All of the talk this week has been about the future of Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton. Reports have come out that Miami will look to build around Stanton even without a contract extension, while other reports say that the Boston Red Sox are very interested in adding him to their team this winter.
It was also mentioned recently that if Miami did end up deciding to move him, they would prefer to take back mostly major league ready talent in a trade rather than all prospects. For the record, I believe Stanton will spend at least one more full season with the Marlins before they even entertain the idea of trying to trade him.
However, that has not stopped me from speculating what a trade involving Miami and Boston would like look like. If there is one thing I love more than prospects, it is hypothetical trades. Last month I wrote a piece regarding several teams and what they could offer Miami for Stanton's services. In that post the package I had Boston shipping to Miami was focused on almost entirely prospects, but reports suggesting Miami would be after major league talent make a prospects package unrealistic.
In this scenario, I have predicted Miami would send Giancarlo Stanton and Adeiny Hechavarria to Boston for Allen Craig, Xander Boagerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, and Garin Cecchini. It would be a blockbuster deal, and one that benefits both teams in the short and long term. For Miami, let's break it down player by player.
Allen Craig: Allen Craig is coming off an injury filled season, but he is not far removed from back to back seasons where he put up 2.7 and 2.5 WARs. He is not much of a defender at any position, but when he's healthy he can hit. In those seasons, he also had a WRC+ of 138 and then 134 in 2013. In Boston and St. Louis he was asked to play in the outfield, but in Miami he could move full time to first base, replacing Garrett Jones. If he fails to stay healthy then obviously he would not be much use to the Marlins in this trade scenario, but he is the kind of major league ready player they would be after.
Xander Boagerts: Boagerts was viewed as untouchable by Boston going into the season, but a struggle of a rookie year may have some concerned in Red Sox Nation. This season Boagerts has hit a disappointing .233/.297/.350 with a wOBA of .289. While he has not lived up to expectations, he is still a very talented player and is only 21 years old. He would give Miami a shortstop who should be able to hit for average and power while giving you league average defense at premium position. If Boston is willing to part with Boagerts you take him and run.
Jackie Bradley Jr.: This leads us to yet another young player who has been struggling for Boston early in his career. Bradley Jr. has hit a .213/.286/.290 in 375 plate appearances this season, which quite frankly is troublesome. On the bright side, he has a good patient plate approach and plays outstanding defense in centerfield. Adding Bradley Jr. to the outfield mix with Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna would give Miami arguably the best outfield defense in all of baseball. All three guys have tremendous range, and Bradley Jr., and Ozuna have cannons for right arms. That would be fun to watch.
Mookie Betts: Last season Mookie Betts began his ascent up prospect rankings boards with a breakout season on offense or defense. Betts is naturally a shortstop who found professional success when he was moved to second base. This season Betts is hitting .348/.434/.532 combined between Double-A and Triple-A, and has also gotten 41 at-bats at the big league level where he hit .244/.279/.366. Boston is attempting to transition him to the outfield because second base is currently manned by some guy named Dustin Pedroia, but Betts is significantly better at second base. He could potentially be a gold glove caliber defensive player at second who regularly hits .300. Miami could definitely use help at second base, so Betts would be a perfect fit. He is only 21 years old, but he should be ready to step into starting role in 2015.
Garin Cecchini: Cecchini is older than both Boagerts and Betts, but he is not as far along in the developmental process. He has spent most of 2014 in Triple-A where he has hit .250/.323/.348 in 356 at-bats. He also has played one game in the majors this season where he recorded one hit. Cecchini is a third basemen who is mediocre defensively but he should hit for average. He most likely will spend the beginning of next season in Triple-A, but he could be ready to contribute by midseason or 2016.
There you have it. This is all pure speculation on my part, but this seems to me the most fair deal Boston could offer for Giancarlo Stanton. This may seem like a whopping package, but Stanton is a rare talent that you should only trade at the right price. All this speculation will likely be for nothing, as it seems as if Miami will try to hold onto to Stanton for the time being. For now that is the right move. With a solid young core and an improved rotation, 2015 could be the year the Marlins get back into the playoffs for the first time since the World Series run in 2003.