By Dan Buffa
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Dreams are important. Without them, reality would be far too harsh, sad, and make us dread the next day. Dreaming about the impossible happens every single day in the world of sports.
Fans dream up schemes to make their teams better in their office at home, with the team far away playing real games. Who needs general managers when you have radio call in opportunities and internet chat rooms? Who needs a war room with a conference call phone on a shiny table when you have social media platforms like Twitter?
This weekend, the website STL Cardinal Baseball wrote about Giancarlo Stanton being coveted by the St. Louis Cardinals. I will try to handle this story like a live grenade – carefully, and with blunt conviction. Get their take before you digest the rest of mine.
First of all, disregard the rumor. Put it out of your mind when it comes to realistically expecting something to happen. This will only make your blood pressure rise to an unhealthy number. Remember, folks, we are dreaming here.
The website isn't trashy per say, but it is far from a reliable source with which to take a move like this seriously. Stanton is a cheap, robust talent and the Cardinals have a pipeline full of cost controlled outfield talent on the way up. Then again, the best rumors are the most unreal theories.
Without the crazy propositions, they wouldn't be so talked about nor would they cause so much instant reaction. The minute I shared the link from Rant Sports Sunday night on Twitter, it was like I dropped a stick of dynamite in a well-built house and smiled like the Joker from The Dark Knight.
Let's talk about this before we even think about buying into it.
Giancarlo Stanton is a great young player. He made $533,000 in 2013, got bumped to $6.5 million this season. He's hitting close to .300, clubbed 11 HR, driven in 40 runs and gets on base at a .393 clip right now. The 6'6" 240-pound outfielder has 128 home runs in 526 games inside a four season career. His career batting average is .268, with a career OBP of .356. Keep in mind, the California native has only played in 150 games or more one time in his young career, and his highest total for hits is 135 in 150 games in 2011. Stanton is still a raw, young talent and capable of blasting 35 to 40 home runs, driving in 120, and hitting .310. He is a home run threat and the only man who hits a baseball harder than Matt Holliday.
Stanton's most impressive season was 2012. Despite playing in only 123 games, he hit 37 HRs, drove in 86 runs and batted .290. He has 130 hits in only 449 at bats, compared to 135 in 516 a year before. I am breaking down these stats for Stanton to show the man isn't Miguel Cabrera - but he could be in time. Giancarlo, otherwise known as doom for pitchers, has yet to reach his full potential and 2014 looks to be his breakout season. He is a pure slugger who brings excitement with every at bat.
Why would John Mozeliak trade for Stanton when he has Oscar Taveras, Stephen Piscotty, Randall Grichuk, and James Ramsey waiting to climb up through the ranks? Why would you trade an unknown beer for a proven taste? Stanton is here and has produced at a solid clip for a bad team. Miami/Florida is known for developing great young talent and then trading it off for more raw young talent.
The cost of Stanton would include bats like Allen Craig or Matt Adams, and pitching talent like Shelby Miller and/or Kevin Siegrist, and Trevor Rosenthal. I don't believe for a single second Mo is thinking about this deal or even picked up his Blackberry (every GM in sports has a bat phone and it's a Blackberry) to consider calling Miami about Stanton. I am simply brainstorming. Thinking of ways to make this come to some possible brand of sense so I can dismiss it.
Let me step outside of the usual logical zone and say a few more things.
I like Stanton. I like the young "Mini Rock" a lot. He is a stud, carries a big personality, bigger bat, and would give the Cardinals something they sorely lack right now: an instant threat at the plate. Stanton could remind Cardinal fans of Albert Pujols. A man who could turn this depressing season around for a team that expects to win big every year. Stanton is an exciting and young (24 years old) player who is a proud member of the "Not Messing Around Crew." It is a nice thought to picture him in classic Cardinal red and not that hideous Marlins jersey for a few dreamy moments.
Stanton is tearing up right-handed pitching this season, smashing them for 35 of his 40 RBI and a .300 average. He doesn't hit well away from Miami, but I am sure he could settle into the confines of Busch Stadium (or anywhere for that matter). He is fierce and will only get better if he stays healthy and becomes more disciplined at the plate (averages 123 strikeouts per season).
Back to logical stance real quick. It would take trading 3 to 4 players to make this deal. I doubt it will happen. A Stanton trade is delicious looking, Miami has a history of willingness to trade, but going for him would be abrupt and kind of crazy for this Cardinals team. Then again, Stanton is arbitration eligible next season and doesn't hit free agency until 2017, so it's not like a team would be renting him for 2014.
If I am thinking like the Marlins, I would ask for Adams/Craig (Matt is cheaper), Shelby and/or Siegrist, as well as a decent prospect. However, if I am the Marlins, I am thinking this guy is under our control for a few years, so we can probably try and build around him or at least let his value increase.
A rumor is only a rumor. I don't think this deal is happening. Taveras is going to be playing the outfield at Busch Stadium before the calendar hits July and the organization has built him up as an amazing prospect with a wondrous swing. This Stanton nonsense could be a fan drumming up chatter for a boring early season sludge. If this became real in a matter of weeks, you can quote me as being surprised. It's crazy to think a Cardinals team picked to win the NL Central and return to the World Series is suddenly considering trading for a premier talent like Stanton.
You may think this deal is as unlikely as Mike Matheny playing Peter Bourjos three games in a row. Call it early season struggle panic talk. That's all acceptable. Just remember: it's Giancarlo Stanton and that man deserves a little investigating and future observation. If the Cardinals struggles persist and something needs to happen, Mozeliak won't hesitate in calling around the league and dangling his young talent. He made it through the offseason without trading away any of his young guns. When that happened, I made a few statements saying those prospects and talent were best saved for a possible 2014 trade. Here we are. The discussion has begun.
I don't think the Cards will trade for Stanton, but the idea of it isn't preposterous.
Dan Buffa is a writer for Arch City Sports.