The Boston Red Sox should not trade for Giancarlo Stanton. Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy. Stanton is a pleasure to watch. He hits the ball harder than anyone I have seen. I’ve sent many videos of his home runs to my brothers over the years. With all the following aspects considered however, the Red Sox have better options available to them.
The Sox would owe Stanton fat stacks. Yes, Stanton is an all-world talent and worth a lot of money. Yes, he is still only 27 years old. But other options can be had much cheaper that aren’t much worse at the plate. Giancarlo Stanton will get $285M over the next 10 seasons. He then has a team option in 2028 for $25M. If one assumed that wouldn’t be picked up, the team would still owe him $10M as a buyout of his contract. Bare minimum. For the $295M owed to Stanton, JD Martinez could be had for half of that, maybe even less than half. Is Stanton really worth that much more than Martinez? That answer is no.
The Cost of Trade
If you do believe Stanton is worth all that much money, how about the trade aspect? JD Martinez is a free agent. No players would have to be given up to acquire him. Stanton would cost players, and good ones at that, in addition to the near $300M. How could someone justify spending $150-$175M more and good players on top of it for Stanton as opposed to Martinez? Who would it take to acquire Stanton? A centerpiece of Jackie Bradley Jr. or Xander Bogaerts along with a couple prospects? Or maybe all of them. In theory Stanton would be worth such a package, but considering all angles that’s not the case.
Stanton is actually a better defender than Martinez. He is surprisingly solid for someone his size, but unless we move Bradley neither of these guys would be acquired to play the field. If they are designated hitters, defense is a moot point. So let’s just focus on the offense.
JD Martinez had his breakout four seasons ago. Over that four-year span, how much better has Stanton been than Martinez? In the last four years Giancarlo Stanton has batted .271 with a .939 OPS. JD Martinez in those same four years has hit for a .300 average with a .936 OPS. Martinez hits for a much higher average, but Stanton walks a lot more so their on base percentages are very similar — .366 for Stanton to .362 for Martinez. That actually leaves Martinez with the very slight edge in slugging, .574 to .573. Surprise!
When it comes to home runs, Giancarlo Stanton has averaged 38 home runs over those four seasons. That number jumps to 49 per 162 games due to injuries. Martinez lags behind, but not so far behind that Stanton becomes worth that much more than him. Martinez has averaged 32 home runs per year, or 40 home runs per 162 games played. The reason his slugging is higher is he gets more hits and a lot more doubles. Their triple slash lines are nearly identical.
Giancarlo Stanton vs JD Martinez
I’m not saying Martinez is better than Stanton, though the numbers show the difference might not be so large. All I’m saying is, there isn’t even close to a $150M gap between them, let alone some good players on top of it.
Why not add them both?
Hey, I’d be all for adding them both. If the Sox were to sign JD Martinez and then trade, say, Jackie Bradley Jr. and a prospect or two for Stanton they could slide Betts to center, put Stanton in right and DH Martinez. That is one heck of a lineup. How do you pay both of them though? The Red Sox would soar well past the luxury tax and be stuck above it for years to come. With Chris Sale, Mookie Betts and others needing to be paid in a couple years the payroll is going to rise, not decrease.
And if we miss on JD Martinez?
If we were to whiff on JD Martinez, then I would more seriously explore trading for Stanton. There is no other bat available that can compare. Eric Hosmer is available and has a solid bat, but he is no true power threat like the Red Sox need. They need a thumper, someone opposing pitchers should fear. Hosmer is an up and down offensive player with 20-25 home run power. There are also rumors he is looking for 200 million dollars which borderlines on the absurd.
I would definitely pay Stanton his contract and give up something to get him before entertaining that. Just no trading Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi or Rafael Devers. If we were to acquire him without giving up any of them would I be upset? Probably not. Like I said, I love Stanton, he is one of my favorite players. The Red Sox just better let us in to watch our home team take batting practice.