The Boston Red Sox almost certainly will be linked to Giancarlo Stanton for as long as the reigning National League MVP remains with the Miami Marlins and the subject of trade rumors.
But what are the chances the Red Sox actually make a move for Stanton, who’s coming off a sensational season with Miami and would give Boston the middle-of-the-order presence it so desperately lacked in 2017 without David Ortiz?
Well, it probably depends on who you ask, because there were several conflicting reports floating around as of Wednesday afternoon. Let’s go over them.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletics reported Tuesday, citing sources, the Red Sox are believed to be one of three clubs engaged in trade talks with the Marlins about Stanton. The San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals reportedly are the others, although three additional unidentified clubs are on the periphery and capable of entering the mix, per Rosenthal.
That’s obviously enough to make Red Sox fans drool. But folks in Beantown shouldn’t get too excited — not yet, at least — because a few local reporters threw cold water on the Stanton-to-Boston trade chatter.
According to NBC Sports Boston’s Evan Drellich, one baseball source with knowledge of the Red Sox’s thinking on Tuesday called them “an extreme long shot” for Stanton. The reasons, per Drellich: asking price, uncertainty about whether Stanton would accept a trade to the Red Sox and wonder about whether the slugger really would want to play in Boston.
The Red Sox also have concerns about Stanton’s durability, according to Drellich. The 28-year-old played in 159 games in 2017, but he’s dealt with injuries in the past. Stanton played in 123 games in 2012, 116 in 2013, 74 in 2015 and 119 in 2016.
Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal reported Tuesday, citing a major league source, that Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and Marlins president of baseball operations Mike Hill recently spoke at the Major League Baseball General Manager Meetings but haven’t discussed a potential Stanton trade since.
ESPN.com’s Scott Lauber dropped this little nugget, suggesting Stanton, a California native, would prefer to play close to home rather than leave Miami for Boston:
Stanton has a full no-trade clause, which means he, in many ways, controls his own destiny. However, the Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer reported Tuesday, citing two sources with knowledge of discussions, that the Marlins informed Stanton in October that if he refused to waive his no-trade rights and accept a trade, he would remain with the organization and team officials would look to trade away other top players to reduce payroll. According to Spencer, this wasn’t presented to Stanton as an ultimatum, but it shows the Marlins do have some leverage in their attempt to trade the four-time All-Star for the best possible package.
All told, it’s unclear what exactly the Marlins are looking for in a trade for Stanton. But the widespread belief is that Miami wants both a haul of prospects and for the team acquiring Stanton to take on most, if not all, of the money owed to him. Stanton is owed $295 million over the next 10 years, although he can opt out of his contract and become a free agent after the 2020 season if he chooses.
Right now, it’s anyone’s guess as to where Stanton will be playing when the 2018 season opens. The reigning MLB home run king — Stanton launched 59 home runs in addition to totaling 132 RBIs and posting a .281/.376/.631 slash line in 2017 — is an absolute beast, though, making this offseason one that could change the entire baseball landscape.