We suppose the mythical MLB Hot Stove can't be officially lit until the World Series is over. But Chris DeLuca of the Chicago Sun-Times went ahead and fired it up anyway. In an article posted today, DeLuca writes that the Florida Marlins asked and were granted permission to interview current White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen about the Miami-based team's open managerial job. (And DeLuca's source is pretty airtight -- it's Ozzie himself.) What's more, DeLuca reports that there was even:
... discussion of executing a trade that would send Guillen, who has a year left on his contract, to the Marlins for 20-year-old outfielder Mike Stanton, who hit 22 home runs and knocked in 59 runs in just 100 games as a rookie this season.
How crazy is this idea? Very. But not necessarily because one of the subjects involved happens to be a manager.
Big league managers have been traded for players at least a couple of times before. In 1976, Oakland Athletics manager Chuck Tanner was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for catcher Manny Sanguillen (and $100,000). And there's an even better example that features a name presumably familiar to all Chicago sports fans: Lou Piniella.
In 2002, Sweet Lou was traded along with outfielder Randy Winn to theTampa Bay Rays (then called the Devil Rays, of course) for infielder Antonio Perez. The two teams sold the deal as a straight-up Winn-for-Perez swap, but the general understanding at the time was that trade wouldn't have gone down if not for Piniella's inclusion.
What makes this particular trade rumor so amusing is that the Marlins -- or any major league team, for that matter -- would seriously consider trading their No. 1 prospect (as rated by Baseball America in 2009) and one of the highest rated prospects in all of baseball (ESPN's Keith Law had Stanton ranked No. 5 overall earlier this year) for a manager. And it's not like Stanton is untested at the major league level. In 396 plate appearances for the Marlins in 2010, he hit .259/.326/.507 (.833 OPS, .355 wOBA, 2.7 WAR). And Stanton turns 21 next month. Yes, 21.
Indeed, the rumor had the Internet alight with jocularity. Stat-friendly blogger of Fangraphs fame, Dave Cameron, tweeted, "If Ozzie Guillen is worth Mike Stanton, does that mean Don Cooper is worth Jason Heyward?" Drew Silva of NBC Sports/Rotoworld took a similar road, tweeting, "Let me be the first to endorse a swap of Tony La Russa for Elvis Andrus. You in, Rangers?" Even an actual MLB player got in on the fun, with Stanton's teammate Logan Morrison firing off, "No offense Ozzie but I'd take [Stanton]."
And the truth? Much less fun. Joel Frisaro, Marlins beat writer for mlb.com, reports that a Marlins' source says the Guillen-for-Stanton talks "never happened." And, as of this writing, no one from the White Sox has commented. But, hey, it was an enjoyable way to kick off a Friday. We've got a good four or five months of this stuff coming up.