Giancarlo Stanton is on a tear.
With nine home runs over his last ten games, he has pulled away from the pack of league leaders. One of the hottest hitters in the league, Stanton as of late has looked like everything the Marlins could have hoped for when they resigned him nearly three years ago. He hits the ball a mile, he puts people in the seats. But, could he actually be hurting the Marlins?
In November of 2014, the Miami Marlins offered a contract that will make Giancarlo Stanton the richest player in baseball history upon its completion- a 13 year deal worth $325 million. Now, there's no question that Stanton is an elite player whose raw power and productiveness is worth a lucrative contract. However, signing a guy with world class talent like Stanton's could be counterproductive to a team such as the Marlins.
The rising level of parity in baseball today has made it harder and harder for teams to win championships without developing young talent. The days of "the best team money can buy" are over. This has been showcased year after year by teams that go deep in the postseason.
Think of teams like the Cardinals. World Champions in 2006 and 2011, National League Champs in 2013, and a perennial threat to go all the way for the last decade. The Cardinals are one of the best in the business at developing young prospects into quality major leaguers, and without that homegrown talent they would be nowhere near the level of success they have attained. An even more recent example of building from the bottom were the 2016 World Champion Cubs, whose roster was packed with young talent that General Manager Theo Epstein worked hard to bring into the organization through rebuilding.
Now, of course these teams each had several big-time names come in and help them climb to the top. But, without properly rebuilding, signing expensive free agents takes up too much salary and flexibility on a roster.
The bottom line is this: The 2015 Marlins were no where near championship caliber, and neither are the 2017 Marlins. And unless Derek Jeter and Co. do anything to change the way the roster in Miami is built, they're never going to be with Stanton. A team like that can't afford to sign a guy to the largest contract in baseball history. Before signing Stanton, the Marlins should have realized the position they were in. A lack of a quality farm system sending players to the majors to compliment guys like Stanton and Martin Prado (another free agent signing) prohibits them from ever finding real success.
The Marlins could have just as easily traded Stanton to a contender before the trade deadline in 2014 and gotten some big-time prospects in return. The front office in Miami needs to realize that something needs to be done with their farm system if they ever want to return to championship potential. It's no secret the organization is horrendous. Baseball America ranked it dead last out of every farm system in baseball in 2017, down from 29th in 2016. The $25,000,000 on average that will be paid to Stanton every year for the next decade could be used to put together a quality roster, and trading away current aging talents could help turn around the organization.
What I'm suggesting is that the Marlins need to rebuild, not reload. Finishing .500 every season stalls any progress that could be made, as the team is neither contending nor getting high draft picks. Nothing should be taken away from Stanton, he is producing at a great clip and is one of the most fun players to watch in MLB. However, of the many problems with Miami baseball, Giancarlo Stanton's wealth could be just another.