In Right Field for Your Chicago Cubs... GIANCARLO STANTON??!!!

Do you recognize the names Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller?  Prior to the 2007 season they were ranked the 6th and 10th best prospects, respectively, in all of major league baseball.  A Tigers team that had just promoted it’s top prospect — a young pitcher named Justin Verlander — were looking forward to adding them to a team that had just had it’s first winning season since 1993 and its first World Series appearance since 1984.

Fans were excited, too.  The now defunct Mowtown Sports Revival blog had this to say on them:

[Cameron] Maybin is the most promising position prospect the Tigers have had in decades. I know there hasn’t been a more hyped prospect in my life-time. He gets the nod over Andrew Miller at #1 because of how fragile the Tigers’ position depth is in the minors. He is slightly more important to the future of the Tigers than Miller. As far as I can tell, Maybin is every bit as good as his press-clippings. Maybin’s line for the season is .306/.422/.478. Those numbers are better across the board than his 2006 totals at West Michigan (A-). The only knocks on Maybin thus far are his strikeout rate and lower-than-anticipated power numbers. Maybin is 3rd in the Florida State League (FSL) in walks so he definitely has pitch recognition skills despite his strikeout rate. He is an untouchable commodity for the Tigers. GM Dave Dombrowski said last season that he wouldn’t trade Maybin straight up for Alfonso Soriano and that was in the middle of a pennant race. It’s important not to expect too much from Maybin too soon. I think he will be very good in time. Right now, he’s just touching the surface of his ability.

Miller is the most promising left-handed pitching prospect the Tigers have had in decades. Notice a trend here? He has wicked off-speed stuff to go with a 96 MPH fastball. He excelled in his first start in AA with eight innings of one-run ball. He currently has a .59 ERA (!!!) in four starts at Erie. He made his MLB debut for the Tigers last month in a spot-start in which he pitched six shutout innings picking up the victory. Miller will likely become a full-time starter in Detroit by next season. I can’t imagine the Tigers sticking with Mike Maroth over Miller beyond this season. Miller is better than half of MLB starters right now. Don’t be surprised to see Miller called-up to be the ’07 version of Joel Zumaya especially with the Tigers recent bullpen struggles.

A case of a fan overrating them?  Perhaps.  But here is Baseball America on the pair:

The Tigers were elated to add Andrew Miller with the sixth pick in last June’s draft. A power lefthander, Miller was the draft’s consensus top talent but fell because of signability concerns. He signed with Detroit by early August, joined the big league bullpen later that month and finished the regular season in the majors. He’ll return to the minors to begin 2007 and could progress almost as quickly as Verlander.

But the long-term forecast for the system’s position players appears somewhat less certain–except, of course, for outfielder Cameron Maybin. He’s among the best prospects in all of baseball and could be Detroit’s regular center fielder by 2008.

As it turned out, Maybin wasn’t quite so untouchable.  Less than a year later, Maybin and Miller were the headliners in a six player package to the Florida Marlins for a young third baseman named Miguel Cabrera.  Also included were #6 organizational prospect Frankie de la Cruz, Burke Badenhop, Mike Rabelo, and Dallas Trahern.

History, of course, records what happened next.  Buoyed by the foolishly high prospect payment, the Marlins stayed near the top of the heap in the NL East in the years since the trade and inconsistent play by Miguel Cabrera has relegated the Tigers to an also ran.

Or something like that.

The truth is this is one of the most one-sided trades in major league history.  In the six and a half years since the trade, Cabrera has been baseball’s best hitter, winning a triple crown, putting up a staggering 38.8 bWAR on his own, and the Tigers are working on their fourth straight playoff appearance.

The six players the Marlins got have combined for a lifetime bWAR of 11.5.  Most of that is Maybin’s 9.1, put up after the Marlins traded him to the Padres.

With this as prologue, let’s consider the Cubs situation.  The plan is starting to come together, with Anthony Rizzo emerging as an elite offensive player and Starlin Castro an above average shortstop.  The Cubs have the minor leagues’ top offensive performer in third baseman Kris Bryant.  He appears to be on the verge of the majors.  The latest draft added another advanced college bat, Kyle Schwarber, to the mix.

What can be added to this?  What if the Cubs traded for one of the best offensive players in the game, RF Giancarlo Stanton?  Among active players, only Pujols and Stanton put up a slugging percentage north of .600 in a season by a player 22 or younger.  (I’m considering ARod as inactive.)  Only turning 25 in November, his age fits perfectly with players like Rizzo and Castro.  A 3-4-5 of Stanton-Bryant-Rizzo would be the stuff of nightmares for National League pitchers.

The cost of this lineup?  I asked an industry insider, and he said SS Javier Baez, RF Jorge Soler, CF Albert Almora, 1B Dan Vogelbach, and RHP Pierce Johnson.  To Cubs fans who have spent the rebuild falling in love with our prospects, this looks like an insane overpay.  Aren’t these the guys we’ve been putting into theoretical lineups for two years?  But the truth is, if one of the four hitters turns into Giancarlo Stanton and the rest of them don’t make the majors, it is still a huge win for the Cubs.  We can guarantee that return by making this trade.

I understand the fear that all of them will reach their ceilings but the experience of the Tigers should convince us that not all top prospects reach their ceilings.  In addition, there is real reason to worry about all four of them being impact players for the Cubs.  Javier Baez still has eye-popping power, but he’s working on approach in AAA.  As a young player, it’s far too soon to say he won’t.  But there are also no guarantees he will.  Almora is struggling to hit in high A ball and his lack of walks has been much discussed.  Jorge Soler and Pierce Johnson haven’t been able to get on the field this year.  Dan Vogelbach is a first baseman only on a team with Anthony Rizzo and his numbers since short season ball have been good but not good enough to compensate for his glove.

