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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Most Unlikely of Candidates: AL Central

Wild on Sports
Most Unlikely of Candidates: AL Central
By Wild on Sports MLB Analyst Aaron Dorman

A look at the potential landing spots for Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton. In this edition we look at the the AL Central. What will it take to land the talented youngster?

1. Indians trade ss Asdrubal Cabrera, rhp Danny Salazar, and ss Dorssys Paulino for of Giancarlo Stanton

WHY IT WORKS: Cabrera could be traded for prospects after he went to Miami, and it has been speculated that he’s on the trading block anyway. Danny Salazar is a flame-throwing prospect on the rise in AA, while Paulino is a teenage tool shed hitting below .200 in low-A. The Indians will miss Cabrera but can use Mike Aviles as a capable stopgap until either Jose Ramirez or Francisco Lindor replace him. The Indians look like a contender this year and Stanton could provide that extra boost to put them over the top. Currently only Carlos Santana looks like a star going forward for Cleveland.

WHY IT WON’T: Cabrera is a difficult piece to trade in the middle of a playoff race. He’s off to a slow start but shortstop is currently the most difficult position to get offense from and the drop off from him to the next guy is enough to nearly mitigate the arrival of Stanton. Lindor could be ready next year and he’s a top prospect but Cleveland wants to win in 2013. Meanwhile, Miami might prefer to do without the extra step of trading away Cabrera, when other teams could offer them a top prospect.


2. Royals trade 1b Eric Hosmer, rhp Jason Adam, rhp Kyle Smith and of Bubba Starling for of Giancarlo Stanton

WHY IT WORKS: Having emptied their minor league ranks for James Shields this winter, the Royals don’t have tremendous depth from which to deal from, but they still have a nice collection of high-upside guys in the lower minors to give away in a deal. Meanwhile, Hosmer is in his third year but is starting to stall as an everyday player. His rookie season gives confidence that there is still a batting star within, but his lack of power and insufficient on-base skills make him more of a project right now, and Kansas City has legitimate playoff aspirations this year. Considering he is still just 23, Hosmer would be a fair centerpiece for a Stanton deal. The other guys are all a few years away but look like prospects for now.

WHY IT WON’T: Is Hosmer too much of a project at this point to be dealt? Even if Miami sees a .300 hitter in him, those two years of service time lost loom large for a team that doesn’t seem to anticipate ever keeping a player past free agency. Hosmer has now slugged .350 in over 650 at-bats since the beginning of 2012. Meanwhile, Kansas City lacks a great prospect to complement him in a deal with the exception of Kyle Zimmer, who I imagine they’d prefer to keep. It is hard to imagine a collection of prospects from within the Royals’ system that could match other team’s offers.


3. Tigers trade of Nick Castellanos, rhp Rick Porcello and of Tyler Collins/Dan Fields for of Giancarlo Stanton (and rhp Ricky Nolasco??)

WHY IT WORKS: Nick Castellanos is not quite major league ready, off to a slow start at AAA, but if he works out his issues, he could be an adequate replacement for Stanton next year. Porcello is no longer a prospect by any means but he’s still just 24 years old and perhaps a switch to the National League could untap some of his potential. He still throws hard and other teams were inquiring about him prior to the season. Collins and Fields are both athletic outfielders performing well in AA right now. The Tigers have dealt with Miami before and have shown they are not afraid to deal any amount of prospects for a young star. Stanton would be an awfully scary addition to a lineup: Cabrera, Fielder, and Stanton? Tigers, Tigers, and Tigers?? Oh my.

WHY IT WON’T: Detroit may have a difficult time putting together a truly competitive package for Stanton, as Castellanos is their best prospect and he pales in comparison to what some other teams could offer. Detroit currently has no great need for Stanton; they have plenty of high-profile stars performing, it’s really the back-end of the roster-another starter, an extra reliever, etc-that could use some work to help separate them from the pack.


4. Twins
trade of Aaron Hicks, inf Eddie Rosario, inf Jorge Polanco and rhp JO Berrios for of Giancarlo Stanton

WHY IT WORKS: Minnesota might have the best collection of position player prospects in the game right now and dealing from some of that depth could land them Stanton. Hicks is just starting to play up to his potential after a dreadful 3-for-50 start to the season, and while he will never be the player that Stanton is, he could eventually contribute as a solid regular providing a little bit of everything-speed, defense, power, on-base. Maybe a poor man’s Mike Cameron? Rosario and Polanco are talented youngsters in A-ball who are a few years away but have breakout potential. JO Berrios was a top pick from last year who’s put up tremendous numbers in the lower minors but scouts still see more of a no. 2 or 3 starter, though that could change as he continues to show progress with his off speed pitches.

WHY IT WON’T: Minnesota just isn’t good enough right now to make a play for Stanton. It’s also not their modus operandi. Terry Ryan’s regime prefers to develop their stars in house, and they have plenty to work with. They’re also stocked with high-upside outfielders. Beyond Hicks and his fellow rookie Oswaldo Arcia, there’s also Byron Buxton, considered to be the best athlete in last year’s draft. If the Twins make a deal, it would more likely be for young pitching, as even in the minors, only Berrios and Nationals import Alex Meyer look like solid bets to be rotation material.


5. White Sox trade their entire farm system for of Giancarlo Stanton

WHY IT WORKS: You’d figure out of an entire farm system you’ll get some nice players, right? Maybe some big leaguers if everything breaks right?

WHY IT WON’T: Such presumptions are what you’d expect from a normal farm system, but the White Sox have ‘developed’ a particularly barren, fallow crop of players currently wallowing among their four full-season teams. Chicago is in a pretty ugly place right now when it comes to depth and long-term success. Then again, scouts said the same thing before last year and out of nowhere came two rotation arms in Jose Quintana and Hector Santiago. So maybe there are diamonds in rough, but not nearly enough for Stanton.



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