The four teams still fighting for a World Series title are taking the major headlines this week — as they should — in Major League Baseball, but an intriguing offseason is on the horizon.
And one of the biggest names in the game, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, can't walk down the street without a trade rumors circulating.
The Phillies have been linked to the slugger, who hit 57 homers and knocked in 125 runs last season, for months and it has not relented. With Derek Jeter and company (the team's new ownership group) looking to turn the page and make profitable a franchise that has been a laughing stock — on the field and off — for seasons, their biggest asset is Stanton, in his prime at 27-years-old.
Needing to refill a lackluster farm system, the Phillies have the money to take on Stanton's $325 million mega deal. They also have an abundance of prospects, as many young players seem to overlap and crowd the team's future roster as many roles look to have been filled (like Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams) during the stretch run this summer and fall.
Here's what FanRag sports' Jon Heyman said of the Phillies:
They have the position players to make a deal, with depth in the middle of the infield and prospects at many positions, though they are quite a bit thinner in the pitching department. The Phillies seem loaded with spending loot thanks to a rich TV deal, and seem primed to go for it. However, they were an also-ran this year, may be at least a year away and can ill-afford to give up any pitching.
If there is a chance the Marlins want to move Stanton, the Phillies certainly will be in the conversation. Interestingly, the Phillies' president Andy MacPhail seemed opposed to spending money on free agents but left the door open for making moves via the trade market.
“We get inundated with stories across the game about how everybody is looking for starting pitching,” MacPhail said a few weeks ago. “Just get two quality starters, and we'll be all set. Well you might as well look for a unicorn at the same time. It's tough.”
He's not a pitcher but Stanton is a baseball unicorn. And an outfield with Odubel Herrera, Williams and Stanton is an irresistible and tantalizing possibility.