Again, this isn’t to say they’re doomed, just to say there is significant risk in all of them, much like existed in Maybin and Miller.  If we can de-risk by turning them into the game’s premiere young power hitter, I think it’s a good idea to do so.

The down side?  The obvious one is that the Marlins ride those 5 players to multiple World Series titles.  And while it’s certainly a danger, the history of prospects suggests that it is unlikely.

Perhaps the bigger danger is that young offensive players haven’t been a problem but we could use an elite young pitcher.  Throwing our best prospects for another hitter — who may also be restricted to first base as he ages — would leave us unable to trade for a pitcher.

That’s fair but, right now, pitching has not been a problem for this team.  Offense has.  Getting a bat like Stanton to match up with Rizzo solves that issue for a decade and gives us a solid frame to add the prospects to.  Our depth means we still have prospects coming.  If Almora isn’t our center fielder of the future, Jacob Hannemann can take that role.  Baez won’t be supplanting Castro at short, but Marco Hernandez could.  In that sense, we’re in even better shape than the Tigers were when they made their trade.

So what do you guys think?  Is it worth it to trade the farm for Stanton?  Would you rather trade for someone else?  Or do you think our prospects should have their future in Chicago?

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  • If we were in a pennant race? I could see the argument for it.. Right now though? No. It would be ludicrous to make that trade imo.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Agreed - the timing isn't favorable to do this - we're more than just a single player off of being a perennial contender at this point.

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    The goal is to get to a pennant race consistently. Stanton would help that cause. The prospects could help that cause. I'd take together sure thing.

  • Plus.. Marlins are in the pennant race. They aren't trading Stanton and most likely 're-sign him ..

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    In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Think of it as a winter trade, in that case. In terms of the Marlins extending Stanton, both he and Jeffrey Loria have to agree to a deal. To put it mildly, that could get interesting.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    They have been trying to sign him foe 3 years. Stanton doesn't like how management run things, I very much doubt he ever sign with them.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    He is happy with how things are currently. With young guys like yelich, ozuna and Fernandez. He has changed his outlook on the ballclub and his chances of resigning with the Marlins are significantly better

  • In reply to KGallo:

    "Stanton doesn't like how management run things, I very much doubt he ever sign with them."

    Stanton being young and without good foresight was angry when they traded away a bunch of the big contracts only a year after signing them.

    Now Stanton can see that it was a smart move to make them better long term. I would think his attitude has changed. Management is on the right track.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I would also not be surprised to see Miami lock Stanton up long term.

  • The hard part in comparing the two trades (Tigers to Marlins and Cubs to Marlins) is we fans don't have an attachment to those Tiger prospects like we do with this current bunch of ours.

    I look at it this way. If this hypothetical trade went through, we would still have Rizz, Stanton and Bryant in the middle of the lineup. Castro would bat 6th and Alcantara could be batting 2nd.

    So 2-6 would be AA, Rizzo, Stanton, Bryant, Castro. Not bad.

    If Bryant winds up in the OF, you would have Bryant in LF, Stanton in RF. You have Olt, Villanueva and Candelario who could play 3B, though all have their issues. The FO would have to hope that Hanneman can prove to be worthy of the 2nd Round pick placed upon him last year and become a CF.

    Johnson doesn't strike me as that great of a loss as it seems we have a much more depth with our arms than in the past. I would wonder if the Marlins would swap out either Almora or Soler for a Paul Blackburn instead in order to save one of those bats for the future.

    Great thoughts Mike. Worthy of thinking about.

  • They cannot have Almora

  • In reply to TD40:

    Agreed. Or Blackburn.

  • In reply to Dan Bradley:

    smh again!

  • In reply to TD40:


  • I'd do it. Many fans hate to think this way, but some of that talent in the Cubs minor leagues WILL be traded for needed pieces on the MLB club. Adding Stanton's bat to Castro's and Rizzo's would be huge - especially if Bryant joins the party next year. Add Scherzer to the rotation and extend Samardzija and the Cubs are formidable for 2015, even before others are promoted.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I'd even throw in Barney....

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Samardzija will be traded and Scherzer will be a Yankee.

  • In reply to TD40:

    Sure. The Cubs won't get any pitching in return for Shark. The Yankees will also sign Lester, Shields and any other pitchers who could help the Cubs. We're doomed.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    hells yeah! make the trade! (yet, do we need to worry about his strike out rate? stanton's, that is)

  • Soler's the one I'd hate to let go. I see high bust potential in both Baez and Almora for different reasons. Andreoli in center, Alcantara at second, Stanton in right I'd have a hard time not making this trade.

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    In reply to wastrel:

    I agree, I think Soler would be the one we would regret trading away.

  • Notionally, I love the idea of adding an estabilished young stud. However , the price tag- which WILL be extremely steep-will really deplete our depth.

    As I tweeted to you Mike, I think there might be some appealing bargain items-in terms of talent given up - that I'd like to take a hard look at-I.e Kemp, heck even Dom Brown.

    If they do make a big move, Stanton is clearly the guy who warrants the give-up of that type of talent.

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    In reply to Carl9730:

    If the Cubs could interest the Indians in acquiring either Hammel or Shark, they could have Tyler Naquin.

