strained hamstring, 99 days there in 2015 with a broken hand and 23 games last season with a groin strain. When he plays, Stanton is simply one of the most devastating power threats in baseball.,” Doolittle wrote.
For a team with a solid nucleus in the outfield, but no other 40-home run hitting potential, the big bat is more important. Miami plays small ball at times, using speed and timely hitting of Dee Gordon and others to score. There is hope the power surge in Miami will reach new levels this season, but it won’t happen without Stanton in the lineup.
“Entering his age-27 season, the Marlins are a wild-card contender, and Stanton is just one part of terrific outfield along with Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna. Nevertheless, if Miami mounts a playoff run, it'll be with the boost of Stanton's irreplaceable bat. The contingency remains future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki, so it's not all bad.”
Suzuki does not hit the long ball, plain and simple. He showed he can still play at a high level last season and continue to rewrite the record books, but the team still needs the long ball every so often to win games. The pitching staff is not dominant, so Miami cannot rely on seven or eight innings each outing.
There has been plenty of talk about moving the MVP candidate to left field in a move that sends Ozuna over to right. That may not help keep him off the disabled list, but change still might do the former second-round draft pick some good.