COMMENTARY | Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings begin on December 3rd, and the Phillies still have a lot of questions to answer in both their lineup and bullpen. GM Reuben Amaro Jr. loves to kick tires, and there will be a lot of them in Nashville. Here’s one tire I think Amaro should kick.
Trade for Giancarlo Stanton and Yunel Escobar
In an effort to dump salary, the Miami Marlins traded away just about everyone in their 2012 starting lineup. One notable name remaining is Giancarlo Stanton, and it has been reported that he is less than pleased about the trade.
Stanton will be arbitration eligible in 2014 and could be available if his relationship with the team doesn’t improve. The price is expected to be high, so finding out how high should be among Amaro’s first priorities. At just 23-years-old, he is as dangerous a hitter and promising a prospect as any in the league, and in my opinion his age makes him worth even a significant trade package.
Since his debut in 2010, Stanton has been a legitimate power threat, hitting 22 home runs in just 100 games his rookie season. In 2012, he posted career highs in home runs (37), batting average (.290), on base percentage (.361) and slugging percentage (.608).
Stanton would fit perfectly into the 5-hole in the Phillies lineup, a spot where Stanton plays his best. In 165 plate appearances batting 5th, Stanton has a .325 average, .376 OBP and a 1.058 OPS. He would provide protection for Ryan Howard as well as the plate discipline the Phillies lacked in 2012.
The Marlins acquired infielder Yunel Escobar in the trade with the Blue Jays, and may be looking to move him as well. If I were Amaro, I would try to get Escobar back with Stanton. Escobar is signed at a reasonable $5 million for 2013 and has matching team options for 2014 and 2015, making him a good stop-gap for the Phillies at third base.
While he is primarily a shortstop, he played 22 games at third base in 2007 and can play second base if Chase Utley has problems with his knees again next year. He is a career .282 hitter with an on base percentage of .353 and doesn’t strike out a lot.
The Marlins are reportedly looking for three top prospects in return for Stanton, and the Phillies have a lot of young pitchers including Trevor May, Jonathan Pettibone and Ethan Martin as well as outfielder Zach Collier. They also have Dominic Brown, Tyler Cloyd, Phillipe Aumont and Vance Worley who have spent time in the majors.
Brown was once considered untouchable, but has not reached the level the Phillies had hoped. With Stanton playing right field, it may make sense for all parties to include Brown in this deal. It would give him a chance to be an everyday player, be a top-tier prospect for the Marlins and would allow the Phillies to hold on to one of their young arms.
A package including a combination of these available players could get the Phillies the right-handed power bat they need and a serviceable infielder for a 2013 salary increase of only about $6 million, leaving payroll available for a center fielder. It’s unlikely, but then again so was the Marlins/Blue Jays trade.
Scott Lentz is a regular contributor to Football Nation. He grew up in the Philadelphia area and currently resides in the nearby suburb of West Chester. Follow Scott on twitter: @scottlentz27
All stats and figures courtesy of baseball-reference.com