  • Swap Junior Lake for Almora and it's a deal.

  • If I'm the Marlins there's no deal unless Bryant is involved in some shape or form.

    All five of those names have had disappointing seasons thus far. I understand the age relative to level but out of those five names you cannot say "he's having a season that we were expecting". Not to say they can't bounce back, just saying.

    There's too many low level pieces for Stanton. Only Baez has significant time above A ball.

    "Javier Baez still has eye-popping power, but he's working on approach in AAA. As a young player, it's far too soon to say he won't. But there are also no guarantees he will. Almora is struggling to hit in high A ball and his lack of walks has been much discussed. Jorge Soler and Pierce Johnson haven't been able to get on the field this year. Dan Vogelbach is a first baseman only on a team with Anthony Rizzo and his numbers since short season ball have been good but not good enough to compensate for his glove."

    That's a great paragraph to convince Cubs fans that the prospects can be parted with, it's also a great paragraph to the Marlins to why you don't make the trade. Too many unknowns.

    If I'm the Marlins I'm asking for two of Castro, Rizzo and Bryant and a lottery ticket. If they don't like it, no big deal, don't call again until you're serious.

  • In reply to CubbyBear:

    It works for them on a number of level. First they get a ton of Hispanic and local players that they can market. The 2nd Stanton isn't going to sign and he has made that very clear so, they basically get the value of 4 1st round picks. And the 3Rd is every prospect holds unknown aspects.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    That's why you ask for major league pieces, because of the unknown.

    The Marlins got absolutely fleeced in one of the most one sided trades in MLB history and they're going to do it again?

    The wounds are still fresh because Cabrera is arguably the best player in baseball.

    Stanton is not going to re-sign but you got to believe some team is going to be willing to part with proven major league talent if Stanton becomes available.

    I'm not trading the guy unless I get proven major league talent back. I don't see the logic in making a humongous mistake and then doing something along the same lines again. You lessen the risk of Stanton coming back to haunt you by getting some major league pieces. Castro and Rizzo are locked up nice and long and for reasonable prices, I want them if I'm the Marlins. And if the Cubs don't like it, no biggie, teams are going to be tripping over themselves to get Stanton. Let the bidding war begin.

  • In reply to CubbyBear:

    CubbyBear, you and the Marlins have every right to that view. But remember it is very possible to overplay that hand. The price of two of Casto, Rizzo, and Bryant is through the roof high. Many MLB teams don't even have that fire power to trade. Also, All three Cubs players have much better cost control making the price much higher than on paper.

    Back to my original point though, there is risk in your strategy. The Twins tried it with Johan Santana and found themselves on their knees begging for a deal from the Mets where they could save face and they couldn't get one. My point is you can shoot for the moon but if you miss you may get just a first round pick if he bolts or a return that is literally pennies on the dollar.

  • This was the response I expected when I read the article. Here is the thing you have to think of prospects as Currency. You save some (Bryant) and you use some to buy bigger more reliable pieces.

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    This is from a Giants fan site regarding their interest in Samardzija --

    "Whilst the Giants won’t be moving prized prospect, Kyle Crick, they could potentially move Mike Kickham, Juan Perez, Tyler Colvin, George Kontos, Chris Stratton, Jason Berken or even Edwin Escobar. With Matt Cain proving to be susceptible to injury and the inconsistent Tim Lincecum at the back of their rotation, the Giants could move for Samardzija before the trade deadline."

  • I've written about possible Stanton trades regularly. The most recent one I came up with: Almora, Soler, Vogelbach, Armando Rivero, and $10M (to offset some of Soler's cost). It's hard to believe that I missed SO low with that offer, but if this industry insider is to be believed, it's an asinine trade idea. At the point that you've given up Baez, Almora, Soler, and Vogelbach, you have to be getting back Stanton and Heaney, not including additional prospects in the package. If this is really the price for Stanton, you don't touch it.

    At the time of the Cabrera trade, Dontrelle Willis was in clear decline, but he was still an above-replacement starter the year before (he came off the rails shortly after the trade). Sure, it was mostly a salary dump, but the Marlins sent two players of value to the Tigers for two mega-prospects, one good prospect arm (Eulogio de la Cruz), one less good prospect arm (Dallas Trahern), and a filler-type arm (Burke Badenhop). The comparable package from the Cubs would appear to be Baez, Almora OR Soler (let's assume Soler because of positional fits), Johnson, Edwards, and Rivero/Vizcaino/Hendricks/etc. So, would I do Stanton for Baez, Soler, Johnson, Edwards, and Rivero? Maybe. Probably not. But maybe. Make it Baez, Soler, Vogelbach, and Rivero and I'm at least taking the call. But the market is different now, valuing cost-controlled talent more than it did in 2007, pushing up the league-wide value of our youngsters.

    I'd so no way to this deal.

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    In reply to Rob Huff:

    I think it's interesting that are well reasoned responses on why this deal is too much for Stanton and also well reasoned responses on why this isn't enough for Stanton. I think it speaks to the problem even GMs have in trying to assign value to prospects.

  • In reply to Rob Huff:

    Also, the Tigers system in 2007 couldn't hold our current system's jock. They basically had Maybin, Miller, and a cloud of dust. Baseball America in ranking them 14th: "The Tigers have a major league team in good shape and a pair of potential superstars on the way in OF Cameron Maybin and LHP Andrew Miller. They don’t have much depth beyond that, as they’ve been willing to trade their pitching depth to acquire Sean Casey and Gary Sheffield, and they haven’t had much success developing hitters."

