The saying goes ‘death, taxes and the Miami Marlins dealing their young franchise talent before they hit the open market.’ Or something like that.
Over their 21 years of existence, the Marlins have had chances to lock up young stars from Edgar Renteria to A.J. Burnett to Josh Beckett to Miguel Cabrera to Hanley Ramirez. And instead of remaining stars in Miami, they’ve been dealt elsewhere to become All-Stars, MVPs and World Series Champions (yes, the Marlins did win it all in 1997 and 2003) in other cities.
Standing in the on-deck circle in the Miami superstar pipeline is the best power hitter in baseball, Giancarlo Stanton. Just 24 years old with 150 home runs in less than five seasons in the big leagues, Stanton is having his best season yet, hitting .294 with 33 home runs and 97 RBI. He is entering his prime, due to get paid, hitting arbitration after this season. Usually the time where the Marlins cut ties with their stars.
The suitors are lined up ready for the auction to start. They’re ready to give a good sum of value for the young slugger with hopes of setting up their offense for the next decade.
And the bidder with the most chips to give? The Boston Red Sox, who are loaded with options to give to Miami in a trade.
It begins with Yoenis Cespedes, who might be the dark horse trade chip of dark horse trade chips. Acquired from the Oakland Athletics at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, Cespedes is a player Miami has been very high on since he was still in Cuba. The team made a big run at him in 2012 before he signed with Oakland. While he hits free agency after next season, he could be a player and personality the Marlins could market to the heavily Cuban Miami community. And he would come at a lower price than Stanton.
Mookie Betts is the type of player the Marlins covet. A young impact player who the team would have financial control of for a number of years. Betts, whose arbitration clock has yet to begin, has shown a lot in his latest major league stint, which began last Monday. Playing everyday, Betts has been sound defensively in a position he’s never played before a couple of months ago, while showing signs of being a top-of-the-order bat at the plate.
Blake Swihart–the 14th-best prospect in Baseball America’s midseason report–has been compared to Buster Posey as a catcher who can give solid defense while providing a game-changing bat. Christian Vazquez–who has garnered Yadier Molina comparisons–is a backstop the Red Sox are believed to be extremely high on, making Swihart expendable if true.
The Red Sox boast a long line of major-league-caliber arms in Rubby De La Rosa, Brandon Workman, Henry Owens, Brian Johnson, Matt Barnes and Anthony Ranaudo, among others. A couple are believed to be potential top-of-the-rotation starters. All of them appear to be middle-to-back of the rotation guys at the least. Pitchers that can complement a fold that includes Jose Fernandez and Henderson Alvarez.
Boston has several throw-ins that could be formidable third, fourth or fifth pieces of a deal as well, which includes, but isn’t limited to Jackie Bradley Jr., Daniel Nava, Will Middlebrooks and Mike Napoli.
Ben Cherington has the pieces to pull off a deal. It’s up to him to decide whether it’s worth it. Whether it’s worth parting ways with a player like Betts or Swihart, or an arm like Owens or Ranaudo, which will need to be done in order for Stanton to be in a Red Sox uniform. Whether it’s worth giving Stanton a long-term deal in the neighborhood of 8-10 years at an average annual value of $25-30 million.
It’s up to Cherington to decide whether Stanton can deliver the return Beckett and Mike Lowell did when the then-interim Red Sox GM traded Ramirez to Miami for the duo in November 2005. It’s up to Cherington to decide whether Stanton can provide similar return on investment that Manny Ramirez did from 2001-08 after Dan Duquette signed the former slugger to a then-record eight-year, $160 million deal in December 2000.
Trading for Stanton is a feasible proposition for the Red Sox, one that will come with little brushback from fans and media. It’s up to Cherington to pull the trigger.
Pat O’Rourke is a Red Sox writer for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter or join his network on Google.