This website and the network of social media connected to it just turned three years old recently. By most standards, it’s been a success; the site receives healthy and increasing traffic, our Facebook page is one of the largest independent Cardinal pages out there, and we have a strong, vocal community on Twitter. I am in communication with a wide and diverse group of people in my personal life, and Cardinal baseball is a constant source of discussion.

I say this not to brag, but to emphasize that, as the primary voice of this Cardinal monstrosity, I receive a lot of information from different sources. For instance, I know way too much about the personal lives of many current and past Cardinal players that, out of respect for their privacy, will never see the light of day through this site. Occasionally I receive information from sources around the club regarding potential moves; some of these I discredit immediately, while others I might use as sources for published articles. The world of “sources” and “tips” is a dark and difficult landscape to navigate; any journalist will tell you that it’s tough to find needles of truth in haystacks of imagination and lies. Even the great ones like Bob Woodward got it wrong many times, but they also occasionally got it remarkably right.

Okay, maybe I’ll brag about this: so far, we have a pretty good track record around here. We nailed the two other teams involved in the Colby Rasmus trade in July of 2011 more than two weeks in advance (we just didn’t know the players involved). We posted about the possibility of Mike Matheny as the next manager of the Cardinals in August of 2011, long before anybody even knew Tony La Russa was leaving. In July of 2013 we reported that the Cardinals were seeking to trade David Freese, a move some suspected but few knew about directly. I add this because there will be the inevitable voices saying the usual “you don’t know what you’re talking about” nonsense. Yes, we often do know exactly what we’re talking about.

With all of that in mind, let’s tackle this latest bit of information that was just too interesting to ignore.

The source for the following information works for the team, but is not as elevated in the organization as the source behind our Freese scoop from last year. If we call our Freese source an “A-level” source, then this source might be considered a “C-level” source.  I say this in order to temper enthusiasm a bit;  this is not gospel straight from the Book of Mozeliak, nor do I consider it wholly credible. However, I think the fact that it’s floating around at all makes it worth consideration.

This source claims that the Cardinals are seeking to trade Allen Craig and a pitcher (source says Shelby Miller) to Miami for Giancarlo Stanton.

My first reaction: wow. My second reaction: I’m not sure that’s enough players for Stanton. My third reaction: wow.

This leads to a few immediate questions:

1. Are the Marlins interested in trading Stanton? Most definitely. Marlins owner Jeff Loria is one of the game’s most deranged personalities, a con artist masquerading as a team-builder. The team has shut down extension talks with Stanton until after this season, a typical stall that usually precedes a move (see: Freese last year). Stanton has been fuming over this, and is widely considered to be unhappy in Miami.

2. Why would the Cardinals want Stanton? In a word, POWER. The team is currently at the bottom of major league power statistics. The minor leagues have intriguing-but-unproven power hitters in Randal Grichuk and Joey Butler; Stanton, however, is the real deal. I think the Cardinals are starting to realize that, at age 25, Matt Adams is not blossoming into the home run threat they projected two years ago; Adams has approximately the same home run rate as Craig. Even Chris Duncan hit home runs with more regularity than Adams. With Matt Holliday reaching a probable power decline, this team is in desperate need of a consistent young power hitter to enforce this lineup.

3. Do the Cardinals really need another outfielder? Yes and no. Obviously, moving Craig leaves a hole in right field that Stanton would immediately fill. The Cardinals could potentially send another outfielder to the Marlins in such a deal, too (Jon Jay would be a perfect fit, no?). But this is the truth about the vaunted Cardinal outfield prospects: that’s all they are at this point, just prospects. Although they are all talented, none of these guys — Oscar Taveras, Stephen Piscotty, Randal Grichuk, Joey Butler, etc. — have any proven major league talent. Sure, it’s fun to imagine Taveras coming up and immediately hitting .330, but, until it happens, it’s not real. Great prospects fail constantly, and some never make it at all. Should the Cardinals rest their World Series hopes on a bunch of untested youngsters? Keep this in mind: the Cardinals traded Freese to acquire two outfielders last winter. That should tell you all you need to know about how Mozeliak views the outfield situation.