  • KG, I agree with you I general but that is a lot of loot. Most importantly, I think we're all comfortable moving JB in right deal(s).

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    It is but it could be a drop in the bucket depending on what the Cubs get for Hammels and Samardzija. Also the chance to have 2 players with 80 power in the same line up is something special. It would also help take pressure off Bryant.

  • Well written article, but I have a couple points, i.e. To me your package of Almora, Soler, Vogelbach, and Johnson - without Baez, is a very solid package. If they must push for more than add in Candelario and/or Villanueva...that is an amazing package without Baez.

    Also the fact that the Cabrera trade turned out so lopsided for the team trading the prospects, is purely anecdotal evidence, their are just as many instances of the exact opposite happening. Lopsided trades fall into two categories: A star (Tom Seaver, David Cone, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Cabrera, etc.) is traded for prospects that never make it. Or an unheralded minor leaguer becomes a huge star (Smoltz, Jeff Bagwell, Michael Young, Cliff Lee, etc.) after being traded for a "proven" player. Both can happen...but the best chance of not being haunted by the trade in the future is absolutely NOT trading a prospect like Baez who is already in AAA at age 21(after crushing AA last year), with the kind of insane bat speed and power that is just not see in middle-infield prospects unless they are going to be stars. Baez should be untouchable. The whole point of having such a very good and deep farm system is that we can keep the best of the best for ourselves, i.e. Baez & Bryant. Almora and/or Soler would be the top prospect on 20 other teams.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    You don't think one of the other 28 teams can beat the package of Almora, Soler, Vogelbach, Johnson?

    That's two top 100 prospects (Johnson and Vogelbach won't be on any top 100 lists at mid-season unless something drastically changes) for a 24 year old MVP candidate.

    I believe you were the poster asking for more for only 1.5 years of Shark.

  • In reply to CubbyBear:

    First of all it's not "two top 100 prospects" as you say... Almora is #15 on the MLB top prospect list, Soler is #41. So that's one top 15 and one top 50 prospects. Further more Pierce Johnson was #86 so he is top 100 and Vogelbach is definitely top #150 and he is listes as the #4 1B prospect. Finally I also, suggested that Candelario and/or Villanueva could be included. Candelario was the Cubs #9 prospect before the season started and Villanueva was #11 and was rated the #100 prospect in 2012. So that's a VERY strong package, whether you understand that is or not.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    something to think about is whether you can get 80% of gio stanton for 20% of the cost of gio stanton... think you're better off making a move like the one mike proposes when the ancillary player risk (the minor leaguers NOT traded for the star) is when the team's contending. You've translated a wave of prospects into serviceable MLB contributors and have a clear role that a player like gio fits. appears more to be something you do as a final or next-to-last step...not something you roll the dice on before your core elevates. my 2 cents...

  • In reply to ratay1:

    RE: appears more to be something you do as a final or next-to-last step...not something you roll the dice on before your core elevates.

    I agree wholeheartedly.

  • I actually don't think that's too high of a price.

    Could you remind me of Stanton's contract situation?

    Also, I don't see Hannemann ever making the majors.

  • The only real potential problem I see is this....

    "Javier Baez still has eye-popping power, but he's working on approach in AAA.

    Almora is struggling to hit in high A ball and his lack of walks has been much discussed.

    Jorge Soler and Pierce Johnson haven't been able to get on the field this year.

    Dan Vogelbach is a first baseman only on a team with Anthony Rizzo and his numbers since short season ball have been good but not good enough to compensate for his glove."

    So essentially, your justification for trading them seems to be the exact same reason why it would take 5 of those players for Stanton, a man who has his own injury concerns, no? He has not played in 85 of the Marlins games over the past two seasons. Also, you can mark him down for one strikeout a game, as he averages over 1/gm.

    Since KG is talking of prospects as currency, I'll say this: I don't like the idea of purchasing a home during a rate of high inflation. That is, I don't like the idea of selling low on the prospects. I'd also like to see Stanton stay healthy the rest of this season and continue his production.

    I don't like trading 5 guys. I can admit that. But I dislike trading 5 guys who are having down years even more. I'd like to get a bit better value out of them to the point that maybe you only have to include four of them. But to be even more honest, Stanton's health scares me. I don't know why, but it just does.

    But whatever may come....

  • I can just see the Miami GM announcing to the baseball world that he declined offers of the best minor league prospects and MLB players from numerous teams for Giancarlo Stanton.

    Instead he decided to trade Stanton for these 5 Cub prospects:

    Triple A SS (who may or may not remain at SS) with a 36 K% and a 5 to 1 K:BB% with a triple slash line of 217/275/415

    Double A pitcher with a 4.39 ERA with more walks (24) than strikeouts (22) and concerns about his pitching arm that allowed him to drop in the draft

    Double A outfielder who has yet to show he can remain healthy but is guaranteed $20 million after 2014

    High A outfielder with a triple slash line of 245/266/325 with a 5 to 1 K:BB% and a 2.5 BB%

    High A chubby power-hitting DH with a .398 slugging percentage

    He said the clincher was that he received assurance from a multitude of Cub fans that these prospects will all get better as they gain experience.

    A pair of rose-colored glasses was also included.

    Mike, you need a new industry insider.

