What would the Giants actually have to trade to get Giancarlo Stanton? You can read the “have” in that sentence two ways. There’s a question about what they have in the system, and there’s a question about what they would be required to part with. It’s a complicated equation, and a lot of it has to do with how much money the Marlins would eat.
Thanks to Jon Morosi, though, we know something about what the Marlins might consider, and it goes something like this:
One source with knowledge of the Marlins' plans believes the team would, in fact, accept an offer of Panik, Beede and Shaw for Stanton alone -- if the Giants committed to paying most of the $295 million left on Stanton's contract, somewhere in the neighborhood of $250 million.
That would be Joe Panik, Tyler Beede, and Chris Shaw for Giancarlo Stanton and $45 million in salary relief. You’re breathing into a paper bag because you’re attached to Panik, and I don’t blame you. He’s an incredibly fun player, and it would create another lineup hole, while simultaneously taking away the only young and cheap player the Giants can count on for the next couple years.
It would also be a very, very friendly deal. Stop throwing things at me long enough to hear me out.
Beede is no longer projected to be an ace. His strikeout rate has never been exceptional in the upper minors, and his groundball rate isn’t lopsided enough to make up for that. He has a chance to be a Real Nice Pitcher, don’t get me wrong, but his likely upside is somewhere around Marco Estrada. That’s not bad! It’s not keeping me from getting Giancarlo Stanton.
Shaw is one of the only players close to the majors in the Giants’ system who is capable of hitting a baseball over the fence for a home’s-run, which I hear is a very exciting play in the modern game. He’s also 24 years old, and he struck out five times for every walk in Triple-A. He would be a project worth being patient for. He’s not keeping me from getting Giancarlo Stanton.
That might not be controversial to you, which brings us to Panik, who is a fine player. I believe his defensive numbers last year to be hokum, at least when it comes to predicting his future defensive value. I believe his offensive numbers from 2016 to be hokum, at least when it comes to predicting his future value as a hitter. I don’t see anything wrong with looking at his 2015 season as his true potential, and that was a fun player to follow.
But his best comparable player might be Adam Kennedy. Do you remember Adam Kennedy? Angels fans sure do. They loved him. He hit three dingers in one game that would have sent the Angels to the 2002 World Series if the coyote flu pandemic didn’t force a cancellation that year. He was great defensively, and he could hit for average and just enough power.
The Cardinals gave that up for Jim Edmonds, and you know who doesn’t really care about Adam Kennedy these days? The Cardinals. They traded that player for someone who finished with a better Hall of Fame case than most people gave him credit for, and he helped them win a World Series. If the Cardinals had held on to Kennedy, they wouldn’t have sobbed too hard, but there would have been a few regrets because Edmonds was great.
Stanton is better. In five years, the odds of someone saying, “Thank goodness we had Joe Panik instead of Giancarlo Stanton,” are low. Please, go back just five years in the MLB Trade Rumors database and look at the players that seemed so untouchable and essential back then. I absolutely adore Panik, but it’s far too easy to ignore just how unique of a start Stanton has had for his career. Players his age shouldn’t be closing in on 300 homers.
This is before you bring up the salary relief, and if the Marlins are willing to eat $45 million, they’re certainly willing to take Denard Span back in a deal, which would help the Giants in their efforts to squeak under the salary cap tax. If you read the reactions of people who aren’t attached to Panik, you’ll get an idea of what an impartial analysis might look like.
Here’s my problem with the proposed deal, then: What in the heck would the Marlins want with Panik?
It’s not that he’s without value, but that there just isn’t a huge market for second baseman right now. Want a second baseman? Here’s Neil Walker, and all he wants is money. Or here’s Jed Lowrie, who wants less money. There aren’t teams tripping over themselves to throw prospects at another team for a guy like Panik, even as we adore him. Which means the Marlins wouldn’t be interested in flipping him.
And even with Marlins shopping Dee Gordon, it doesn’t make sense that they would want Panik as a long-term solution. He’s already in his arbitration years. He’ll make about $4 million this year, which means he’d be in line for $6 million the year after that, and maybe even $8 million or more in the final year of his deal. That doesn’t fit what the Marlins are trying to do right now.
At the very least, all of these concerns should make Panik far less valuable to the Marlins than he would be to the Giants, and I have no idea why they wouldn’t hold out for an additional prospect instead of a young veteran who’s starting to get paid. It doesn’t make sense on any level, unless I’m drastically underestimating the league’s hankering for Panik.
To sum it up, then: Yeah, that sounds like a reasonable deal, but there has to be a better way to make it even more palatable for both teams.
More importantly, this gives us an idea of the prospect cost. It might take Beede and Shaw, which is to be expected. It might take another prospect to make up for Joe Panik, or it might take the actual Joe Panik. Considering the player coming back*, it’s easy to see why the Giants are still very much interested.
* Giancarlo Stanton