I get the Giancarlo Stanton-to-Boston hype. He’s coming off an MVP, 59-homer season and was the most exciting player not named Aaron Judge in 2017. Who wouldn’t want a guy like that?
That’s especially the case for the Red Sox, who desperately need power in the middle of a lineup that produced only 168 total home runs in 2017 (27th in MLB). So it’s simple, right? Stanton’s on the trading block, so go get him! He’s a star!
If only it were that easy.
Any time a player like Stanton becomes available, you have to at least inquire about it, and that’s exactly what the Red Sox have done. They’re one of the teams said to be “engaged” in trade talks for the Miami slugger, along with the Dodgers (reportedly Stanton’s preferred destination), Cardinals, and Giants. But he’s an “extreme long shot” to go to Boston.
Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston explained why, and the reasons should be obvious to anyone who’s been paying any sort of attention:
The Marlins are said to want both a haul of prospects and for the team acquiring Stanton to take on the money owed to him (or at least, the vast majority of it).
The Fish would have to come down on that price — by accepting less talent, eating money or doing both — for a deal to make sense to the Sox. For now, there are more cost-effective options available to the Sox as they pursue power hitting.
The Sox have concerns about the durability of Stanton, 28, and there remains uncertainty about whether he would approve a trade to Boston. Even at that point, there’s a wonder about whether he would really want to be in Boston.
So there’s that. The hefty asking price, Stanton’s durability, and whether he even wants to go to Boston are all roadblocks when it comes to acquiring him.
On the bright side, the Red Sox have other viable options to explore. One of them being star White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu.
chisox have been in active talks with red sox and others on star 1B jose abreu. boston was 1 of 4 finalists for abreu when he signed with chicago (milwaukee & houston were the others).
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 29, 2017
Stanton is the superior player. No one is doubting that. But if you think Abreu is anything other than a stud, you’re sadly mistaken.
Abreu makes more sense for the Red Sox than Stanton for plenty of reasons, the primary ones being…
1. He’s cheaper. Much cheaper.
That’s the most obvious reason of all. Stanton costs multiple prized players and nearly $300 million to boot. While the White Sox’s asking price for Abreu isn’t clear, you can bet it’s far less than what the Marlins want for Stanton. Plus, Abreu’s contract won’t break the bank… not that the Red Sox are worried about money, but it’s a significant discount.
2. He fills a void at first base.
Plain and simple. Trading Abreu gives the Red Sox the power they need in the middle of the lineup while also erasing the major question mark that exists at first base.
3. You can still afford to add an impactful free agent.
Abreu’s affordability means there’s room to pursue another big bat like J.D. Martinez. You cannot convince me that Boston’s lineup would be better off with Stanton than it would with both Abreu and Martinez, especially given what they’d be forced to give up for Stanton.
Of course, the Red Sox going out in free agency and adding another stud like Martinez is a big “if”, but at least the possibility is still there.
Try to forget about Stanton in a Red Sox uniform. I say that not to be a party pooper, but because the odds of him calling Fenway Park home are pretty slim, and you should be glad someone of Abreu’s caliber has become a realistic and more sensible alternative.