  • In reply to Buford:

    Um, that is a large price for an injury prone slugger who is about to get expensive fast. You don't have to like the return but I'm guessing many FO's would be leery giving up that many high ceiling prospects in a deal like this. The price is high, too high? That is in the eye of the beholder.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    An injury prone slugger who is about to get expensive fast is not how you should describe Stanton. That's looking at him in the worse possible light.

    I could counter back with generational talent who is a franchise changer.

  • In reply to CubbyBear:

    Buford just painted the 5 Cub prospects in the worse possible light. Do you realize that? And you just painted Stanton in the most positive way possible. I definitely do not make this trade. I don't think Theo does either.

  • In reply to CubbyBear:

    There have been plenty of comments on taking the worst view on the prospects mentioned, no?

    You can view the injury stuff how you want, but it must be considered.

    The expensive side is not negative, even in his arb years he will be expensive, a value for his talent but diminishing each year. His cheap years are going bye, bye fast, and that has to be considered as well.

    So yes, tremendous talent, no question! But to not weigh injuries and cost vs the cost control of prospects is simply bad business.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    And the eye of the beholder should not be looking through rose-colored glasses.

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    In reply to Buford:

    Lol that was funny, I think the FO has to decide if these down years are glimpse of the future w some of these prospects or an aberration.

    Any trade for Stanton has to come w an extension otherwise there is no point trading for him.

    Marlins will prob want our best pitching prospect to go w Baez since we are not giving up our best hitter. Who is our best pitching prospect? Arrieta ?

  • In reply to Buford:

    For a guy who K's at least once a game and has averaged around 115 games the past couple of seasons (injury concerns)?

    Yeah, it goes both ways.

  • You know full well Theo and company will make a monster trade in a year or two and some of these prospects we love (AA, Almora, Soler, Bryant, Baez, etc.) will be moved. Even though I'm against trading JS, some of those prospects they get in return might be moved as well. (In a weird way this is better since I'm not so emotionally invested in them). Theo once traded Hanley Ramirez and others to get Beckett. This led to a World Series win. He'll do it again, count on it. The hardest part for me is too not get too emotionally involved in the Cubs' minor league talent because more than a few will leave in trades.

  • In reply to David23:

    Theo didn't make the Ramirez/Beckett trade as he was "retired" at the time of the trade due to a power struggle with Larry Lucchino who made the trade.

    In fact, Theo was against the trade and subsequently tried to reacquire Ramirez after he came out of "retirement" and returned to the Red Sox.

  • That would be a bit of an overpay for Stanton. He doesn't have THAT much excess trade value because he's only "cheap" for two more seasons and then he is a free agent. (Anyone have an idea of how much he'll make in arbitration?) Take one of Almora/Soler out and I think it makes more sense. Top 50 hitting prospects are a valuable currency.

  • The price is going to be sky high based on the amount of teams that are going to want him.

    Imagine the package the Cardinals could put up headlining with Wacha and Taveras. The Braves with Simmons and Tehran. The Pirates with Cole and Polanco/Marte. The Rangers with some combination of Andrus/Profar/Perez/Odor. The Dodgers with Pederson and Urias. The Red Sox with Bogaerts. They have such a deep farm system like the Cubs they can match them tit for tat in any offer.

    I'd put most of those packages ahead of the Cubs in terms of the top 2 guys. I'd put the Cardinals in front of the pack. They have the young major league headliners, the money to spend to lock Stanton up, the deep farm system that wouldn't be ravaged with a trade and keeping them out of the Cubs hands is all the more incentive to pull the trigger.

  • In reply to CubbyBear:

    That may be so, but the Pirates for sure wouldn't pay Stanton to a long term contract and I 'm not so sure that the Braves or Cards would do so either.

    That in part does diminish the value of Stanton as teams know they are going to have to anti up big time to sign him long term.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I agree with the Pirates (I almost left them off), but not with the Cardinals, they'll spend.

    I don't know about the Braves, they haven't been penny pinchers but I wouldn't put them with the huge spenders.

    Red Sox, Rangers, Dodgers, Cardinals will definitely spend. You have to believe that's 4 very serious bidders.

  • In reply to CubbyBear:

    The cards would pay the salary, that I agree. All the talk this off season was they were going to use that farm to get Tulo and they chose just to spend money. But even when they were going to make the push for Tulo the names Wacha and Tavaras never came up. Maybe, at the most one of those, but that is a stretch. The Cards don't trade that way. Plus they are not a great match for the Marlins that have a lot of pitching and if trading their best hitter will be looking for offense to replace him with.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    Stanton is a way better option than Tulo. I wouldn't trade those guys for Tulo either. Smart move by the Cardinals.

  • In reply to CubbyBear:

    Nowhere in Mike's article did he ask what the MARLINS would do. Geez...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    It's showing the competition that the Cubs have. It should have been included because that competition and what other teams can offer is bound to drive up the price. Take your GEEZ and kindly shove it.

  • In reply to CubbyBear:

    I agree that there could be other great packages out there but most of those you listed I just don't see. Especially the Cardinals package, they didn't want to move either of those guys for Tulo, let alone both. There is zero chance the Braves do that, it isn't just about player value but cost control. To me that is the biggest flaw in your scenarios, if it is talent related you are expensive but in the ballpark, but when adding the cost into the equation you are way too high. As I mentioned the Johan Santana deal shows how people will back away from prohibitive talent costs along with huge payroll spends.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    Santana was 29 when he threw his first pitch for the Mets. It's not the same. Stanton is years from his theoretical prime. It's a different scenario. Hitters like this rarely if ever are put on the trading block.

