On June 20, David Schoenfield of ESPN wrote an article about the Pirates' need for Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton. Subsequently, Pirates fans began to clamor about the possibility of adding Stanton's bat to Pittsburgh's weak lineup. Basically, Schoenfield said the Bucs desperately need offense (especially in right field), and they finally have the prospects to acquire a player of Stanton's caliber. The Pirates obviously lack offense and Stanton is a player that can definitely fill that hole. Bucco fans can dream all they want about seeing Giancarlo Stanton launch home runs out of PNC Park, but at this point, it just isn't practical.
Also, please note that there have been absolutely no rumors linking Pirates to Stanton. All of this is purely speculation. David Schoenfield just wrote an article saying the Pirates SHOULD get Stanton. He didn't say anything about the Pirates actually inquiring about Stanton.
Schoenfield writes that the price to land Giancarlo Stanton is astronomically high, and for good reason. He has rare power from the right side of the plate, is only 23 years old, and is under team control until 2017. In order to pick up Stanton, the Pirates would have to include top pitching prospect Jameson Taillon, outfield prospect Gregory Polanco, recent call-up Tony Sanchez, and a "decent C-grade lefty." I'm not sure who the C-grade lefty would be, but it probably wouldn't have too much impact on the trade. The Marlins would probably agree to trade Giancarlo if they got that package in return.
Losing Taillon would be a huge blow to Pittsburgh's farm system. He can pump his fastball up in the high 90's with a filthy breaking ball that makes hitters look silly. He has just as much, if not more, potential as fellow top pitching prospect Gerrit Cole. Although he was not as highly touted as Taillon when he entered the Pirates' system, outfielder Gregory Polanco became a top prospect when he burst on the scene in 2012. He hit .325 with 16 home runs and 40 stolen bases for the West Virginia Power. He was off to a good start this year with the Bradenton Marauders before getting promoted to Altoona recently. Tony Sanchez was raking at Indianapolis before he was called up yesterday. Even with his offensive outbreak, Sanchez is still an above average defensive catcher.
Pulling the trigger on this deal would be a huge risk for the Pirates, one that a small market team simply can't afford to make. Pittsburgh can't afford to get this trade wrong. The best way for the Pirates to add talent is through the draft, and to get rid of two first round picks is hard to recover from. If Stanton becomes a bust, which is possible, it would set the Pirates back a few years. I know there is a good chance that the prospects don't pan out, but I'd rather take my chances with Taillon, Polanco, and Sanchez.
Also, Giancarlo Stanton hasn't exactly been tearing it up this year. He spent about a month on the disabled list with a hamstring injury and is only batting .252 with 7 home runs in 123 at-bats. Another red flag for Stanton is his WAR (wins above replacement), which is -0.2. A superstar player should not have a negative WAR. To put that into perspective, Clint Barmes' WAR so far in the 2013 season is also -0.2. I think Neal Huntington would hesitate to trade three top prospects for a player with the same WAR as Clint Barmes.
It would be nice to have Giancarlo Stanton in Pittsburgh, but the Pirates just can't take the risk of trading for him. I think most people over-value Stanton just for his power, which is somewhat fair. He does possess rare power that only comes along every once in a while. But if I'm trading three of my top prospects, including a future ace, I would like to see his average get up to at least .285. Of course, this could all change by the July 31 trade deadline. Stanton could heat up, get his average up to .300, and start smacking home runs left and right. But at this point, acquiring Giancarlo Stanton would be a bad idea.