Posted on November 9, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine

Miami Marlins Giancarlo Stanton

Image via cbssports.com

There may already be a favorite in the sweepstakes to trade for Giancarlo Stanton this winter, and it’s the St. Louis Cardinals. There have already been reports confirming that the Miami Marlins intend to trade Stanton. Several teams have already been identified as potential suitors, with several more being possible destinations that would also make sense. But early in the process, the Cardinals appear to be standing out from the pack.

After missing the playoffs the last two years, the Cardinals are eager to return to the postseason. They are also in need of some power after struggling in that department in 2017. Naturally, Stanton would solve the problem of power in the St. Louis lineup and go a long way toward getting the Cardinals back in the playoffs in 2018.

Perhaps more importantly, there are reports that the Marlins would be eager to do business with the Cardinals. St. Louis has a better than average farm system, particularly when it comes to young pitchers, most notably Alex Reyes and Jack Flaherty. The Cardinals are among the best in baseball at developing young pitchers, and so parting ways with a few doesn’t sound too bad if it means landing Stanton. The Marlins are reportedly intrigued by the possibility of acquiring a few of St. Louis’ young pitchers to help them rebuild.

Other teams will certainly be capable of making offers for Stanton. But if the Marlins like what the Cardinals have more than other teams, it points to St. Louis being a favorite to land Stanton. It’s still early in the process, but the Marlins and Cardinals appear to be on the same page.

Of course, Stanton also has to be on the same page. With his no-trade clause, Stanton will have the final say on where he ends up going. He’s already indicated that he’s not thrilled about Miami entering a long rebuilding phase. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to agree to go to St. Louis. As a native of California, he may prefer to go to a west coast team. He may even prefer to stay with an east coast team. On the other hand, the Cardinals have a long history of success and a winning pedigree, which could persuade him to approve a trade to St. Louis.

The most important thing to remember is that the Stanton sweepstakes is far from over. At the moment, it seems likely that he’ll be traded this winter. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be traded anytime soon. Teams are likely to explore deals for free agents to help their lineup before giving up prospects and taking on Stanton’s contract. There are at least a few free agents who need to come off the board before teams start to get serious about trading for Stanton.

There are bound to be plenty of twists and turns before Stanton ends up getting traded, assuming it happens. But at the moment, the Cardinals appear to be the team making the most progress toward making a deal with the Marlins.

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