  • In reply to CubbyBear:

    So your stance is the Marlins can't overplay their hand? You may be surprised, but we will have to agree to disagree.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    I never said my stance is the Marlin can't overplay their hand, but if that's what you want to make things up, ok.

  • In reply to CubbyBear:

    ????? My point in the Santana example is teams that ask for the moon can end up with pennies on the dollar. I was never specifically linking Santana and Stanton in a player value sense. My point was the Santana example is one of the most widely known scenarios where a team had fantastic offers coming in and kept asking for more and in the end they got literally cents on the dollar.

    So when you say Santana was 29 and Stanton is 25 it reads like your saying Stanton's value is so high the Marlins can't fall into the same trap as the Twins. Really don't understand what you were saying now as I was not comparing the players but the example of the Twins overplaying their hand.

    Asking for two of Rizzo, Bryant, and Castro or like packages from other teams could lead to that scenario.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    No one is doubting that. I think everyone gets that if you ask for the moon then you might not get it.

    It's the same for Shark. If the Cubs don't get the moon they'll adjust accordingly.

    "So when you say Santana was 29 and Stanton is 25 it reads like your saying Stanton's value is so high the Marlins can't fall into the same trap as the Twins"

    No, read it again. Nothing I said hinted at that.

  • In reply to CubbyBear:

    By the way James contends that a players prime starts at 25 and ends at 30, with only the very elite who usually ride that longer.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    Ok, so. Santana was at the end of his prime and Stanton still hasn't entered his.

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    Just frustrating that any deals where we trade our prospects out we're out at least 3 top 50 guys plus more and whenever we see trade deals for Shark we are lucky to get 1 top 50 guy and maybe a top 100 guy. I'd do the trade for 2 of our top 4. Not 3.

  • No thanks... We can all remember Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller... But it doesn't mean all trades will go like that... Stanton is a great talented player, but also a risky one... He has only reached 500 AB's once in his career and only once he has reached 125 games in a season.

    I would love to see us get Stanton, but not for the price listed... I can see it if the Cubs were 1 Stanton away from winning the WS, but not after having one of the worst 5 records in baseball... At this point, I'm not a fan of sacrificing 3-4-5 pieces just to get one... I know we all want to speed things up and we can all remember Maybin and Miller... But I also remember when Jim Hendry traded for Garza and it turned out that 1 player didn't make a difference and the team was still awful WITH Garza.

    And then I also remember how Neil Ramirez, Mike Olt and Justin Grimm have been more useful to us than Garza ever was for the Rangers... So I hope the Cubs didn't come so far just to see them ditch the plan and I certainly hope not to see Baez and Soler being more useful to the Marlins than Stanton to the Cubs.

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    Some time last year there was an article or a link on fangraphs that looked at Stanton's trade value and IIRC the conclusion was that he's basically untradeable for true value because no one would give up the package he'd command. This proposal illustrates that point.
    On this site whenever someone expresses concern about Baez or Almora or soler's hitting, the usual response (at least from John) is, "I'm not worried." That means he thinks these guys will at least make it to the majors if not be superstars. I don't think one player is worth giving up that much potential talent - as someone said above, 4 1st-round draft picks. If we learn anything from Moneyball, it's that 3 average guys can replace the production of one star - and in this case, at a much cheaper cost.

  • I would not make that trade, not with Stanton's knees and no way I give up Almora , Cubs aren't bursting at the seams with CF long term options. but that's just me.

  • Is anybody interested in a low-ball offer, in terms of $ & prospects, for Kemp? If they can allow him to get healthy this yr, I think he still has a lot left in tank. They could get a lot of $ back in such a deal; LA has no leverage & needs to move one of those guys....

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    In reply to Carl9730:

    I really like that idea but I rather have Andre Either as he's a left handed hitter and probably plays center field better then Kemp.

    This FO really needs to look real hard at the dodgers surplus of outfielders and try to get kemp or either for .50-.60 cents on the dollar. Both have a lot more in the tank and could benefit from a change of scenery and consistent playing time.

  • Look, at this point I'd piss on a spark plug if I thought it would do any good. But this trade? No.

  • A rebuilding team needs lots of players in lots of players. Trading those lots of players of one player will make them better at one position while trading the future at multiple other positions. Likely Bryant will be in RF and Schwarber, Soler, or other will be in left. Out field is not a future weakness for the Cubs. If they are going to trade for a stud player, make it one in a harder to fill position.

  • Stanton might b a good player but not at the price if 3-4 elite prospects. And also if we do get him, we are behind in starting pitching. And even worse if we lose shark.

  • Why have we not brought up the possibility of trading shark for Stanton? Not straight up, but as principles of the deal. I don't trade Almora as we have a lack of depth in cf. we seem to have much more in the corners. I would be for trading Baez and soler though.

  • In reply to Pappy:

    I'd do that, but I doubt Loria would be willing to unload one big contract for another. I think he's looking for young, controlled players.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    And Theo is looking for young controlled players too. I don't see trading with Miami for Stanton very likely happening.

  • This might become a bit lengthy but it seems to me the best way to analyze this Stanton situation is to objectively look at what the Cubs have done in trades since Theo & Jed took over. In the end, it boils down more to $$ than prospect value IMO.

    Since Oliver projections are based on 600 PAs or 145 IP, I took 75% of the annual estimates for the five prospects mentioned (in order to be a bit conservative) and the total average WAR value per season comes to 8.4 WAR, whereas Stanton is predicted to put up ~6.5 WAR over the next 5 years.

