By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox may or may not be trying to trade for Giancarlo Stanton, depending on whose reports you believe. Nationally, the word is that they are in the mix. Locally, however, the reports are overwhelmingly the opposite.
The latest cold water splash comes from Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal, who reported on Tuesday that the Red Sox and Marlins have not discussed a potential trade for Stanton since the GM Meetings nearly two weeks ago. That would corroborate NBC Sports Boston’s Evan Drellich, who reported that the Red Sox are an “extreme long shot” to get Stanton, but it would contradict Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic’s report that the Red Sox are still engaged in talks with the Marlins in addition to a handful of other teams.
Red Sox president of baseball ops. Dave Dombrowski is apparently balking at the asking price from the Marlins’ Mike Hill, which McAdam says would be “a package of promising young players” in addition to assuming “most (if not all)” of the $295 million remaining on Stanton’s contract.
If the Red Sox can’t get Stanton, or get outbid, or Stanton blocks a trade here, that’s one thing. For them to be pulling themselves out of the discussion would be an entirely different story, and a head-scratching one at that.
It would be unconscionable that the Red Sox would take issue with having to pay Stanton his full deal, which would inevitably be less than they would have to pay any other free agents, even this year. It would be especially confounding when you consider that the team has said publicly that they have no luxury tax restrictions this offseason.
In fairness to the Red Sox, it’s not just about the money. The Marlins could be asking them for an outrageous package of players/prospects that just wouldn’t be worth any one guy. Maybe they asked for multiple players on the major league roster in addition to top prospects, which would not be ideal.
But if and when that price eventually drops, then there would be little reason for Dombrowski not to re-engage in discussions to acquire Stanton – the exact kind of player the Red Sox need right now. It may be an expensive add, but we’re talking about arguably (perhaps unarguably?) the best power hitter in baseball and reigning National League MVP.
It certainly sounds like those close to the Red Sox are telling local reporters that they are not in on Stanton. The reason for that isn’t clear; it could be to throw people off their scent, or to keep everyone from getting their hopes up for a move that’s not as simple as throwing a bunch of money at David Price or swapping the No. 1 prospect in baseball (at the time) for Chris Sale. It wouldn’t exactly be fair to chastise the Red Sox or call their offseason a colossal failure because they couldn’t make this singular move, one that could involve moving several key players and convincing Stanton to choose Boston over his reported “first choice” of the NL champion Dodgers.
Then again, it’s also inaccurate for anyone to say that the Red Sox wouldn’t be capable of such a move. Even if it means waiting for the Marlins to drop their price, they should absolutely at least be talking to the Marlins or monitoring the situation. Shutting them out entirely doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a team that’s in serious need of high-end power.
J.D. Martinez has been thrown around a lot as an option for the Red Sox to add power, and his power is legit. He’s had a 162-game average of 40 home runs, 110 RBIs, and a .936 OPS over the last four seasons. But he would surely cost the Red Sox more money per season than Stanton (who would cost less than $100 million more in totality) and no top prospects, which would only make it more confusing that money could possibly be an issue with Stanton.
At the end of the day, the Marlins are probably asking for way too much in terms of trade chips right now. But they could come way down from that, especially if the Sox or any other suitor is willing to take Stanton’s entire contract. Hopefully, when they do, the Red Sox throw their names back in the mix, because there’s no better option for their needs to be found anywhere this offseason.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, CBS, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.