On Monday, Brandt Dolce, the morning voice of 590AM here in St. Louis told you why Troy Tulowitzki is the outside power source the Cardinals so badly desire. His reasons were honest and credible. When healthy, Troy is the best shortstop in the game and gives you everything. Tulo also ranks as the most realistic trade possibility because there is a long term contract in place and The Rockies may be finally ready to move that load of future cash to another team and rebuild.
I won’t spend time here discussing my Tulo breakdown. Brandt did that and as part of this new series called “Friendly Fire”, I am going to keep that way and stick to my intentions. I am going to tell you why Giancarlo Stanton is the man the Cardinals want using the same 5 questions Brandt used. He is the real deal. He is established, 24 years old and cranking towards 150 home runs. Let’s not talk reality here folks. This series is all about three sports writers having fun with possibilities that include living in the stars. After my Stanton dose today, Arch City Sports scribe Tim Kaiser will take a break from Finals and tell you why David Price is the man for the Cardinals. Price took in the Sunday night game at Busch so maybe there is more here than a simple night of Bud Light and Nachos for the Tampa Bay Cy Young caliber lefty. Who knows?
Let’s get on with the Stanton talk.
1. What package/profile does Miami want?
This is easy. When reports of trade talks between the Astros and Marlins leaked out, Miami asked for Houston’s top two prospects for Stanton. Houston turned them down. It’s not a stretch to say Marlins GM Dan Jennings will ask for Oscar Taveras and Carlos Martinez. That is a potential All Star right fielder and a potential top of the rotation pitcher with abilities that have been compared to Pedro Martinez(trust me, it wasn’t John Kruk saying this). The Marlins have a plethora of young starting pitching, but wouldn’t mind adding Martinez to the crop. The Marlins will want offense to replace Stanton and that comes in the form of Taveras and maybe a Matt Adams as well. Right now, it’s easy to say talks with the Marlins start off and end with the two centerpieces being Taveras and Martinez. I don’t think Miami wants Shelby Miller or Allen Craig. Those are AL team targets only.
2. The Package Mo offers?
What exactly would the entire package be for Stanton? Right now, if Mo is asking, Jennings responds with Oscar, Martinez, Piscotty and Marco Gonzales. This is where things get very tight and hard to move with Mozeliak. There is a small chance Miami could ask for Kolten Wong instead of Martinez or one of the last two but I doubt it. Do you part with four talent controlled young players for a proven lethal right field bat who will only get better? It’s not easy to swallow and I can stand here and tell you myself this deal would probably not happen. Still, we are here to dish the probables and see where reality even skims the line with fiction.
3. The Contract?
Giancarlo Stanton is arbitration eligible in 2015 and can be a free agent in 2017. He is represented by the Wasserman Media Group. Stanton isn’t a rental and the team acquiring him could control him for at least two more seasons while paying him handsomely. Stanton is making 6 million dollars in 2014 and doesn’t have a contract for 2015 and beyond. This is what makes him better than Tulo and similar to Price in the sense that you aren’t on the hook right away for 6 years and 118 million dollars. The Cards could wait until Jaime Garcia’s contract is gone after 2015 and possibly Allen Craig’s contract(which increases with each season) may belong to another team. Mozeliak would most likely pull the trigger on a long term deal with Stanton before 2015 began but there is the option of waiting. Stanton’s attraction lies in the fact that he is young enough where he isn’t going to squeeze your payroll right away.
4. The downside of the package?
Losing potential All Star talent that is controllable for many seasons. For example, Taveras isn’t a free agent until 2020. Roughly the same for Martinez. The Cardinals would be going against their organizational makeup by letting loose the talent they spent years growing and cultivating. This is the same reason I don’t see a deal likely for Tulo. In the offseason, I am sure Mozeliak called Colorado and asked about Troy. The Rockies asked for a boatload of prospects and Mo went out and got Jhonny Peralta, who ranks right behind Tulo in overall WAR. Trading all these pieces away for Stanton will not be easy in any shape or form. Mozeliak will go against his practiced methods.
5. Is Giancarlo a good fit organizationally and a good fit in the market?
Have you seen that smile and body type strutting around Busch earlier this month and at the All Star Game? Stanton is poster boy material with shoulder as wide as the Arch and the only man in baseball who hits a baseball harder than Matt Holliday. Giancarlo is a good kid, does lots of charity work and wouldn’t burn the financial bridges the minute he walked into Busch. In an era of baseball slowly healing from the severe use of PED from several players, Stanton is a clean powerful specimen that could bring back the best years of Albert Pujols. What has this Cardinals team lacked since Pujols’ departure? Home Run Power. With the exception of Matt Adams, this team has suffered a power outage in post Albert days. Stanton would change that. He hit 37 home runs in only 123 games in 2012. He slugged .608 in the same season. Stanton’ career average is only .270 but it may rise a bit with this lineup of solid hitters who work counts and get on base. Stanton would thrive with Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong hitting in front of him and Holliday, Adams, Peralta and Molina coming in behind him. The St. Louis market loved when Big Mac Mark McGwire lit up the scoreboards with home runs so they will swallow up Stanton like a chilled Budweiser in the hot summer air. Stanton fits easily inside this organization and would solve the conundrum that is currently taking place in right field. The Cardinals have a shortstop and a pretty good one in Peralta. They don’t have a right fielder they can rely on.
Bonus-Check out this lineup.
Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong, Giancarlo Stanton, Matt Adams, Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, Jhonny Peralta, Jon Jay or Peter Bourjos, Pitcher. Mike Matheny can mark it up that way every night. No need to quibble or worry. Mark it down in ink. That’s a fearsome pack of hitting that other teams won’t soon forget.
Without Martinez, your rotation still loads up like this-
Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha, Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller.
Peralta stays at short. Wong stays at second and turns into a gold glove caliber fielder who can hit .295. Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos platoon out in center field with James Ramsey and Randal Grichuk chomping at the bit. Stanton settles into right field for the foreseeable future. Your lineup is lethal and your rotation is still fierce.
The End. A deal for Stanton may not be likely but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream about the possibilities. Check back in tomorrow for Tim Kaiser’s take on Price and read Dolce’s Tulo support from yesterday.