    There would be two years before Stanton reaches FA so it appears to be a somewhat even deal on the surface until one considers it will take about $30M/season for seven years or more to sign GS-- and he will probably want a NTC. The five prospects the Cubs trade will not be half that.

    This FO is going to be watching the budget during the next five years and so I believe proposals like this are a non-starter. From the Sean Marshall deal forward the Cubs have received excellent value for players that were declining in talent but increasing in payroll commitments. The Reds have received 1.7 WAR in value from Marshall on a $13.1M contract... the Cubs will have acquired 7.3 WAR value in return from Wood & Sappelt (not including the 800K Intl slot value from Torreyes) for a total contract value of $5.5M by the end of 2014.

    If one goes through this exercise with the remaining trades the pattern is identical, and if this past week's draft shows anything it is that the Cubs management is extremely value & cost-conscious in everything they do. Only until they are certain that the major league club can compete for the playoffs will a trade for a player like Stanton happen.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Excellent analysis and I generally agree. I think from a talent stand point some of the scenarios are in the ballpark, but in today's game cost is a major player in all trades and when you look from that standpoint it changes things significantly.

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    I wouldn't want to make a deal right now...Especially not one of that magnitude. Our prospects not named Bryant are having rough starts. We'd be selling low.
    I know Stanton is a stud. But I'm in favor of a few guys with high floors over one proven superstar about to get REAL expensive.

    If Stanton costs the Cubs: Almora, Alcantara and Johnson?
    Mayyyybe that's a gamble I'd take if the plan is spending big/trading for a long-term center field option. Especially risky when we still need so much starting pitching.
    Baez, Bryant and almost any young pitching has to be off the table.
    I still think Almora adjusts, too. Although this year really has been a rather large step back for him.

    I'd rather ride out the prospects, and spend a little money in free agency. I really like this farm system. Aside from Bryant and Baez it lacks superstar impact. But we have a surplus of guys with pretty high floors. The thought of trading away a good young player is something I can cope with. But we can't afford to give away a superstar, yet.
    I'd rather have Seth Smith in the lineup next year. James Shields in the rotation. Without the sacrifice of a really big piece of our farm. Let these bats develop. Try and extend Samardzija one last time. If you have to trade him, it should be final big sell of this rebuild. We should really net a solid top 100 power arm. If not a couple. All of these kids won't be working out, but we have the ability to attack position players with deep volume. While we acquire more pitching with money.
    Just my bad opnion, though. To each their own.

  • I would be shocked if at least 2 or 3 of the the 5 mentioned weren't used as trade bait in the next two years. If the Cubs made a trade for Stanton it proves they are making the move to stage 2 in their plan of the rebuild. This would also make it a little more tempting for FA to come to Chicago knowing the team is ready to win. It would be a nice first big step and I believe if put in a winning situation Stanton would sign. I also see a lot of people talking about Stanton's health. Well has anyone noticed how often Marlin players go on the DL? A lot sometimes it's not the players sometimes it's Team preparation and prevention for injury.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    That's true... The Marlins are not known for having top notch FO, but do you take the risk and give up such package for Stanton to average only about 100 games per season?

    I like Stanton a lot... I just don't thin k that package for him makes sense to the Cubs... Especially when Soler and Baez will be MLB ready in 2 years or less.

    So by the end of 2017, the Cubs would have to either trade or extend Stanton while 3 of the players in the package will be contributing for the Marlins... I'd Stanton is that missing piece to be serious WS contenders I would agree with this, but that doesn't seem to be the case IMO.

    I do agree that maybe a couple of those players could be trade bait... But I don't see a package like this happening for now.

  • In reply to Caps:

    He's played in every game this season so far. He's healthy again.

  • In reply to CubbyBear:

    This does not sound like a trade Theo would do. He wants young cost controlled players. He doesn't want to give them away. Also Miami said they were not trading Stanton. This trade will not take place.

  • In reply to John57:

    That's fine, but you didn't have to quote me to say that. That comment would have been better off on it's own.

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    I actually thought of those the other day and thought I was stupid for thinking so. I thought Baez, Soler, Vogelbach and 1-2 lower level high ceiling players. Maybe that's not enough, but we'd still have Bryant, Almora, Edwards, Johnson, Alcantara and Shwarber. Even adding one more of those(Alcantara or Almora) would work.

    Than also trade shark and hammels for a load if pitching, as well as sign a free agent here and there to complement the mlb team. If they could get Crick, Sanchez or bundy for shark, that would add a nice pitcher to the mix

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    Why can we not let the Stanton thing die?

    If we had a bunch of good prospects and a MLB team it would be one thing. I get that prospects get traded more times than not but it's best to trade from a position of power. We have none... or very little.

    I'd be okay with trading for Stanton once he's a "rental." If, by then, he can prove he can stay healthy, fine. Plus by then we will have a MUCH better idea of which prospects still look legit, not to mention another draft or two to put things in perspective.

  • Hell no, simply due to Stanton's contract situation. Giving up that many prospects for 2 years of Mike Stanton to add to a team that needs A LOT of help just isn't worth it. If this team was already in its contending window and he could help this year and the next 2 years, then it might be a different story.

    You said Rizzo and Stanton could pair together for a decade, but we're not trading for Mike Stanton's next decade. We'd be trading for Mike Stanton's next 2.5 years and the right to negotiate with him during that period and it's just not worth that prospect haul to do so.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    And, yes, I realize he now wants to be called Giancarlo. Whatever, Mike.

