The Red Sox and Dodgers are in the driver's seat to land Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton in an MLB trade this winter as Boston and Los Angeles are the only two teams continually linked to Stanton that could absorb his massive salary.
Make no mistake, money is the main issue here when it comes to a trade of Stanton - who belted a whopping 59 home runs last season. Derek Jeter has flat-out said that the Marlins' main prerogative this winter is to shed salary, and the easiest way to do so is to trade Stanton, obviously. The reason why Stanton should be interested in moving on from Miami is that the Marlins are prepared to strip the rest of the roster around Stanton if moving him does not come to fruition.
"According to two sources with knowledge of discussions, the Marlins informed Stanton in October that if he refused to waive his no-trade rights and accept a trade, he would remain a Marlin and team officials would look to trade off other top players to reduce payroll," wrote Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald this week. "While it wasn't presented to Stanton as an ultimatum, one source said, it shows that the Marlins aren't without leverage in their efforts to deal Stanton and relieve them of the financial burden he brings. Stanton has said he doesn't wish to be a part of a rebuild … Shedding the $25 million that Stanton is set to make in 2018 - not to mention the $296 million owed to him over the remainder of his contract - would go a long way toward helping the Marlins reach their $90 million target payroll next season. They would also like to trade infielders Dee Gordon and Martin Prado to help satisfy that goal."
The Red Sox' interest in Stanton has been reported to be mild in recent days, but these things change quickly with Dave Dombrowski at the helm. A trade for Chris Sale seemed like a pipe dream in the summer of 2016 and late into the fall of last year, but a deal wound up happening.
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The guess here is that if the Marlins do trade Stanton they will help the club who gets him - at least a tad - when it comes to the salary. Trading away, say, 90 percent of Stanton's contract along with Gordon and Prado would make Jeter's partners in Miami very happy.
As for the Red Sox, if they were to indeed trade for Stanton they would surely need to complete a few salary dumps (ala Clay Buchholz to the Phillies last December) prior to the start of the 2018 season in order to keep payroll relatively under control.
The Dodgers are used to having the highest payroll in baseball by now, but obviously they would let top free agent Yu Darvish walk out the door if they were to bring on Stanton's deal. They too would likely look to dump salary this winter if Stanton is in the cards.
What this may come down to is how much of Stanton's contract the Red Sox and Dodgers are willing to take on. Say the Dodgers say that they'll take on 90 percent of Stanton's contract. The Red Sox would hear that and could bite the bullet and take on the full monty in response.
Of course, if Stanton hears that it's down to the Red Sox and Dodgers he could use his no-trade clause as leverage and push for a deal to Los Angeles (his top choice).