4. Do the Marlins need Craig? First of all, Craig comes cost-controlled for several years thanks to a team-friendly long-term contract, a benefit that Loria certainly loves. Like Stanton, Craig is a proven RBI machine (Craig has more RBIs than Adams despite a horrific slump and being dumped into the bottom of the lineup). Even with a month-long slump, Craig is a career .297 hitter with a fair amount of pop. And the Marlins aren’t doing well right now because of their mediocre lineup, which has mostly coasted on hot starts from Stanton and overachiever Casey McGehee. Craig couldn’t replace Stanton, but he would make Stanton’s loss more bearable.

5. Do the Marlins need a starter? Here’s where some of this rumor falls apart for me. The Marlins raced out to a fast start this season mostly on the strength of their surprising (and young) rotation. The first four starters in their rotation all have ERAs below 3.00, which is pretty incredible at this point. If the Cardinals dealt a player like Miller, he would probably replace struggling Jacob Turner in the Marlins rotation. If the Marlins nabbed Miller, their rotation would instantly become one of the most formidable in the National League.

6. Can the Cardinals afford to lose Miller? Yes, and, in fact, it’s this part of the rumor that makes me think this is a “sooner than later” type of deal. Jaime Garcia, Jason Motte, and Joe Kelly are all returning from the disabled list soon. You have Carlos Martinez idling in the bullpen. Tyler Lyons is rapidly developing into a fifth starter. In the minors, Marco Gonzales continues to impress. Meanwhile, I don’t think Miller has developed the way the organization projected; Michael Wacha and Joe Kelly have passed Miller on the depth chart over the last year.

7. Just two players for Stanton? I realize that I’m guilty of constantly over-valuing players, but, in my mind, Stanton is an elite talent. I find it hard to believe Loria would ever agree to trade Stanton for just Craig and Miller, regardless of their major league pedigrees. However, the Cardinals have enough raw talent to sweeten the deal if Loria has any interest in that major league-ready nucleus.

8. Are the Cardinals willing to spend massive amounts of money to keep Stanton? Prior to this season, Stanton averaged 3.68 WAR in each of his first four seasons. That translates out to approximately $18.4M per year in salary based on production. This season Stanton is pacing to have his best season ever: .296 average, 37 HRs, 134 RBIs, 33 doubles. He’s just 24 years old, and making $6.5M in his first year of arbitration. Are the Cardinals willing to give Stanton a six or seven year contract with an annual average value of $20M? The Cardinals certainly can afford him, but they generally shy away from contracts like that.

9. Would the Cardinals make a deal like this before the trade deadline? There are certainly good reasons for the Cardinals to make this kind of trade prior to the trade deadline. They have several arms coming back to the team in the next month, and they also want to work Oscar Taveras onto the major league team. Can these other moves wait until a deal on July 31st? However, it’s rare for Mozeliak to do anything this early in a season.

Those are a lot of questions.

It seems pretty clear that the Marlins have no intention of keeping Stanton; several articles have cropped up recently about possible deals for him, including Boston. It also seems clear that the Cardinals need to finally make a deal to shore up their sagging power numbers, while also solidifying their merry-go-round outfield situation. Those factors, more than anything, kept this rumor from being easily dismissed in the first place. The primary parts of this rumored deal are all expendable for various reasons, and two of them (Stanton and Craig) have been the subjects of trade rumors in the last month.

Until I get more information, I’d give this rumor a probability rating of less than 50%. Still, the fact that this rumor exists at all and neatly fits other recently-rumored scenarios makes it intriguing nonetheless.

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About The Author

Lifelong Cardinal fan and general loudmouth.

  • Guest

    I have another question to add to the mix. Where do you get off calling yourself a journalist?

    • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/ Ray DeRousse

      This is how:

      Journalist (n)
      (a) a writer or editor for a news medium.

      (b) a writer who aims at a mass audience.

      For someone who hates this website, you sure spend a lot of time here! While I appreciate the traffic, it might be healthier for you if you spent your time involved in things you ENJOY, rather than troll websites you hate. Maybe start a stamp collection, play with a puppy, go to an art gallery. Maybe just go outside and exhale really deeply, and try to exorcise yourself of the hatred that fills your life.

