MLB Rumors: Could Marlins Trade Giancarlo Stanton, the Home Run King?

The Miami Marlins, going nowhere fast in the National League East, have Major League Baseball's best hitter in Giancarlo Stanton.

On Tuesday, Stanton crushed his 44th home run of an increasingly remarkable season, a rocket to left center field at Marlins Park against the San Francisco Giants. Stanton has hit a home run in six consecutive games as his form has picked up since the All Star break. He has moved into select, if controversial, company, too. Only Sammy Sosa in 1998 and Barry Bonds in 2001 have compiled more home runs in that time span in MLB history.

Sosa got the honor of being featured in the memorable first chapter of Philip Roth's The Human Stain, Bonds the disgrace of being one of the protagonists in Game of Shadows, an exposé of the Balco steroid scandal. Stanton has no literary honors but he does have a 13-year, $325 million–dollar contract that is going to pay him at least $25 million through every season from the next until 2028.

Meanwhile, the Marlins are four games under .500. They lost to the Giants Tuesday despite Stanton's latest feat of timing and strength. Stanton's incredible season, which has him on pace for 60 home runs over 162 games, is at odds with the Marlins' torpor.

It's a dichotomy that the Marlins' new ownership is going to have to solve. According to Yahoo Sports, the 27-year-old cleared waivers on Sunday, meaning the Marlins can trade him before the end of August, and "at least four teams" have already made enquiries about trading for a contract that has 10 years and $295 million to run.

Trading Stanton means giving up the face of a franchise but it also opens up the possibility of a full-scale rebuild. Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, the figureheads of the Marlins' new ownership group, must weigh up a devilish decision. As The Ringer points out, Stanton's most notable feat this season has been remaining free from injury. Given how his career has played out so far, it seems unlikely at this stage that he will get to 50 home runs again. Then, if Jeter and Sherman let Stanton go and he enjoys several more otherwordly seasons elsewhere, they are going to be pretty unpopular at the start of their tenure.

What is certain is that the Marlins aren't winning regularly with Stanton, despite him carrying the franchise on his back this year. It seems as if there are plenty of suitors willing to take on that vast contract, and that the home run king could really be traded in this, his greatest of years.