Can the Red Sox finally make a move on a superior right-handed slugger such as Giancarlo Stanton? The Sox have the trade chips available.
The Red Sox paid 72.5 Million for Rusney Castillo and the baseball jury is still in deliberations over the signing. The defense and prosecutors have spoken to the jury – affectionately designated “Red Sox Nation” and it may be a hung jury.
Castillo has successfully displayed his ability at every level with remarkable consistency except where it counts – at the MLB level. In 2014 defensively the Castillo that was on the field was – to be polite – “inconsistent.” Poor routes to balls in the outfield and some throws that often appeared Hanley Ramirez like. The sample was small, but in 2015 some of the same questions surfaced until a defensive light went on and Castillo suddenly became a force.
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The defensive stats for 2015 were more than respectable with a UZR/150 of 19.2 and a DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) of 15, but the move to left field was certainly even a further statistical uplift with a UZR/150 of 28.5 and DRS of nine. Castillo’s defense – especially in left field – was excellent either statistically or with an eyeball test, but one must also bat.
The slash line was pedestrian at .253/.288/.359 and in 80 games the power was a meager five home runs and 29 RBI. The ISO (Isolated Power) checked in at .106 and other metrics forced you to scan the lower depths of FanGraphs.
A friend of mine recently made an analogy that Castillo is similar to a mid-range football prospect who comes into the combine and is a great physical specimen who is outstanding in the various drills and moves up to be a second or a first round pick. The problem is it never transitions to real game conditions.
So what to do?
Trades have been mentioned and one that I would certainly find intriguing is with the Miami Marlins and Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton has an enormous contract, is one of the premier right-hand power bats in baseball, is facing his prime career years and since this is the Marlins – everyone is available if you pay the price.
Dave Dombrowski certainly has a big deal mentality and the Marlins have been a target of his trading acumen in the past such as the acquisition of Miguel Cabrera. The Red Sox have a historic trade in their own history with the Marlins bringing in Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett in return for several noted prospects including Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez. That was the best of all baseball trades since both parties got what they needed and Boston’s trade was key to a championship.
Marlins owner Jeff Loria purchased the team from current Red Sox owner John Henry. Mike Hill – the Marlins GM – is a Harvard graduate and part Cuban so he certainly understands the complexities of targeting marketing and the Boston mentality regarding baseball. Dombrowski spent a decade in Miami so another connection exists. This is a group that has some well-established connections between both franchises.
Castillo would be an excellent fit for Miami being controllable with a long term contract and Cuban to take advantage of the Cuban market in Miami. Castillo would be a defensive improvement, but an offensive slide for the Marlins.
For the Red Sox, this is the ultimate right-handed power bat that is traditionally a target ever since Jimmie Foxx was brought to town. A healthy – a big question – Stanton could see a new team home run record and even a new league record – especially with young and productive bats protecting Stanton.
What would it take?
Castillo is just a small part of a puzzle and a puzzle it is. What would I want from the outside looking in? I doubt that Mookie Betts or Xander Bogaerts could be pried loose, but either Blake Swihart or Christian Vazquez would. Anderson Espinosa has been compared to Sanchez and that is a distinct possibility as is fast rising prospect Andrew Benintendi. Henry Owens has a nice future and would certainly provide some now ready pitching. Plenty more on the prospect list and DD has displayed no hesitation in trading prospects as noted in the Craig Kimbrel transaction.
I would expect the Marlins to request a catcher – probably Swihart who has potential versatility – a young pitcher such as Espinoza or possibly an Owens in addition to Castillo. Maybe more since Red Sox fans traditionally over value our prospects. A hefty and expensive tab that includes the delicious combination of controllable and promising talent with an up in lights pitching prospect. The last time the Red Sox took such a gamble it resulted in a World Series title.
The big move that would tempt me is to toss in Yoan Moncada and Owens along with Castillo. That would certainly be tempting to have two high-profile Cubans and a potential quality starter all under contract or control for years. And while I am at it – any way Jose Fernandez can be included?