After years of having Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, the Red Sox organization has left those holes unfilled. Time for that to change.
The Boston Red Sox are heading into the off-season with a new Head Coach in Alex Cora. That is one of the key moves that were needed after this season. Even after winning the AL East, it was clear that John Farrell’s time was up in Boston. As I just said, it was one of the moves needed. The other, is a pretty clear decision of what’s needed; a heavy hitter. The Red Sox need someone who can put the ball over the fence 30 times or more in a season. Consistently. The Red Sox had four players with over 200 at bats that had less than 10 home runs. Only seven players had 10 or more long balls.
In 2004, the year the Red Sox broke the curse and won the World Series, only seven players had more than 10 home runs, but there were two players with over 40. Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz consistently had 30 plus home run seasons. Half of Big Papi’s career he had more than 30 a season. Manny had 30 plus for 12 out of the 19 seasons he played.
This year, Mookie Betts hit 24, Hanley hit 23, Moreland 22 and Andrew Benintendi hit 20. Those were the only players to hit 20 or more home runs. They are missing a guy who hits 35-45 home runs in a season. More than likely they will be losing Moreland after this season. That removes 22 out of the 168 the team had as a total. They were ranked 27th in the league for home runs as a team. There is a solution though. It is expensive contractually, and what the Sox would give up, but it is possible. His name is Giancarlo Stanton.
This season, Stanton hit 59 home runs, two shy of Roger Maris’ 61 in 1961. That is the first player on the list who wasn’t caught with HGH or anabolic steroids. McGwire, Sosa and Bonds are all up there beforehand but everyone knows those are tainted records. Stanton tied Babe Ruth’s 1921 59 home run season.
Besides the home runs, Stanton hit .268, 10 points above the team total. His OBP was .376, almost 50 points above team average. He would’ve finished at the top of the team with that. His .631 SLG would’ve topped the team by almost 200 points over Mookie Betts who had a .459 SLG. Stanton posted a 1.007 OPS while Betts, posted a roster best .803. Clearly, this is the hitter that the Red Sox are looking for.
Derek Jeter has made it known the Marlins are entering a full rebuild. He has also made it known that that process doesn’t need to include Stanton. It seems as though Jeter doesn’t want it to include Stanton. There are two questions swirling around the rumors of Giancarlo Stanton being traded to the Red Sox. Who do the Red Sox give up? The other, how much money does he take up? There are some solutions to these two questions that are rather simple when laid out.
1. Who do they trade?
Well this has to start of looking at the Marlins. They are going into rebuild, which means they do not want older players. Of course you always keep a few to mentor and lead the young bloods, but you do not need new ones. Therefore we have to look at age. Fun fact of the day, the average age of MVPs in baseball is 27. The average age of a Cy Young winner is 26.6. The average age of a Rookie of the Year winner is 23. So the Marlins shouldn’t be looking for anyone over the age of 28 or 29.
Good thing outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is 27. That is the first player on my list of who we put into this trade. He still has the speed, glove and arm in the outfield to be valuable, as he hit .245 this past season. He had only 17 home runs with 63 RBIs. JBJ had a .987 fielding percentage in a league average .986.
So there is the big name in the trade. After that, the Red Sox will need to give up a top prospect then probably two top 20s. If we are locking down the outfield with Stanton, Benintendi and Betts, who are all 27 years-old or younger, then we can dump an outfield prospect like Cole Brannen. The Georgia High outfielder who was drafted in the second round with a $1.3 million bonus signing has great speed. He direct routes in the outfield along with the speed allow him to track down balls hit to the gap. He is also a left-handed swinger adding that commodity to a lineup. He is projected to be a .270 hitter with 15 home runs and 30 steals a season at peak. That is a great player along the likes of Shane Victorino.
Unfortunately, because Derek Jeter is smart and knows how much Stanton is worth, you lose a guy like Jason Groome; the number one Red Sox prospect. Currently 19, he’s pitched 55.1 total innings while collecting 72 strikeouts. His average against is .234. His 6-foot-6 frame allows him to pitch downhill giving a good plane to his pitches. He has clean mechanics providing accuracy in the zone. He has a low-to-mid 90s fastball that peaks at 97mph. That’s not his best weapon. His best weapon is his curveball, which was called by many evaluators the best breaking ball of the 2016 draft.
What prospect reasons Groome? Tanner Houck.
With Devers and Bogaerts on the team, trading out a SS doesn’t seem ridiculous. This is where Venezuelan Danny Diaz comes into play. Ranked 18th in prospects, the Red Sox signed him after losing the international spending restrictions. Alike to Devers, Diaz is graded to have the best combination of hitting ability and power making him a valuable prospect to any team. He uses the entire field when hitting which is seen as a huge plus. His work ethic and physical tools have gotten him praise from scouts. He is 16 standing at 6-foot-1.
What prospects reasons Diaz? Tzu-Wei-Lin.
Lastly, as the Red Sox have a solid rotation in Sale, Price, Porcello, Pomeranz, Fister and a healthy Steven Wright, you trade away a young guy like Eduardo Rodriguez. In 65 MLB starts, Rodriguez is 19-20. He has a career 4.23 ERA with 348/127 strikeouts/walks. He is only 24, with time to get better. Clearly, it doesn’t seem like Boston is where he belongs. Fortunately, different coaches can reach players in different ways unlocking potential that they didn’t previously have.
Rodriguez has also just had a ligament reconstruction in his right knee. The left-hander will be sidelined for “approximately six months,” according to the team. This gives him the chance to recover and rehab correctly to come back stronger.
Those players are my ideal trade for the Red Sox to obtain Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins. If they could get Stanton on that it’d be phenomenal. Do I think that is the realistic trade? No, as in my mind, there isn’t enough value there. The trade I do see happening if the Red Sox pursued him enough would be:
SP- Jason Groome
OF- Cole Brannen
SS- Danny Diaz
2. How much does he cost financially?
Giancarlo Stanton has one of the biggest contracts. What a lot of people don’t know that after 2020, every year of his contract is player optioned. He can choose whether he stays or leaves for another team. If he performs over the next couple of years the way he did this year, it’d be smart for him to option out and make more money elsewhere.
Next season, he will make $25 million. This is the smallest amount on his contract. In 2019 and 2020 he will be at $26 million. This is where the play option kicks in. He can stay on whatever team he is playing for and make $29 million in 2021 and 2022 or look for another club for more. The next three years is where his contract maxes out at #32 million a year.
If you thought that was bad, he has some nice incentives as well. For every Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award he wins, he gets $50 thousand. If he wins an MVP award; $100 thousand. When/if his team makes it to the ALCS/NLCS and he gets the MVP there; $250 thousand. If Stanton were to win a World Series and be awarded the MVP of the series, that would be an extra $500 thousand.
He will cost a lot to any team he goes to. The Boston Red Sox are currently sitting at $187 million in salary. For next season the Sox have an allowance of $197 million. If they go over, they pay a luxury tax on what goes over. Since the Red Sox didn’t go over this past season, they would only pay a 20% tax versus a 30% if they had. So if nothing on the team changes financially with the roster, then they’d pay a $3 million tax for Stanton. Instead of $25 million for the year it’d actually be $28.
The Sox are also known for throwing money away, Sandoval and Castillo are great examples. So in order for the Sox to get Stanton, they’d have to make space financially for him, or just get hit with the $3 million this year and worry about not going over the tax next year.