The Boston Red Sox don’t appear to be a front-runner in the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes.
While that might be a bummer for fans hoping Boston would land the big fish from the Miami Marlins, it’s not like there aren’t other options to fill a perceived power void in the middle of the lineup.
We’ve already mentioned this offseason free agent first baseman Carlos Santana is a potentially intriguing option, but if Boston instead opts to make a trade, Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu checks a lot of boxes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the White Sox are in “active talks” with the Red Sox and other clubs centering around the 30-year-old first baseman.
Abreu doesn’t have the same mainstream appeal carried by Stanton, but he’s been a remarkably effective player since his debut. The first baseman won the 2014 American League Rookie of the Year after hitting 36 home runs with 107 RBIs and a league-leading .581 slugging percentage. He’s been remarkably consistent ever since, hitting at least 25 home runs in each of the last three seasons and eclipsing the 100-RBI mark in each campaign.
The Cuba native also comes with a little more financial flexibility. He’s arbitration-eligible for the next two seasons. Abreu and the White Sox avoided arbitration last winter when they came to terms on a $10.825 million deal for 2016, and MLB Trade Rumors predicts a modest raise in the $18 million neighborhood for 2018. Stanton, meanwhile, is about to begin a 10-year contract extension in which he’ll make at least $25 million per season through 2027.
The White Sox, in the midst of an ongoing rebuild, are unlikely to seek the same haul the Marlins covet for Stanton. But make no mistake: acquiring Abreu wouldn’t necessarily be easy. He’s proved to be one of the more consistent power bats in baseball, and he’s also been a very durable player, appearing in at least 145 games in each of his four seasons. Stanton reached the 145-game mark just twice in his last six seasons.
The Red Sox and White Sox aren’t strangers to dealing, either. The two clubs pulled off the blockbuster of the hot stove season last year when Chicago sent ace pitcher Chris Sale to Boston in exchange for a package of prospects, including No. 1 prospect Yoan Moncada.