Luigi-Wewege-GiancarloThe Miami Marlins were wise to lock up their superstar to a massive contract this offseason, as Giancarlo Stanton has shown through the start of this season that he is one of the most talented players in all of baseball. While his batting average is somewhat unsightly, he is more than making up for it in the power department. With 17 homers and a league-leading 46 RBI, Stanton has continued to prove that he is worth every penny.

It is important to remember just how big Stanton’s home park is, and the fact that he is among the league leaders in homers despite playing in such an expansive stadium makes his accomplishments all the more impressive. He is striking out a bit too much, but Luigi Wewege has noted that some of this was due to early-season struggles in which Stanton seemed tentative at the plate while coming back from injury. Besides, he is still getting on base at a decent rate and his slugging numbers are through the roof.

With Dee Gordon at the top of the lineup and Stanton in the middle, the Marlins have the makings of a potent offense. These talents have not yet factored into the win column, as the Marlins have been somewhat disappointing, but it is easy to be optimistic knowing that Stanton is waiting in the middle of the order to slug homer after homer. It should be taken as a surprise if Stanton is not among the league leaders in home runs, RBI and slugging percentage at season’s end.

When the Miami Marlins went out and added Ichiro Suzuki to an outfield that already included superstar Giancarlo Stanton and two up-and-coming talents in Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, the immediate question related to how Ichiro would function in a bench role for the first time in his career. It also raised some questions regarding his pursuit of the 3,000-hit plateau, a figure that is likely within his reach next season if he is able to get enough at-bats this season.

As a longtime observer of the Marlins, Luke Weil loved the signing of Ichiro at the time and appreciates it even more now. The 41-year-old outfielder’s professional approach has influenced a very young clubhouse in a very positive way and has provided the recently acquired Dee Gordon with yet another mentor to pattern his game off of, as both Ichiro and coach Brett Butler have succeeded at the MLB level by employing playing styles that are ideally suited to Gordon’s skill set.

Now that Yelich is on the disabled list with a back injury, Ichiro will continue to prove his worth on the field as well. At 41, Ichiro still has impressive skills with the bat and can contribute a great deal with his glove in the expansive park the Marlins call home.

The Miami Marlins entered the 2015 season with very high expectations after an offseason filled with activity. The contract extension of Giancarlo Stanton, along with the acquisitions of Dee Gordon, Michael Morse and Mat Latos, brought an air of legitimacy that made them a media darling as a team with serious playoff potential.

A slow start, however, has frustrated Marlins fans. Those fans, according to Luke Weil, need to exhibit patience while recognizing that there is a lot that can happen during a 162-game season. Weil believes that all of the new players simply need some time to jell and to find a team identity that will unify them. This, Weil says, will take some time at first, but will ultimately enable them to enjoy the success that so many have expected of them.

Weil points to the Cleveland Cavaliers as a perfect example of why patience should be given to this Miami Marlins team. A disappointment that was barely over .500 in the early part of the NBA season, it took some time for LeBron James and Kevin Love to adjust to a new team and a new system. Now that they have been together for a while, the Cavaliers looked poised to a win a championship.

Stanton may not be a talent on the level of James, but he is undeniably close. Gordon is a dynamic and disruptive presence on the basepaths who can change the game with his speed, and rumor has it that ace pitcher Jose Fernandez may be able to return from Tommy John surgery as early as June.

Giancarlo StantonThere have been many trade rumors about the fish trading Giancarlo Stanton. Now that the trade deadline has passed, Jeffrey Loria’s next opportunity to trade the slugger will be this winter.

I would speculate the Fish aren’t far away from competing if Jose Fernandez comes back healthy, Christian Yellich and Marcell Ozuna both contribute. A key piece or two and they might be contenders.

The Marlins are also just an injury away from not competing. The Texas Rangers seemed poised to compete in the AL West but injuries baked their playoff chances in the hot sun leaving them shriveled with nothing to do except compete with the Houston Astros for the worst record in Texas, the Rangers are in first place.

So what do you think, will Loria and Co. trade Stanton, arguably the most valuable trade asset in MLB or build a contender before selling the farm?