Passan makes an argument in his column that the Marlins should — must! — trade Stanton, with the idea being that Miami should sell its best player when he’s at the top of his game, thereby laying the groundwork for a substantial rebuild under new ownership. And Stanton certainly is at the top of his game. He’s healthy, he’s 27 and he’s on a 60-homer pace this season. It’s not hard to imagine a change of scenery for him, putting him on a contender, possibly in a hitter-friendly park (not that there are any parks that challenge his monster power), elevating him to a whole new height.
The biggest reason he cleared waivers, of course, is his massive contract, which is paying him $295 million over 10 years, with a potential opt-out for Stanton after 2020. Still, that may not seem all that unreasonable as time goes on and players such as Bryce Harper top $300 or $400 million. And given that price and possibility that he could be had in free agency in a couple of years if he opts out, he may not cost suitors as much as it might seem at first.
Still, it’s hard to imagine the Marlins trading the one player that people want to see when they come to the ballpark. One who is still young enough to bat in the middle of the lineup for an improved Marlins team in a couple of years if new ownership can convince him to stay. And even if they can’t, I suspect that new ownership will at least want to come online and see what they have before signing off on any major moves like that. And yes, you can assume that Derek Jeter and company are at least in the loop for such major moves before they actually take over, as trading Stanton would have a material impact on the value of the team they’re purchasing.
So: Stanton clearing waivers is interesting and the arguments for trading him may have merit, but I doubt anything happens with him during the season. In the winter, though: all bets are off.