  • The polack MSgt

    I would LOVE to see Stanton with a birds on the bat jersey. Toss in an additional outfielder to sweeten the deal – Grichuk or Bourjas seem the most probable

    • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/ Ray DeRousse

      Agreed!

    • Gary Todd

      I’d like to see them keep Bourjas…I love his speed in the outfield and on the bases and I think his bat will come around

  • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/ Ray DeRousse

    I’d hate to lose Craig. However, he is the real RBI guy, not Adams.

    • Gary Todd

      I haven’t been completely sold on Adams. Either he is overrated or hasn’t lived up to expectations or predictions. But I love the idea of Stanton in the line-up…think it would have the same effect as Beltran

      • http://jedwillard.net/ Jed Willard

        I see your point. I think Craig is the better overall hitter. But, Adams has proven pretty durable for a big fella. Plus he’s left handed and cheaper to keep than Craig. I think that’s why you keep him over Craig.

  • Daryl Niewald

    We do seem to be lacking a bit in the power hitting areas this year. And being an old dude, I miss the days of the Cardinals being the number one base stealing team in the league

    • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/ Ray DeRousse

      Agreed!

  • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/ Ray DeRousse

    I don’t think “bbq” (our brave, anonymous guest) has time for a significant other. He’s too busy hitting “refresh” on this website.

  • http://Twitter.com/bergie0 Todd Bergman

    If this were to happen, I believe it will happen later rather than sooner, I think that we need to let this team settle in still. We’ve hardly played at home, and I think most of us are guilty are over-reacting a little too early. This team is full of proven hitters for them to continue this power “outage”. And I do think we’d need to add another one of our young arms to the deal for us to get Giancarlo.

    • http://jedwillard.net/ Jed Willard

      Right on. This deal makes NO sense right now today. We’d have to have at least Kelly OR Garcia back in order to deal Miller. And, as fragile as Garcia has been, probably both of them back. Although if Motte returns to form, maybe that gives you CMart to stretch out as a starter for the 2nd half. If true, this would have the potential of a June call up deal or trade deadline deal. Then, we can call up Oscar and still retain that year of service.

  • Greg Wilford

    Would it be feasible to send miller, adams, Jay and bourjous to Miami for Stanton and call up OT to play cf?

    • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/ Ray DeRousse

      Lol if the Marlins are cool with that, sure!

    • Drew M

      Sure. That will only give us the worst defensive outfield in history.

  • Jeff Holmes

    Great article and I think it would be a great deal for both teams. We haven’t rebounded from losing Beltran and Stanton would be a guy to build around. I could easily see Miller-Craig-Jay/Borjous/one-of-the-young-guys for Stanton and think we were getting away with murder.

    • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/ Ray DeRousse

      Thanks!

      Boy, that’s a lot of players for Stanton! Still, he’s a dynamic, game-changing talent.

      • Josh Rathbun

        That would be sweet but I think this is what should happen trade Fernandez and Stanton to us for adams, miller, Tyler lyons, grichuk and Jon Jay and some cash. Dreams can happen especially when it comes to the marlins lol hahahaha

        • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/ Ray DeRousse

          I’d probably do all of those players just for Stanton. Of course, as I said in the article, I’m always overvaluing players.

  • NoNames7225

    “However, I think the fact that it’s floating around at all makes it worth consideration.”

    Alot of the rumors that are “floating around” are nonsense *cough cough*…

    • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/ Ray DeRousse

      Floating around from inside the organization, I should say.

      • NoNames7225

        Point stands.

        • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/ Ray DeRousse

          As does the point I made in the article: this is a rumor, and nothing more.

          • NoNames7225

            Which, once more, is nonsensical.

          • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/ Ray DeRousse

            Okay, cool. Let’s just see what happens.

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  • Spencer

    I would rather see us send martinez than miller, Miller had a really solid rookie year last year and after a slow start this year is really pitching well (4 wins in a row) I would rather see us move Martinez than Miller because we can pretty assuredly plug the hole at the 8th spot in the bullpen when Motte comes back. Hate to see Craig go because of the year he had last year and how great a run producer he is, but also think we need to make this move in two weeks after weve had 10 games at home.

    So basically the move should be something along the lines of Martinez Craig and Jay for Stanton.

