Could the Astros add Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton this offseason?
Welcome to the first Astros offseason since they won the World Series before in franchise history.This team has what it takes to win the World Series for at least the next two seasons. You would think that the Astros GM Jeff Luhnow could just sit back and relax this offseason. After all, his plan of rebuilding has led to winning it all!
With players like Carlos Beltran and Cameron Maybin leaving via free agency, the outfield is up in the air at this point. Marwin Gonzalez was the primary left fielder in the playoffs, but he struggled offensively. However, you can argue that his defense and arm helped the Astros win it all.
George Springer and Josh Reddick are the two outfielders for 2018 written in permanent ink. Not that Beltran player much outfield, but the crew needs to decide who will play left field for the Astros in 2018?
Do the Astros need to add an impact bat?
The Astros have a young group of outfielders on the way, including Derek Fisher, Jon Kemmer, and eventually Kyle Tucker. They have many cheap options, including playing Gonzalez out there full time. Jake Marisnick will be returning in 2018, so he will be part of the outfield picture..
Meanwhile, in the National League, they had a player win the MVP award. His name is Giancarlo Stanton, and the Marlins, under new ownership, is rumored to be shopping Stanton. It is very rare for an MVP to possibly be traded the next season, but it was a rare close finish with Joey Votto. They were separated by one first place vote.
On Friday, I appeared on a San Diego radio station for a few minutes. One of the questions I got was whether the Marlins would still trade Stanton after winning the MVP? I said yes, because of the plan the ownership group, led by Derek Jeter, was trying to do. The fans however, would not be okay with the idea of trading the best player in the National League, according to the baseball writers.
Do the Astros need him?
After winning the World Series and not losing any critical players via free agency, no big acquisition is needed. Whether or not the team needs a big move, would they go after the premium bat in the trade market. With the way the Astros have been run over the past five years, you would probably say, “yeah right!”
Well, Joel Sherman of the NY Post asked Jim Crane if the Astros would trade for Stanton? With the way the Astros have penny penched, why would they change their mold and add a player with 10-years left on their contract? Stanton is signed though 2027 after signing a 13 year, $325 million dollar contract. He has an option for 2028, so this would not be a rental player.
When Crane was asked about Stanton, here is his response via Sherman.
"“Don’t think we haven’t thought about how easily the ball would go out in our ballpark.” Crane via Sherman."
Not sure about you, but my jaw dropped at the thought. A 70-homer plus type of hitter playing in Houston, would the Astros even make that move? As Sherman mentioned in his article, this would go against what the Astros were trying to achieve. Would they really be so bold?
According to Sherman, The Astros expect a salary hike because of the Verlander trade anyway. They also have nine players who are arbitration eligible this season. The payroll is already set to jump from a franchise high in 2017. Sherman said that Crane wouldn’t rule out adding Stanton.
Wow, is all I could say. In my opinion, the team that needs Stanton the most would be the Red Sox without David Ortiz. Without that big bat in the middle, the lineup is not as imposing. Could the Astros win without Stanton? Well, dugh, they already did. But if they added Stanton, all the other teams would fear the Astros!
Stanton had an NL leading 59 homers and 132 RBIs in 2017, while batting .281. It would take a lot for the Marlins to trade the face of the franchise. Don’t expect to trade Jon Singleton and other lower prospects. It will take some of the Astros top prospects.
The Astros would have to trade Forrest Whitley and/or Kyle Tucker. Hope you weren’t counting on holding onto Yordan Alvarez, and it may also take a younger current Astro. Personally, I wouldn’t trade Alex Bregman for anyone.
To add a player like Stanton, it will cost a lot. If any player is worth it, it could be the 28-year-old Stanton. As the Angels have seen with Albert Pujols, there will be peaks and valleys with Stanton. Unless the Astros plan on drastically increasing the payroll, I’ll believe it when I see it. If it happens, oh boy!
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***