Let’s start with the Cardinals’ side: should they trade for Stanton? Yes. The answer is yes. Stanton is currently 24, he has a 167 OPS+ for this season and a 140 mark for his five year career. He has been playing Major League Baseball since he was 20 and he has still hit 40% better than league average. If a player like that is available, you should be fired for not asking about him. As for the logistics, he’s set to become a free agent after 2016, so a team would be acquiring him for at least two and a half seasons, plus any acquiring team would almost certainly be working to extend him, since he’ll be a free agent at the incredibly reasonable age of 27.
Now, the Marlins: would they make this trade? Well, it turns out that they have! Miguel Cabrera was traded two full seasons before becoming a free agent and for his…age 25 season. Well look at that, what a coincidence. Now, the GM has changed since then. However, the influential right hand man to the GM is still in place. Coincidentally, the GM’s right hand man is an actual sock puppet on owner Jeffrey Loria’s right hand.
All of that to say: as long as Jeffrey Loria is owner, there’s a chance that the Marlins will make some crazy cost-cutting maneuver at the expense of fielding a good team. If the team stays in contention this year, they might table talks until the offseason*, but we can’t just rule it out like we could for, oh, 29 other teams.
*And any time you’re depending on a bunch of young pitchers who might wear down, like Jose Fernandez, Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, and Jacob Turner, or a bunch of out-of-nowhere good seasons, like with Casey McGehee, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Tom Koehler, it’s fair to say “Let’s wait another month and see”.
So with that, what would a trade for Stanton look like? Well, let’s use Miguel Cabrera as a basis, since they were 24-year-old outfielders two years from free agency playing on the Marlins with career OPS+s around 140 (Miguel’s was 143, in fact). The full Miggy trade was: