For a team that's not talking about trading Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins sure are talking to a lot of teams about Giancarlo Stanton. As of today you can add the Padres to the list, with the San Diego front office no doubt entranced by the idea of adding someone to their lineup who can hit it out of Yosemite, never mind Petco.
To even the casual observer, this makes no sense. The stated goal of the Marlins' offensive salary dump was to load up on prospects to build another contending team; Stanton would still be under team control when those prospects (hopefully) matured. He's locked in, he's relatively inexpensive, he's a transcendent talent, and he's the only thing on that team worth watching now that the Smeagol-like Jeffrey Loria has quick-kicked on all of his free agent signings and muzzled Logan Morrison's Twitter account. To trade him now for prospects would be to punt the 2013 season; to trade him now for major league talent would no doubt add unacceptably to the payroll Loria's worked so very hard to flense. (And that's leaving aside the near-impossibility of getting back an equivalent package of talent and youth).
Hell, even if Loria's now looking to sell - having slashed payroll and paid himself nicely - trading a marketable superstar like Stanton would only make the team less appealing as a purchase target.
Which leaves only one possibility: spite. Stanton was visibly and publicly upset when half his locker room got traded out from under him. Maybe this is Loria's way of showing Stanton - and the fans, who dared criticize the Great Man when his transparent swindle of the taxpayers of Miami became apparent - who's boss. Don't like it, suckers? Tough. You're already on the hook for the stadium, even if the guys running out to play in it would lose a seven game series to the '78 Expos - and those guys are all in their sixties. Don't like it, Stanton? Get ready for endless months, if not years, of being jerked around, of having no stability and being the subject of constant speculation.
And that, I think, rings the most true. The Marlins aren't going to trade Giancarlo Stanton, not for a good long while yet. But they are going to jerk him around, to dangle him in rumors hither and yon, to punish him for daring to disagree with the Great And Powerful Oz. It seems entirely in character, and entirely detached from the ostensible purpose of a baseball team, which is to say winning games.
But this is Loria, and we already know how all his stories end. With him getting what he wants, with others ponying up for the privilege of getting screwed by this schnook, and with good players on the next train out of town. It's just too bad for Stanton that his train won't be coming until Loria decides he's learned his lesson.