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The Marlins continue to insist that star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton isn't going anywhere this offseason. But after last year's trade that sent three of the team's best players, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, to Toronto for a package of young players, and put Stanton in a foul mood, wouldn't it be a good idea to squash any rumors right away?
If they were open to trading him, which they probably are, how content would Stanton be after hearing his name in trade rumors throughout the offseason only to stay put and have to put a Marlins uniform on in 2014? Not very content. And that's not a good situation for a team to have its best player unhappy.
So any trade talks involving Stanton are likely to be very low key and with as few back-and-forth negotiations as possible. The team that doesn't beat around the bush and comes at Marlins general manager Dan Jennings with a serious offer that knocks him off of his feet is the team that could land the 23-year-old slugger.
The Marlins trade Giancarlo Stanton to the Red Sox for catcher Christian Vazquez, third baseman Will Middlebrooks, center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., right-hander Anthony Ranaudo and right-hander Allen Webster.
How often do you see a five-for-one deal? Almost never. But the Marlins aren't giving up Stanton unless they receive a lot of high-end talent in return. The Sox are one of the few teams that can afford to give up five very talented major league ready, or close to major league ready, players.
Middlebrooks becomes the Marlins starting third baseman right away. If third baseman Colin Moran, the team's first-round draft pick in 2013, moves quickly, Middlebrooks could shift over to first base in a year or two.
In Bradley, they land their leadoff hitter and starting center fielder, which would allow Christian Yelich to move down into the third spot in the lineup.
Vazquez could compete for a spot in 2014, although he's more likely to be in the mix in 2015. Webster and Ranaudo would both compete for rotation spots in 2014.
With the impressive pitching depth the team is building up, the hard-throwing Webster could even end up in a late-inning role down the road.
Ranaudo, a former standout at Louisiana State University, had a breakout season for Boston with a 2.96 ERA, 3.0 BB/9 and 8.2 K/9 between Triple-A and Double-A.
This particular trade would open up a new hole at either third base or shortstop (Xander Bogaerts could fill either spot) for the Sox, in addition to their needs at catcher and possibly first base. They could also bring in another outfielder, possibly even one of the big names on the free-agent market.
They are in good shape-payroll wise so it wouldn't be a stretch to think they could have a Carlos Beltran or Nelson Cruz roaming the outfield alongside Stanton and Shane Victorino in 2013.