Dreaming up a blockbuster: Stanton to the Red Sox


Last August I wrote a post regarding the Red Sox potentially trading for Giancarlo Stanton. In that post I argued that the Red Sox shouldn’t overpay for the young slugger from the Miami Marlins.

Apr 5, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) at bat against the San Diego Padres at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

In a sense, I’m still against giving up too much. But what if the Sox were to able acquire one or two more blossoming young players along with Stanton? What if one of those players happened to be a young pitcher on the fast track to ace status? And what if the Miami-bound package did NOT include Xander Bogaerts or blossoming phenom Mookie Betts?

Though this is just a pipe dream trade scenario, I’ll try to keep it as realistic as possible (unlike a naive Ryan Roberts, Daniel Nava, and Chris Capuano for Stanton trade proposal). With that being said I present to you my trade proposal:

Miami-bound from Boston
LHP Henry Owens, RHP Allen Webster, OF Bryce Brentz, OF Jackie Bradley Jr., 3B Garin Cecchini, C Blake Swihart, 2B Sean Coyle, 1B/OF Mike Carp

Boston-bound from Miami
OF Giancarlo Stanton, RHP Jose Fernandez, one of OF Christian Yelich or OF Marcell Ozuna

Player by player breakdown

LHP Henry Owens– The top pitching prospect in the Boston farm system. Ranked as Boston’s second-best prospect and 27th overall according to MLB.com. Ranked third according to soxprospects.com. Currently pitching in Double-A Portland where he is 3-0 with a 2.28 ERA, 1.060 WHIP, and 25 strikeouts in 23.2 innings pitched. Projects as a potential top of the rotation starter. Likely to be promoted to Triple A later in 2014 and could debut at some point in 2015.

RHP Allen Webster– MLB.com has him ranked as the 44th best prospect and Boston’s third best overall. Soxprospects.com has him as the organization’s seventh best prospect. Currently pitching in Triple-A Pawtucket where he is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA, 1.450 WHIP, and 11 strikeouts (and 12 walks) in 20 innings. The fact that Webster has some Major League experience is what keeps him ranked ahead of fellow RHP prospects Anthony Ranaudo and Matt Barnes. However, in the limited opportunities he’s had in the majors, Webster has yet to fulfill his promise. Perhaps a change of scenery would be helpful.

OF Bryce Brentz– Ranked as Boston’s 16th best prospect according to MLB.com and 19th according to soxprospects.com. Currently hitting .227/.329/.364/.693 (.263/.349/.395/.744 in his last 10 games) with two home runs for Triple-A Pawtucket. A rare case of the prospect being younger than the established player he’s being traded for. Brentz is off to a somewhat slow start. Showing an encouraging sign of improved plate discipline with 10 walks (half of his total from last season). Should put up above average power numbers in the majors. Has a plus throwing arm. Should make his Major League debut at some point this season.

OF Jackie Bradley Jr.– No longer considered a prospect according to MLB.com. Ranked as the organization’s second best prospect according to soxprospects.com. Currently hitting .222/.333/.296/.629 as the big club’s primary center fielder. In the long-term, Bradley could emerge as a guy who hits first or second in the batting order thanks to his ability to draw walks. Should also hit for a decent average. Excellent defender who should win his share of Gold Gloves. Would only include in a trade if another center fielder is included in a return.

Garin Cecchini– Ranked as the organization’s fifth best prospect and 55th best overall according to MLB.com. Soxprospects.com has Cecchini ranked fourth. Currently hitting .317/.377/.397/.774 for Triple A Pawtucket. Very disciplined plate approach (.415 career OBP in the minors). Though his power has yet to fully develop, Cecchini has the potential to consistently reach double figures in homers. He has a power-hitter’s frame and is a natural hitter. Still raw defensively (hence the reason he’s not with the big club right now). Should be an average defender at third, but is athletic enough to also play first base and corner outfield.

Blake Swihart– Fourth and 59th according to MLB.com and fifth according to soxprospects.com. The switch-hitter is currently hitting .362/.375/ .532/.907 for Double A Portland. Defensive tools behind the plate rank average-to-plus. Likely to earn a mid or late season promotion to Triple A and could make his major league debut in mid to late 2015. Could eventually move off the catcher’s position. The presence of Christian Vazquez could make Swihart expendable for the right price.

2B Sean Coyle– Ranked as the organization’s 21st best prospect according to soxprospects.com. Currently hitting .304/.360/.457/.817 with two home runs for Double A Portland. Prospect stock took a hit thanks to an injury-plagued 2013 season where he still managed to hit 16 home runs in 60 games. Though he’s no further ahead in upper level experience as counterpart Mookie Betts, Coyle has an additional year of experience in the Boston farm system. Average power potential and solid defensive tools. Is also splitting time at third base.

1B/OF Mike Carp– The “throw-in” of this trade package. At the very least, Carp provides quality insurance off the bench as a reserve 1B/OF and pinch-hitter. Could overtake the starting first base job if traded to the Marlins.

Boston-bound from Miami

OF Giancarlo Stanton– Currently hitting .284/.363/.568/.931 and leading the NL with six home runs. If acquired by Boston, Stanton should benefit greatly from playing his home games at Fenway Park. Would be a wise move to have him play left field instead of right to preserve his knees. Could also move to 1B/DH down the road as well. Making $6.5 million this year and will be eligible for free agency after 2016. An extension would be a likely goal for Boston management if they were to acquire Stanton.

Apr 22, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez (16) throws a pitch against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

RHP Jose Fernandez– Currently 2-1 with a 2.11 ERA, 1.099 WHIP, and 33 strikeouts in 23.2 innings. Won’t be arbitration eligible until after 2015 and won’t be eligible for free agency until after 2018. Will take a very overwhelming trade package to pry the young ace from Miami.

OF Christian Yelich or OF Marcell Ozuna– Yelich is currently hitting .338/.407/.429/.836 in the leadoff spot. Currently playing left field but has some experience in center field. Ozuna is currently hitting .329/.383/.507/.890 as the number two hitter and playing center field. Yelich has a better approach and more speed but Ozuna has more power. Would be interesting to see who the Sox would acquire. If it’s Yelich, there’s a good chance Mookie Betts learns to play right field. If it’s Ozuna, perhaps Betts learns to play center field with Ozuna moving over to right field in the coming seasons. Both players are scheduled to reach free agency after 2019.

Final analysis

This is probably the best opportunity for Miami to get a maximum return for Stanton. They really need help all over the field and the Red Sox are the most logical trade partner. Boston has both a rich farm system and the financial resources to keep Stanton in the long-term. The longer they wait, the less the return. I would be floored with Fernandez being included because it seems so unlikely. Would be very surprised to see Bradley dealt unless a center fielder is coming with Stanton. This is definitely an avenue the Red Sox should consider if the offense doesn’t start becoming more consistent.

I don’t necessarily see this trade package becoming a reality, but I do see Stanton coming to Boston at some point. That is unless Marlins’ management attempts to do something they rarely do: Lock up a star player to a long-term extension.