Ben Cherington has taken the first step towards contention.
The Boston Red Sox made several free-agent signings so far this offseason. The moves have transformed the team from losers to borderline contenders in 2013.
However, if Ben Cherington truly wants to get back to playing in October, he will have to make at least one significant trade.
The Red Sox still have holes to fill for both the short and long term.
Fortunately, the farm system seems to be somewhat stocked with talent that is close to major league ready.
This talent allows them to make trades for impact players.
Here are three trades that will help the Red Sox get back to playing October baseball in 2013 and for years to come.
Giancarlo Stanton is a franchise building block.
I know this is a virtual impossibility, but if the Red Sox don’t at least make a serious attempt to trade for Giancarlo Stanton, they aren’t doing their job.
A trade would almost certainly require the Red Sox to trade multiple top prospects. According to Gordon Edes, “The price would be extremely high: three top prospects.”
However, considering Stanton is a young, proven power hitter in the post-steroids era, such a trade would be worth the large price.
The Red Sox will certainly have to include Xander Bogaerts, Matt Barnes and two other top prospects.
This trade would make even more sense for the Red Sox if they were able to add Bryce Brentz instead of Jackie Bradley Jr. However, that may be a significant sticking point for the Marlins.
Prospects are not a sure thing, and though I am a big proponent of building from within, trading for the 23-year-old Stanton, who hit 37 home runs in just 123 games in 2012, would be the exception to the rule.
Acquiring Stanton, one of the game's most potent power hitters, would make it much easier for the Red Sox to start Jose Iglesias at shortstop.
Justin Upton would be a perfect fit in right field.
Justin Upton is another young slugger available if the price is right.
The 24-year-old right fielder is coming off a down year, but he has proven he can hit with little protection around him.
After the Diamondbacks signed Cody Ross to a three-year deal, their outfield immediately became crowded.
According to Fox Sports, Upton is back on the market and would come at a lower cost than Stanton.
Upton doesn’t have the same immense power that Stanton possesses, but he is a much better defender and is a threat on the base paths.
Like Stanton, Upton represents the type of player the Red Sox should consider trading for. He is young, proven and is signed to a reasonable contract for the next three seasons.
Ike Davis would give the Red Sox a legitimate first baseman.
The Mets are building for the future while trying to appease fans. Trading Ike Davis for multiple pieces may upset the fanbase, but it would help the club in the long term.
Davis is a power-hitting first baseman who would fill a major hole for the Red Sox.
Even though the team is still working on signing Mike Napoli, Davis would provide a legitimate long-term solution who is better defensively and has yet to peak.
Depending on the asking price, this deal would make sense for the Red Sox. However, if the Mets want a huge haul, the Red Sox should walk away.