First and foremost, with Jeffrey Loria completely fleecing the city of Miami, the taxpayers of Miami-Dade County, and an entire fanbase, I could not be any more thankful for a genuine owner like Mike Illitch. Everything that Illitch is (an actual fan of the game, an owner willing to pay out the nose for a championship, a hero in his city) Loria is clearly not. What a deplorable human.
With a Marlin mega-deal set to be completed tomorrow, and severals of deals made before that, one would have to hope that Dave Dombrowski has made a call or two to Larry Beinfest inquiring as to some additional players. They hammered out the Jacob Turner/Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante deal, so they know they can work with one another. And with that thought as a backdrop, the Tigers might want to slow down their pursuit of Torii Hunter and consider the possibility that Detroit can make a legitimate offer on Giancarlo Stanton.
First, some background on Stanton. As you may have already heard, this 23-year old rightfielder is, arguably, the most powerful hitter in the major leagues. This season Stanton played in 123 games, yet still hit 37 home runs (including two more in the minors on a rehab assignment). Stanton’s ISO for the last three seasons were .248, .275, and a staggering .318 in 2012. His career walk rate is 10.0%, and his slugging percentage has been on the rise for the last three seasons. Also, this guy can hit a ball out of any stadium in either league.
His defense is also exceptional: his career UZR/150 is 8.7. His UZR for this year was 9.3, which was good for fifth overall among Major League right fielders. His OOZ of 82 was just behind Justin Upton‘s 83 and 3 points ahead of Torii Hunter‘s. He has a cannon for an arm and has good speed both defensively and offensively. And, to reiterate, someone this talented is only 23 years old. 23!
A major issue between the Marlins and him (aside from a merciless hatchet job on the team itself) is that he becomes arbitration eligible in 2014, and can theoretically be a free agent by 2017. With their penny-pinching ways flaring up like the fires of hell in the last several months, one can bet that the thought of paying dearly to keep Stanton is unappealing. And this is where the Tigers come in.
Detroit has the payroll flexibility to meet not only Stanton’s arbitration demands when they arise, but also to offer him a doozy of an extension if need be. And quite frankly, Stanton would be worth just about any dollar amount; he is in rarefied air in terms of talent and youth and team control. For Stanton, he’d be leaving the flaming wreckage of a franchise that has betrayed everything they have promised not just their fans, but their players, and going to one of the premiere franchises in all of baseball, let alone the top World Series contender. Wouldn’t this be an ideal trade for his interests as well?
For someone like this, Dombrowski would have to pony up something along the lines of the Miguel Cabrera deal: Two top prospects and two additional major-league ready pieces. The conversation begins with Nick Castellanos, I’m assuming. Honestly? For Stanton, I’d trade him in a heartbeat. Stanton, at 23, is one of the best players in the game. One can only assume that he maintains this upward trend for the next several years. If any team in the majors isn’t currently flashing their top wares to the Marlins they aren’t doing their fanbase justice (….poor Marlins fans…). Dombrowski and Illitch should have no reservations for this – if it revolves around a deal of Nick Castellanos, Drew Smyly, Brennan Boesch, Jhonny Peralta, or anyone else (even Avisail Garcia) they have to make the deal. I can’t stress enough how Giancarlo Stanton is one of the best players in the game at such a young age, and to have such fantastic raw power in an era where power is indeed quite the commodity…he should be all but untouchable.
This is a Miguel Cabrera-type opportunity, and I hope the Tigers are at least putting some feelers out before closing the deal with Hunter.