Red Sox Rumors: Boston could pursue trade for Giancarlo Stanton

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24: Giancarlo Stanton
PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24: Giancarlo Stanton /

The Boston Red Sox are rumored to be among the few teams interested in trading for Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton.

The Boston Red Sox desperately need to add some power to their lineup. How about the guy that led the majors in home runs?

Word out of the Miami Marlins clubhouse is that the team wouldn’t be surprised to see the Red Sox make a play for Giancarlo Stanton, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. “They need the power,” an NL executive told Heyman.

That would be an understatement. The Red Sox ranked dead last in the American League in home runs and 14th with a .407 slugging percentage. Boston was sixth in the league in runs scored with 785, a dramatic fall from their major league-leading 878 runs the previous season.

While a number of lineup regulars had down seasons, the most significant difference from last season was the retirement of David Ortiz. The Red Sox lacked the middle of the order power threat capable of striking fear into opposing hitters.

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A home run swatting slugger is expected to be at the top of Dave Dombrowski’s wish list this winter. While a number of appealing options can be found on the free agent market, the trade route can’t be ignored. If Dombrowski were to look down that path then there is no greater prize than Stanton.

The 27-year old is coming off of a career year in which he hit .281 with a 1.007 OPS. He led the majors with 59 home runs, 132 RBI and a .631 slugging percentage. All while playing in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in baseball. Imagine the damage his right-handed swing could do with the short left field wall at Fenway Park to aim for.

The new Marlins ownership group is rumored to be looking to slash payroll and rebuild, which Stanton wants no part of. The chances have become increasingly likely that he and his enormous contract will be dealt this winter. Stanton is owed at least $295 million over the next 10 years (he has a $25 million team option for 2028 with a $10 million buyout). He can opt out of the deal after the 2020 season but even if the Marlins are banking on him diving into free agency again they may not be willing to pay $25+ million in each of the next three seasons.

Heyman’s report lists the San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals as other potential suitors for Stanton. The Giants and Phillies are a pair of last-place teams we can safely rule out since Stanton isn’t interested in joining a rebuilding team. A teammate also told FanRag Sports that Stanton’s preference would be to play on one of the two coasts, which limits the appeal of a Cardinals team that resides in the Mid-West.

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Stanton’s contract includes a full no-trade clause, giving him the leverage to maneuver himself toward the team of his choice if the Marlins are hellbent on trading him. As an East Coast team coming off consecutive division titles run by owners with deep pockets, the Red Sox would certainly appeal to him.

The vast majority of Stanton’s playing time over the course of his eight-year career has come in right field. Mookie Betts has been the best defensive right fielder in baseball in each of the last two seasons so it would make little sense to ask him to move. If Stanton is willing to switch positions he could find a home in left field, sliding Andrew Benintendi to center and relegating Jackie Bradley to a bench/defensive replacement role.

JBJ could end up being trade bait in that scenario, possibly as a piece sent to Miami in a trade for Stanton. Boston’s farm system may lack the top-end talent to entice the Marlins, yet including Bradley could help seal the deal. He’s a cost-controlled player and a former All-Star who comes with the reputation of being among the best defensive center fielders in baseball.

Add in a young starting pitcher such as Eduardo Rodriguez (who isn’t expected to be ready to begin the season after undergoing knee surgery but still holds long-term upside) along with a couple of prospects and the Red Sox have a package that may suit Miami. Keep in mind that since Miami will be expecting a team to pick up most, if not all, of Stanton’s remaining contract, the haul they receive in return will be limited compared to what the superstar slugger is actually worth.

The match between Stanton and the Red Sox makes too much sense not to be explored. If Stanton is intent on joining a winning team then he could aid the process by pushing the Marlins new owners to send him to Boston.

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There’s always the chance that another appealing contender could jump in the mix but it would be a surprise if Dombrowski didn’t at least get involved in these trade talks this winter.