CINCINNATI – Disclaimer: anyone can dream up a trade offer and hypothetical trades are what’s fueled dead-periods in talk radio for years.
So I’m not going to share them or create them unless I think they are A: interesting, B: within the realm of plausibility. And I stumbled upon a a rumor meeting both criteria today from ESPN’s David Schoenfield today.
What do the Pirates’ need? They need offense. They are 12th in the NL in runs scored.
Where do they need offense? Several places but particularly in right field.
How would you like Giancarlo in right field at PNC Park?
The Pirates’ right-fielders have combined for a 15th ranked OPS, last in the NL.
The Pirates other real area of weakness is shortstop, which ranks 14th. The Pirates have tried to upgrade shortstop by making Jordy Mercer the full-time shortstop, trading a little defense for what they hope is a lot of offense.
But right-field is more problematic.
Hurdle has tried platoon. He’s tried Travis Snider, he’s tried Garrett Jones, he’s tried Jose Tabata and even Russell Martin. But right field is where you need a prototype corner bat and the Pirates lack that and that’s a big reason why they’ve struggled to score runs. Gregory Polanco might be that guy down the road. Austin Meadows might be that. Josh Bell might be that. But they are years away.
The Pirates aren’t years away.
They have an opportunity now. And the Pirates could very well be buyers because they have a talented and deep farm system.
The Marlins don’t have an opportunity. They are several years away from being relevant and by that time Giancarlo Stanton will be either a free agent or into his third year of arbitration. I don’t see Stanton as a candidate to take a team-friendly contract extension. I think Stanton will be traded at some point. So who will be the buyer? Seattle is interested and has young talent. Texas has the system to be a player. Pittsburgh? Pittsburgh might be the best fit.
Schoenfield proposed this idea:
PIRATES get: Stanton – who would solve a lot of problems for the Pirates
MARLINS get: Jameson Taillon/Gregory Polanco/Tony Sanchez (edit – thought ESPN had Alen Hanson here)
Would you do it? Yeah it’s expensive. But remember even half of top 10 prospects fail to reach stardom.
I’d advise Neal Huntington to do it. (You can’t get free advice like this anywhere).
Look,Taillon and Polanco are both top 25 prospects. Hanson is another top 100 guy. But the Pirates have right-handed pitching depth throughout their system. And Stanton isn’t going to come cheap, nor should he. Stanton is an extremely rare talent, just the third player to debut at 21 or younger and hit 100 home runs in his first 400 at bats. I think he’s one of the 10 most valuable assets in baseball – he’s under club control for three-plus seasons – and to get that type of player you’re going to have to pay.
The Priates are one of the few organizations who have the type of talent the Marlins want.
Who says no first? I’m not sure either side would say no.
An Andrew McCutchen-Stanton-Starling Marte outfield could also be very special defensively.
It would also sell some tickets.