    This gives Bourjos guaranteed minutes at CF. We can move one of the outfielders from memphis up to be the 4th outfielder and possibly FINALLY develop Tavares into a CF and give him the starting role when healthy. Then the so called “power outage” would be no more with Stanton and Tavares raining the long ball. Which would leave our lineup as:

    3B Carpenter
    SS Peralta
    LF Holiday
    RF Stanton
    1B Adams
    CF Tavares
    C Molina
    2B Ellis/Wong (hopefully soon)

    SP Waino
    SP Wacha
    SP Lynn
    SP Miller
    SP Garcia/Kelly

    Now that looks like the lineup from the Larry Walker days plus the added bonus of one of the best rotations in the league. Lets make this trade happen.

  • Michael Webb

    Knowing the Marlins track record, wouldn’t Matt Adams be more appealing? He’s younger, cheaper and isn’t a free agent until 2019. Miami is also pretty weak at first base with Garrett Jones. I love Miller but Martinez deserves his shot in the rotation and with Motte coming back soon it seems this trade would allow for that to happen. I’d hate to see them give up Wong, but if Matheny doesn’t let him out of his doghouse I don’t see him remaining a Cardinal and the Marlins could use help at 2nd. Jon Jay being from Miami would be a good fit as he is a veteran guy who’s played in big games.

    It’s good for both sides. Miami gets four major league players and the Cardinals get that true power guy while allowing Craig to move back to first and Bourjos to play center until Taveras’ arrival. Bourjos would be a perfect platoon guy for Taveras and be a great defensive replacement late in games.

    • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/ Ray DeRousse

      Adams would be appealing to Miami if he would start hitting home runs. Not even the Marlins would take a guy with Babe Ruth’s physique who hits homers as often as Craig, except without the high average and the other peripherals Craig brings.
      I’m not sure the Cards would do this deal if they couldn’t comfortably fit Stanton’s contract into the budget. Losing the $10M annually would help that.

    • Josh Rathbun

      I agree but wasn’t there something going around how bourjas and Tavares DO NOT LIKE EACH OTHER. Something that happened between the two in spring training.

      • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/ Ray DeRousse

        Well, I have no doubt that Taveras disliked the Bourjos acquisition given that it strikes at the heart of Taveras’ greatest weakness: defense. I don’t remember hearing anything specifically, though.

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  • St Louis Blues Brother

    Guest if you don’t like what’s been written, please feel free to exit stage right and once you start, don’t stop. I find this article to be well written and very informative.

  • St Louis Blues Brother

    I discussed the contents of this article with a co-worker today and I have mixed emotions about a potential deal. First Craig is a weapon when he’s right and he’s got a friendly contract. Now is he going to straighten things out and put up Craig like numbers some time this year? We can only hope so or it’s going to be a long season. Second, although Miller unquestionably has a very bright future, I suspect there’s some attitude issues going on behind the scenes. If you watched last nights game it was rather obvious to me that Yadi is, or was, quite frustrated with Miller. If Waino doesn’t shake Yadi off, why is Miller doing so so often? MIller reminds me a bit of Reyes and Rasmus. It seems the some of the young guys think they have a better handle on how to play the game than the Cardinals do. I suspect Taveras’ actions in Spring Training are why he’s still in Memphis, but that’s another story. Third, would the Marlins give up Stanton for Craig and Miller or would Jay have to be included in the deal? Jay is from Miami so he’s a natural choice to be included. That being said is that too much to give up for Stanton? I honestly don’t know but based on Miller’s suspected attitude problems and Craigs injury history, I’m leaning towards making the trade. Teams that trade away superstars for a number of other players, typically get the short end of the deal, in the long run. THe other factor that must be addressed is Can the Cardinals sign Stanton and if so what will it take? Would bringing a 24 year old kid in at $20-25M per year disrupt the team chemistry? It hardly seems fair to pay this guy so much more than Yadi’s getting.
    I really don’t know what to think about this potential deal.

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  • Mo Little

    How much do you think the injury to Fernandez will fuel this rumor now, and maybe bring it closer to reality? That’s obviously a huge loss for the Marlins. The perfect storm could be brewing to make this happen.

    • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/ Ray DeRousse

      I thought the same thing. I love Fernandez, but I must admit I was chuckling a bit when I heard about his injury.

