Marlins Country

What Does Giancarlo Stanton’s Injury Mean for Marlins?

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The 2013 season is but a month old and Giancarlo Stanton, the team’s only real noteworthy position player, is already hurt for a second time.

The 23-year-old slugger strained his hamstring attempting to leg out a single on Monday night against the Mets. In a scene too painful for Marlins fans to watch, Stanton quickly fell to the ground as he crossed first base and was immediately removed from the game. Upon completion of the game the team announced the all-star would be placed on the 15-day disabled list. Now reports are that he will likely be out until June.

Stanton also missed more than a week of game time in mid-April with a left shoulder contusion.

So, what does this latest injury bug mean for the Marlins? Or better yet, what does this mean for Stanton’s future (or lack thereof, according to most baseball pundits) in Miami?

The general consensus across baseball is that Stanton will be traded sooner than later. Many baseball writers contend that the Marlins should have traded him before the season started. Others believe he will spend the duration of 2013 in red-orange and black before being shipped off next offseason. Several fans are even saying Stanton is playing like he doesn’t even want to be here right now (I’m looking at you, MarlinsBaseball.com forums).

It’s simple, really: An injured Giancarlo Stanton is not going to net the Marlins the haul of prospects that he should bring in. Whether fans of the ballclub like it or not, his days down there are numbered and when Loria and Co. pull the trigger, it would be a damn shame if the team didn’t receive the superb talent that only a player of Stanton’s caliber can secure.

healthy Stanton, that is.

Sure, we’ve seen it before. In basically every season Stanton has been in the big leagues, he has struggled coming out of the chute. 2013 is his third April with the Marlins, and his annual early spring struggles are well-documented. But, you never know with these injuries. Some guys land on the disabled list and come back better than ever (Stephen Strasburg anyone?). Others, not so much (Chris Coghlan? Wait, no, I mean most of the top prospects the Marlins have ever fielded. Ever.)

Even when healthy, Stanton has put up pedestrian numbers his last couple Aprils. He hit just one lone home run in April 2012. Just two in 2011. We all know how his numbers looked at the conclusion of both of those full seasons. But it would be simply tragic for Stanton to not be the same after this next DL stint, which will last around a month. You know Jeffrey Loria will be dangling the services of his mammoth slugger at the next Winter Meetings — heck, maybe even at this year’s trade deadline. But what if the Giancarlo we get back in June and for the rest of 2013 isn’t the Giancarlo we have known and loved since 2010? What happens if he gets hurt again before the season is over? That will undoubtedly begin to raise concerns from opposing GM’s about his value moving forward. And that will certainly lessen his value on the trade front. And for a Marlins team essentially stuck in limbo right now, with no valuable pieces not named Stanton or Fernandez (and if they trade him, I quit) the only way this team can become halfway competitive in the not-so-distant future is to net some good youngsters when they finally cut ties with Giancarlo.

Here’s hoping to a full and speedy recovery. And that they forget the home run sculpture exists after it sits dormant for the next month.