The Red Sox and Yankees will be front-runners in the MLB trade race to land Giancarlo Stanton this winter, but who has the inside track to nab him according to that latest baseball rumors?
Dave Dombrowski uses off-seasons to fix problems and he’s not afraid to throw big money at an issue. The Red Sox, traditionally one of baseball’s best teams in power categories, finished dead last in home runs in 2017 and that’s why they should be considered the favorites to trade for Stanton this winter.
The dilemma for Dombrowski and the Red Sox will be which one of their young stud players they’ll be willing to part with in a trade for Stanton – who belted 59 home runs and drove in 132 runs this past season.
Here’s a look at the likelihood of certain players from the current roster having to be dealt away from the Red Sox.
Andrew Benintendi – Benintendi won’t win American League Rookie of the Year (that will go to Aaron Judge and his 52 home runs) but the Abercrombie model had a fine first (full) year in the big leagues, clouting 20 homers with 90 RBI and owning a .271 batting average. The 23-year-old left fielder could one day put up Judge or Stanton type power numbers but Dombrowski doesn’t seem like the type to wait around. Stanton is still only 27-years-old so giving up Benintendi in a trade package for the Miami slugger wouldn’t be mortgaging the future. Expect Derek Jeter to use Benintendi as the starting point for any trade conversations involving Stanton and the Red Sox.
Jackie Bradley Jr – JBJ hit a career-high 26 homers in 156 games played last season, hit 17 this season in 133 games and had a homer against the Astros in the ALDS – but he remains far from a power threat. At this point (JBJ is 27-years-old), you know what you’re going to get from him: phenomenal defense and spotty hitting. The Red Sox would definitely throw him in a package if it meant obtaining a power hitter like Stanton.
Mookie Betts – This is likely the point where the Red Sox hang up the phone. While Betts had a good but not great series against the Astros in the ALDS (he had a hit in every game but did not register an RBI or home run), he and Rafael Devers are the only close-to-untouchables in the Red Sox lineup when it comes to a potential MLB trade.
Xander Bogaerts – Bogaerts had a brutal 2017, finishing with 11 less homers and 27 less RBI than he did in 2016. Jeter might think he sprinkle some of his shortstop pixie dust on Bogaerts but Bogaerts right now seems destined to become a Shea Hillenbrand type on offense in that he’s a player that showed elite promise early in his career but his ceiling is 20 home runs and 80 RBIs per year. Would the Marlins even want him?
The Red Sox would also have to package together an elite prospect with one or several of the players above in order to land Stanton in a trade. Jason Groome is the Red Sox’ top pitching prospect and the most likely Red Sox young-in to be shipped out in an MLB blockbuster, but it seems the Red Sox and Dombrowski might finally be drawing the line when it comes to shipping out farm talent.
“Our farm system has played well for us, but we’re not really looking to trade our premium guys,” Dombrowski told WEEI this past summer. “It’s not that you’re not going to trade players, but guys like [Rafael] Devers and [Jason] Groome, who are a couple names that come to mind right off the bat, are premium guys. You just can’t keep trading everybody at some point.”
As for the Red Sox’ competition for obtaining Stanton in a trade, the Yankees might not be as big a threat as previously thought. The idea of putting Stanton in the same lineup as Judge is enticing for Yankees fans but Brian Cashman recently told the NY Post that the Yankees are laser focused on getting under the $197 million luxury tax line in 2018. There’s no way New York would be able to slide under that figure with Stanton on the books.