  • Kurt

    I would love to see Stanton join the birds. We have the ammo to make the trade. We are deep at corner outfielders and young pitching. Would like to see a player that can play defense like Bourjos and potential at the plate like Piscotty or OT so we could finally let someone settle into an everyday starter at CF

  • JCT

    I’ve never understood the commenters who post just to try and piss on someone else. What a sad life they must have…

    The author of this post did everything he possibly could to supply the right context and framework for his piece. If you choose to read it for anything more, then you are purposely going out of your way to bring someone else down. ESPN (but much worse, SI and any of the blog-driven sites like SBNation) regularly “report” on rumors without making a special effort to alert the reader to that fact. So kudos to the author. And that’s coming from a former longtime newspaper journalist.

    On to the real topic of discussion… if the inside sources are floating Craig and Miller, I get that. But as a fan and observer, does Matt Adams not make the most sense, for both the Marlins and Cardinals? The Marlins have a nicely stocked farm system of young OFers; none that can replace Stanton but plenty who are intriguing. Craig is better (offensively) than all of them right now, but Adams is younger and though his power is absent this year, he’s more likely than Craig to offer some punch in place of Stanton. And OF eligibility would not be a concern, theoretically, for FLA.

    The idea that the Cardinals could not trade Miller until Garcia is in the mix is a little absurd, once you factor in the potential impact of a deal like this. I think the Cards have enough SP depth (and potential depth) to withstand Miller not taking the mound every 5 games so that Stanton could take the field every game. Regardless, it’s all academic until something concrete happens.

    Another question, however: is Taveras considered untouchable? Because a deal that included Matt Adams, Taveras, and Miller for Stanton, while seemingly appearing to be a fantasyland trade, makes the Cardinals better both offensively (Stanton over Adams) and defensively (Stanton in RF over Craig, who is back at first, with Bourjos in CF longterm). Taveras is nothing but speculation and potential. A deal of that magnitude could not be matched by Boston, or any other team. And it makes sense for both teams, does it not?

    • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/ Ray DeRousse

      First of all, thank you very much for the kind words of support! Coming from a reporter, those words are especially encouraging!
      I would dearly love to see the team send Adams rather than Craig. However, I do believe the team would need (or want) to shed the money owed Craig over the next four years (around $11M AAV) in order to sign Stanton long term. Adams comes very cheap at this point, and losing him doesn’t help the Cards pay Stanton.

    • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/ Ray DeRousse

      I wanted to address the Taveras point separately. I believe Taveras is a tremendous talent, and I think he will make for a very good ML hitter. He could potentially be a game-changing player.
      But there’s that word again: potentially. So many unknowns cloud the future for prospects. Look at the struggles of Miller despite his early tag as an ace. One cannot predict how these things go.
      But I’m certain that this team requires a bigger, more aggressive bat than Taveras. A thumper who can scare pitchers into throwing meatballs at our high-contact hitters. Holliday is not that guy anymore. Peralta is better at it. But we don’t have THAT GUY to replace what Pujols, Berkman, and Beltran provided. We will need to go get one sooner or later.

      • St Louis Blues Brother

        Honestly after the way Tavarez acted in Spring Training, I’m beginning to have doubts that he’s got what it takes to be a Cardinal but giving up Miller, Craig/Adams AND Tavarez I think is entirely too much. Tavarez would bring a nice return all by himself due to his status as the top rated prospect in all of baseball. I wouldn’t give up all three of these guys for anyone. On another note, I would make the deal without getting Stanton signed to a long term deal. Renting players is just too expensive. Mo can’t give up that much talent for a year or two.

        • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/ Ray DeRousse

          I share your doubts about Taveras’ attitude.

  • sure

    I would make this deal if Tavaras was not involved. I do not not the details around spring training but I read an article that stated he comes from a very poor background. I dont blame him for not pushing the ankle. Besides it seems like we bring up young guys to ride the bench. Then they cant hit being a pinch hitter then they go back down. Its dreamy but Imagine Stanton Holliday and Tavaras as our outfield

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  • Tom Tucker

    Just Trade Matt Adams for stanton, a 3 for 1 player deal is okay with loria