|2014 MLB Playoffs Expert Picks: World Series Results||Celtics, Rondo impress in Season Opener||Celtics Receive No Love from Vegas||Former Red Sox Peavy Shelled as Royals Force Game 7 in World Series|
On the eve of the trade deadline, there are plenty of rumors swirling around the Red Sox and what moves they need to do. The Red Sox, who are a half game out of first in the AL East, have some decisions to make on their team. The biggest decision for the Sox right now is to stand pat with the team that they have, or go out and try to get better.
As well as the team has played this year, I think it is completely unrealistic to think this team is a World Series contender. They do lead the AL in runs, and much of the year have relied on the offense to win them games. Many think that making a move for a big pitcher like Cliff Lee would put them over the top this year, but they would have to give up the future in their prospects to get that deal done. With Cliff Lee’s age and salary, that move would be a terrible one in the long term for the Sox, and even if it gave them a chance to make a run at a title, it would handcuff them down the road. There is one move that the Sox need to explore either at the deadline or in the offseason that could not only impact the club immediately, but for the long term future as well.
Giancarlo Stanton is the name that people in Boston need to be talking about. The Miami Marlins, who are struggling to win games in that big new stadium, are notorious for trading off their star players for a slew of prospects in order to keep their team salary down. Now this is a terrible way to do business and the Marlins owner is a complete fraud, but that is a topic for another day. Luckily for a team like the Red Sox, who have four of the top 50 prospects in baseball, the Marlins make for a perfect trade partner. The Red Sox have been successful offensively this year, but with David Ortiz getting up their in age, and question marks around Mike Napoli, the Sox could use another big bat in their lineup, preferably a right handed power hitter.
This is where Giancarlo Stanton comes in. At age 23, Stanton has already proven that he can be an elite player in this league. Stanton missed time at the beginning of the season with injury and as a result he had a bit of a slow start, but is starting to heat up. Stanton is hitting .262 with 13 HR and 33 RBI for the sub par Marlins, he also has an OBP of .379, which shows he is patient at the plate, something all star hitters need to be. Stanton has shown that he can not only hit for power, but hit for average as well. Last year, with a legitimate team around him, he posted a .290 average with 37 HR and 86 RBI. This was Stanton’s second 30 home run campaign in the majors and he has already hit 106 career HR and doesn’t turn 24 until November.
Now the price is going to be high for a player like this, but maybe not as high as the price for Cliff Lee. The Red Sox have a bunch of prospects, as well as a player like third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who has shown his potential but struggled this season. With the year offensively that Jose Iglesias is having, plus the fact that he is the best defensive shortstop in the league, that position looks to be filled for the future. Xander Bogaerts, who is the Red Sox top prospect and number three in baseball is playing short right now in AAA, but looks to be more of a third baseman in the majors with Iglesias at short. It’s also worth noting that the Sox third ranked prospect Garin Cecchini is also a third baseman. That gives them three players to fill only one position.
I would say the team deems Bogaerts as untouchable, but if he is the third baseman of the future, why wouldn’t they put a deal together with those other prospects and players. Now many people argue about trading young prospects for players who have been in the league for a while, but this is a completely different situation. After Bogaerts, all the top prospects for the Sox are between the ages of 22-24, which puts them right around the same age of the proven Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton is also under control until the 2016 season and is going to demand less than $10 million next year when he becomes arbitration eligible.
With Jacoby Ellsbury going to free agency, and most likely that money coming off the books, this is the perfect chance to trade for a corner outfielder, which is a need for the Sox right now. Not only does it help the team right now, but Stanton is a guy who can potentially be a 30 HR and 100 RBI guy for the next decade. With many teams in the mix and asking about Stanton, the Red Sox would be crazy to not trade some of their prospects for him. Packaging a Cecchini, Middlebrooks, or both with a pitching prospect or a proven player like Daniel Nava could potentially bring the power hitting Stanton to Boston.
I believe this deal can get done without including Xander Bogaerts, and if that is so, they need to pull the trigger on this deal. The last thing that Sox fans want is them to pass on this deal because they like their prospects and they miss out big. Look at the Miguel Cabrera trade, where the Tigers parted with two of their biggest prospects in Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller. Both prospects have moved on and now are playing for other teams, and neither of them panned out to be the players many thought they would become. Meanwhile, Miguel Cabrera just hit for the triple crown and has helped his team compete for a World Series.
At no point am I saying Giancarlo Stanton is Miguel Cabrera, but the analogy is perfect in this situation. The Sox should not sit on prospects who have not proven anything in the majors when they can get a guy who is the same age of most of those prospects and has proven he is a future star in the league. The last thing they need to do is refuse to trade a player like Lars Anderson and then watch him never pan out.
With a trade for Stanton, they would have a right handed power bat to insert in the middle of the lineup and build around for the next 10 years. His swing is perfect for Fenway park and he is a personality that would become a fan favorite right away. The worst thing that could happen is watching him go to another American League team like the Rangers or the Yankees and help them win a championship. This deal may not go down until the offseason, but if the Red Sox are smart, they need to make this deal as soon as possible.