  • I don't see them trading for Stanton and his price, but I can see them buying low on Jason Hayward if the Braves decide to move him... Which is far from a certain thing, same as with Stanton.

  • I still haven't gotten over the Cubs trading away Lou Brock...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Nor should you ever.

  • Soler, Vogelbach & Pierce Johnson yes... I have no problem in that deal. No to Baez & Almora. Especially both in that package. Maybe 1? I don't know.

    Not sure of who else could make up the difference that I'd want to part with.

    Maybe a combination with Lake in it. Gives them an OFer for the now to go w/Soler for the future. & maybe 1 or 2 of Grimm, Strop & Rondon or other combo. All are very young solid setup relievers w/closer potential to go w/the SP of Johnson. Then there's a future slugging 1Bman for them in Vogey.

    If Miami doesn't go for that equivalent or facsimile thereof, then oh well, nothing lost... Move on. But they can't give them 2 of the last 4 #1 team picks. That would be too high.

    The good part about this, it isn't a trade the Cubs "have" to make at all costs. Though I'd love seeing Stanton in a Cub batting order that's in need of an everyday bonafide hitter/run producer.

  • I would not do this trade, and I do not think the Cubs front office would do this trade. People above are talking about two years of Stanton, but isn't it one and a half years? Is he not a free agent at the end of the 2015 season?

    This is the exact opposite of what the Cubs front office wants to do.

    Maybe this kind of trade will be done when the team is on the verge of contention, but this is not yet that time.

  • Great piece Mike. The comments on both sides of the argument are excellent. The cases laid out make me waver but at the end of the day, I say no. Mostly it is about the timing of the trade, the money, and Stanton's knees. I don't think the Cubs are far enough along for the move. An extension will take away money needed for pitching. I don't fully trust Stanton staying on the field for an entire season. The counter arguments make it a tough decision thou. Andre Dawson was pretty damn good with no knees.

  • In reply to Greggie Jackson:

    Agreed, Greggie. Thanks for the thought-provoking article, Mr. Moody.

    Arguments on both sides of the question posed are compelling. It is very enticing to speed up the clock and envision a line-up with Bryant, Rizzo, Stanton and Castro in the middle of it. Even over-paying for Stanton, as I believe the trade proposed in this article would be, there is a case to be made. But I believe very strongly in being disciplined, patient and maintaining strength in numbers. Yes, Stanton is a proven major league commodity and it is very likely none of the players suggested to be traded away will ever become the hitter that he is now, but he is still one player who is one injury away from either not being the same or not playing at all.

    Just like with prospects, though admittedly less so with major leaguers, there is strength in numbers. One thing almost all championship rosters have in common is depth. Depth of quality major league players. The Cubs have depth of talent in their minor league system right now, but I want them to have depth on their major league roster before making a move like this.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    well said and I fully agree.

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    In reply to Quedub:

    Thank you, everyone. The real goal of the piece was to get people thinking about, as Kevin put it, using our prospects as currency and also generating some discussion on a Sunday afternoon. I'm glad that it did generate discussion and agree that excellent points were made both for and against such a trade.

  • Mike suggested looking at this as a winter trade, but that requires a time machine. If Almora has a good 2nd half, Soler and Johnson return from their injuries and perform well in AA, the Cubs might be able to pull this trade off for less. If they don't, you can't expect to get a player like Stanton by trading away players that are either big question marks or have struggled to prove themselves at the upper levels. I wish I had a crystal ball.

    If the situation were different where the Cubs had average or better major leaguers in the in CF and LF, then it would be a lot easier to trade away players like Almora and Soler as they would be dealing from true depth. But without that depth, it's too risky for my blood and the timing just isn't right.

  • Sounds like that would be giving up on Almora way too soon. Baez, Soler, Vogelbach and some pitcher, OK.

  • I agree the Cubs need to make a big move, but the cost for Stanton (which would almost certainly start with Bryant and a ton of others) is too high and the timing is not quite right either. A more short term move (Ethier/Kemp/?) and less expensive in terms of prospects makes more sense.

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    Mike I too want to thank you for a good thought provoking article and reading through my fellow Cub fans thoughts, this definitely struck a nerve.

    Right now this team has no veteran position player that leads by word and example. This team so badly needs a veteran bopper. I feel myself being swayed both directions when I read some well thought comments. Bryant and Alcantara are coming soon. We all hope Baez is in that mix. Can this team improve to winning and playoff baseball without veteran leadership? Many of us have followed these kids because the big club was like reliving someone breaking your heart daily. This trade for me is one year early. We could add three bats or more by 2016 (Alcantara, Baez and Bryant) and maybe Rizzo and Castro ARE the veteran presence this team will follow by then. Wouldn't it be something if Bryant, Baez and Soler along with Rizzo and Castro all of sudden gave us an offense we have never before seen from the Cubs.

  • Slept on it, not making the trade, take back take back. Rough being a GM.

  • This trade terrifies me -- because it's soooo easy to look at both sides and see the incredible downside (and just as easy to see the upside).

    It's funny -- as a Cubs fan, you'd think I'd be more inclined to go for the risk, because hey, it's been over a 100 years, right? Why not give it a shot? But I'm stuck with the prospects because it feels like we've finally built pieces and structure in place to have something healthy and sustainable for once.

  • I'd love to make that trade. A bird in the hand (especially one like Stanton) is worth several in the bush. The one that I'd least like to lose is Almora. We have others in house who can replace the others. IMHO

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