I Hate To Be This Guy, But….

When we’re young, we’re constantly told to reach for the stars, and keep our dreams going for as long as possible. Unfortunately, most of us eventually reach a point where we must give up our dreams for something more realistic. Back in the early 00′s, when I was just a little kid, I was convinced that some day I’d be playing for an NCAA championship on Duke’s basketball team. Of course, that was crazy, and now I’ll settle for watching UMass play in one NCAA tournament game.

The reason I bring all of this up is that Red Sox fans, and really fans all around the game, have let themselves get too deep within a certain dream all offseason, especially the past week or two. While I don’t enjoy being this guy, I feel like I have to put an end to it. Giancarlo Stanton most likely isn’t going to be traded before the start of the 2013 season. As awesome as it would be to have him on your favorite baseball team, unless that team is the Marlins, it’s not happening.

Now, this isn’t to say I don’t understand why everyone wants him. Of course I can see that.  He’s a 23-year old outfielder with otherworldly power, good patience at the plate and solid defensive ability. Last season, he put up a five-win season as a 22-year old, and is under team control through the 2016 season. Put simply, players like him don’t come around very often, and obviously every team in baseball wants him.

Why would Miami want to get rid of him, though? Everyone points to the team’s most recent fire sale, in which they’ve traded most of their legitimate major-league talent not named Giancarlo, just a year after being huge players in free agency. To those people, I direct you to the same franchise’s fire sale after their 1997 World Series win. They traded away the vast majority of their major league talent that year, too. However, they did keep guys like Cliff Floyd and World Series hero Edgar Renteria. The reason: they still need some guys to draw a crowd.

Think about the current Miami Marlins roster without Stanton. Who would be the biggest draw for this franchise that already struggles so mightily to draw fans? It would probably be either Ricky Nolasco or Logan Morrison. Even if they’re decent baseball players, they’re not exactly marquee names. They have good prospects that should develop into marketable players, but those guys aren’t ready yet. Which is why it’s much more likely they’ll trade Stanton after this season, when they’ve had a full season to talk up their youngsters. Coincidentally, next offseason will also be the first time the young slugger is arbitration-eligible, meaning his price tag is about to rise significantly.

I’ve heard many people say that waiting a year would kill some of his value, since it’d mean they’d waste a year he’d be under team control. However, wouldn’t his value rise if he had another big season as a 23-year old? On top of that, any team that trades for him will likely try to lock him up, probably for his first couple of free agency years. If anything, it seems like everything would even out and his value would stay roughly the same.

Now, I will say that, when the Marlins do eventually trade Stanton (which seems pretty much inevitable at this point), the Red Sox should be in a very good position. Of course, much of this depends on their prospects playing well again in 2013. If they do, then Boston will be one of the few teams with the prospect depth to land a guy like Stanton, as well as the financial flexibility to lock him up long-term. Fans may be weary of long-term contracts nowadays, but Stanton is the type of player you give those deals too. So maybe in the future we can revisit this topic and dream this dream again. For now, though, it’s time to wake up. I hate to be this guy, but Stanton isn’t going anywhere this offseason.