The last time the Red Sox traded away their farm for a prized player was in December 2010 for Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. In exchange for the All-Star slugger and Gold Glove Award winner, the team handed over four prospects, and three of them included top prospects—first baseman Anthony Rizzo, 2008 first-round draft pick and right-handed pitcher Casey Kelly and 2009 first-round draft pick and outfielder Reymond Fuentes.
The Red Sox should perform a similar trade and, once again, give up some of their best prospects, in exchange for one of the best, young outfielders in all of Major League Baseball.
That is, Giancarlo Stanton.
In 2012, the young phenom hit .290 and slugged an incredible .608 with 30 doubles, 37 homers and 86 RBI over just 123 games. On top of that, the 2012 All-Star and Home Run Derby contestant posted a .969 OPS, which ranked third in the MLB for players with at least 500 plate appearances.
Last May, Stanton earned his first Player of the Month honors, hitting .343 and slugging .769 with 10 doubles, 12 HRs, 30 RBI and a .432 OBP. On top of that, in August and September combined, he hit .301 with 10 doubles, 17 homers and 35 runs batted in over 40 games.
Stanton’s numbers are incredible for a player who just turned 23 years old this offseason, and he has only played three MLB seasons.
In his first three impressive seasons in the big leagues, Stanton has a career .270 AVG, .350 OBP and .553 SLG with 81 doubles, 93 homers and 232 RBI.
However, in 45 career games against American League teams, Stanton is batting just .220 with 19 runs, 10 total extra base hits, four HRs and 19 RBI over 168 at-bats.
The Marlins outfielder, formerly known as “Mike,” entered the majors in 2010 at just 20 years old and he was an immediate impact. He went 3-for-5 in his first game, and at the end of the season the rookie hit .259 and slugged .507 with 21 doubles, 22 HRs and 59 RBI in just 100 games.
The six-foot-five, 233-pound outfielder also crushes the ball harder and further than almost every hitter in the entire league.
His home runs averaged a distance of 399.6 feet during his rookie season, according to ESPN Home Run Tracker. In 2011, his average home run distance was 416.6 feet and in 2012 his average long-ball distance was 413 feet.
Almost 80-percent (79.6) of his career home runs are to the left half of the field, so the 2012 All-Star would feast off having the Green Monster in left field.
One of Stanton’s jaw-dropping home runs last year went viral. His grand slam off Jamie Moyer on May 21, 2012 traveled 462 feet with an off-bat speed of 122.4 MPH, which is “the fastest tracked in the history of ESPN Home Run Tracker,” according to Buster Olney.
The ball was hit so hard, that it blacked out a section of the scoreboard, which hangs behind the left field bleachers.
On top of that blast, on August 17, the Marlins outfielder hit a 494-foot bomb, which is the longest home run in the MLB since 2009.
So, why would the Marlins give up their best player and rising superstar?
Well, this offseason they already dumped some of their team’s best players, sending Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck to the Blue Jays. In return, the Marlins received three of the Blue Jays’ top 10 prospects.
After the shocking trade, Stanton publicly displayed his emotions and tweeted, “Alright, I’m pissed off!!! Plain & Simple.”
Red Sox officials certainly saw or heard about the tweet, noticed the Marlins dumping several key players and have already inquired about Stanton, according to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe.
The Marlins have already thrown away their 2013 season before it even started, so they have nothing to lose in the following year by trading away Stanton.
However, Stanton is a very, very special player, and Pete Abraham, also from The Boston Globe, tweeted on Tuesday that the “Marlins say they aren’t trading Stanton.”
But if the right pieces were on the table, how could the Marlins resist?
If a trade were to happen, the Marlins would receive both MLB-ready players to fill its current roster and more elite prospects to add to its deep farm system, in exchange for Stanton.
The 23-year-old made just $480,000 in 2012 and the Red Sox could re-structure a much more expensive and long-term contract for the outfielder right away, if they can bring him over.
The Red Sox could give the Marlin a similar contract to Carlos Gonzalez’s. After Gonzalez’s third season, the Rockies outfielder signed a seven-year, $80 million contract before the 2011 season at just 25 years old, according to The Denver Post.
Unlike the Marlins, the Red Sox are still willing to use its hefty salary cap and empty their deep pockets for an elite player. Instead of losing their prized player to free agency down the road, the Marlins should trade Stanton now, while his stock is incredibly high, and develop several more top prospects for the future.
The Red Sox have the farm system to acquire the Marlins’ prized player.
Boston will likely have to give up at least two of their top five prospects, which includes shortstop Xander Bogaerts, outfielder Jackie Bradley, pitcher Matt Barnes, pitcher Allen Webster, who was acquired in the recent blockbuster trade with the Dodgers, and southpaw Henry Owens.
The Red Sox also have three shortstops in their top ten prospects, according to Baseball America, which includes No. 1 prospect Bogaerts, current shortstop Jose Iglesias and 2012 first-round pick Deven Marrero. The Marlins would benefit from one of those three, because the team recently traded away their shortstop of the future, Jose Reyes.
Given the possible departure of Jacoby Ellsbury and questions at the corner outfield position, the Red Sox need Stanton and have the loaded farm system to acquire him.
Both sides can win on this trade.
As fellow writer, Jonathan Cullen wrote earlier about acquiring Stanton, it's "time to be bold."
After a catastrophic 69-win season, the Red Sox need to win now, and Stanton would be a major addition to the team in 2013 and beyond. He’s also a much cheaper and better long-term option than highly-touted, free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton.
And the Marlins will likely be at the bottom of the NL East for the next few years. However, after acquiring top prospects from the Blue Jays and potentially acquiring additional top prospects from the Red Sox, the team could dominate as soon as 2015.
For the Boston Red Sox, Giancarlo Stanton is worth giving up the farm for to win now and preserve one of the best, young outfielders in the league.
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