Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton has a chance to be great now

Giancarlo Stanton is the face of the Miami Marlins now … as long as he doesn’t get traded. (US Presswire)

Giancarlo Stanton is the best, most underrated hitter in the National League. There is no doubt he should stay with the Marlins.

Despite what many experts believe, he shouldn’t be traded in Miami’s “rebuilding” period. In fact, Stanton will be a huge part of their future. This is a future that could include building a winning franchise reminiscent of what the Washington Nationals did. Stanton is the start of this. This is his chance to stick out from the rest and show his greatness.

This past season, Stanton fell into the background of Miami’s drama. His performances were clouded by his former mouthy manager Ozzie Guillen, star free agent Jose Reyes and the once-hailed Marlin Hanley Ramirez.

Maybe everyone is right; maybe owner Jeffrey Loria is the next coming of George Steinbrenner. Some have called him a “wannabe,” while others think he should stick to art-dealing. But as long as Loria has been in the game, he has always made things interesting.

His “fire sale” after the 2003 World Series left many scratching their heads. He was also behind the dumpings of Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis in 2007. But of all the moves he’s made, and I’ve disagreed with every single one, I believe his current move is his best yet. Loria’s recent moves is no different than what the owners and GM Ben Cherington did in Boston by trading their most overpaid players, which unloaded $250 million of payroll. Boston has since rebuilt around Dustin Pedroia, and Miami will look to do the same with Stanton.

Sure, Miami’s marketing department has its hands full, but the Marlins have an opportunity to start their franchise from the ground up — start over the right way.

As history shows us, Major League Baseball is no different than any other team in other leagues — they’re all trendy.

In more recent memory, everyone remembers Billy Beane’s “Moneyball” strategy that caught on like gasoline to a fire after the 2001 season. In the NBA, when Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen teamed up in Boston — which resulted in a 2008 title — who knew this would shape the NBA as we know it today. The next big three, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh followed suit, which led others to adopt this fad and the “super teams” were born. In the NCAA, when schools decided to join more reputable conferences that produced more television exposure and of course the almighty dollar, the “super conferences” became a trend that is still in progress.

So, while most bicker and complain about the New York Yankees reloading their roster with All-Stars every year, the Marlins did the exact opposite.

Should they be scrutinized? Is this bad for the league? I believe it isn’t.

The 23-year-old Stanton now will lead a franchise with some impressive players and prospects that most of us forgot about since the blockbuster trade with Toronto went down.

Pitchers Jacob Turner and southpaw Justin Nicolino are bright spots to a sub-par rotation that will miss Josh Johnson. Yunel Escobar, Justin Ruggiano, Logan Morrison and Adeiny Hechavarria will be a decent supporting cast for Stanton. Jake Marisnick, Toronto’s former No. 2 prospect, will take some time in the minors, but is sure to be a great addition to the club when he’s ready.

When Reyes became a Marlin a year ago, many thought he would be the face of the franchise for years to come, but since the dust has settled from the boom, Stanton clearly fits this role now. A California native of African American, Irish and Puerto Rican descent, he is worthy of holding the expectations of a city’s desperate need for baseball on his shoulders.

His speedy swing is a characteristic that will be taken on as a fan favorite. The highlight clip from his 122.4 MPH shot off former Rockies pitcher Jamie Moyer still gives me goosebumps. At 6′-5″ and 245 pounds, he is the epitome of what a baseball hero should look like. Stanton isn’t the next coming of Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, the Mick or even Teddy himself; he’s his own kind of athlete, whose story has yet to be written.

Maybe his “pissed off“ tweet, shown over and over again after the trade was announced, made many speculate his disgust with the organization. And it’s certainly understandable. The 2012 Marlins entered the season expecting to be together for longer than one year. But after he cools off and looks at the situation with mature eyes, he will understand what is expected of him and will accept the challenge like any professional should.

Former Marlin Mike Redmond will manage a club that will have to overcome the criticisms of the league and its own city. He has a task most managers would dread in their first managerial experience. But this great Miami “do over” that was mimicked after Boston’s might be just the right thing for baseball at this time. From the steroid-era fiasco through the ridiculous high salaries free agents are rewarded every offseason, maybe, just maybe, Miami’s fire sale strategy will pay off this time and start a trend that will catch on. Or maybe it won’t. One thing is certain, though, if Stanton stays with the Marlins and performs as expected, things will change in this league down the line.

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