Don’t book Giancarlo Stanton’s flight to Boston just yet.
While there’s a widespread belief that the Red Sox could become major players for Stanton if the Miami Marlins decide to trade their prized slugger, ESPN’s Buster Olney sees a National League team as the front-runner for the All-Star’s services.
“The team viewed as the favorite absolutely is the Chicago Cubs,” Olney said Wednesday on WEEI’s “Middays with MFB,” “because they are just so loaded with position prospects, and if at any point they stick their elbows out, the Red Sox or any other team are probably going to have a hard time matching what the Cubs could put together for him.”
The Cubs certainly have a surplus of intriguing prospects, including Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Jorge Soler, Javier Baez and Albert Almora. Perhaps Theo Epstein will leverage the enviable position to blow away the Marlins, who have been adamant for quite a while now that they’re looking to build around Stanton rather than trade him.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the Red Sox should be counted out in any potential sweepstakes. They, like the Cubs, have plenty of upper-echelon prospects who could be included in a deal. Plus, Boston has enough major league talent, especially after signing Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, that trading prospects isn’t the scary proposition it might otherwise be.
Olney also touched on Castillo during his WEEI interview. He thinks the Red Sox took a risk by handing Castillo a seven-year, $72.5 million contract given the 27-year-old’s lack of major league experience. But he also believes there’s plenty of reason, namely the recent success of other Cuban defectors, for Boston to make such a sizable investment.
“Some of the teams I spoke with, they view him as a guy who could definitely be an infield option,” Olney said of Castillo. “And as people were talking, what was coming to mind for me was a younger Tony Phillips, if that makes sense — a guy who can move around and play different spots. And it wasn’t like, ‘Yeah, he could play second base and maybe be OK.’ It was like, ‘He could be pretty good in the infield.’ That was the view of some of the other teams.”