Brace yourselves, Red Sox fans, because I'm about to deliver some world-shattering news. The sort of thing you never would have possibly imagined in your wildest dreams:
The Red Sox want to trade for Giancarlo Stanton.
Shocking, I know! It's not as if they've been linked to him for years, or that they should really just be assumed to be in on any young star playing on a lower-budget team that will eventually lose that player to free agency. This is brand new information!
Okay, so maybe not. We all know the Red Sox want Giancarlo Stanton. We all know they'll be trying to find some way to pry him away from the Marlins (and have been) much like they tried to get Felix Hernandez from Seattle and eventually did get Adrian Gonzalez from the Padres. It's become such a cliched and tired topic of conversation that at least one reader will likely call for me to be banned in the comments just for bringing it up.
So why am I bringing it up? Because in the two weeks since the Red Sox traded for Yoenis Cespedes, there's been a new, even more aggravating twist on things. I believe it all began with Eric Wilbur back on deadline day, and has been popping up elsewhere since: the idea that the Red Sox acquired Cespedes with the intent of flipping him to the Marlins as part of a Stanton deal.
No offense to anyone involved, but this is kinda the textbook example of not seeing both sides of a trade. Of course the Red Sox would flip Yoenis Cespedes--along with a number of prospects, presumably--for Giancarlo Stanton. Cespedes is good, but Stanton is great. It would be quite the upgrade.
Now why would the Marlins do it?
If Miami's plan is to compete in 2015, then they're going to want Giancarlo Stanton there to do it. No package the Red Sox are willing to offer will provide them with the same major league punch Stanton brings to the table, at least not right away. Any deal that sends Stanton elsewhere will presumably be made with an eye towards competing somewhere further down the line.
If Miami's plan is to compete sometime after 2015, then why do they want Yoenis Cespedes? In case you've forgotten, Cespedes will hit free agency in 2016, and while he won't draw the same massive offers as Stanton, he's still going to cost more than the infamously stingy Marlins are willing to part with, particularly for a player who, while good, is not a franchise-changing talent. They wouldn't even be able to make a qualifying offer to recoup a draft pick. In the end, all Cespedes would do is cost them money in a season they don't intend to compete in, and lower the prospect return from the Red Sox.
This very much reminds me of all the clamoring for a trade where the Red Sox would take on Matt Kemp's contract if the Dodgers were willing to part with Joc Pederson. Sure, you might be able to do some calculations and show that taking on said albatross deal is a negative equal in size to the positive that is Pederson, but throwing valuations like that at the situation completely missed the reason the Dodgers were trying to deal Kemp in the first place: to remove the older roadblock and give Pederson a place to play in Los Angeles! Trading him with Kemp would completely defeat the purpose.
The same is true for the Marlins, Cespedes, and Stanton. Perhaps the Marlins would like Cespedes. They certainly seemed interested in him back when he was first making the move to the United States, and he would be a helpful addition to a team focused on competing now. But the entire purpose of getting Cespedes would be to put him alongside Stanton in the outfield and go chase down a title while the window is still open.
Teams like Miami, outclassed as they are financially, have to have a laser-like focus on their few opportunities to compete. That means going all-in when the window is open, building a couple 97-win teams rather than trying to spread the quality out and just wind up with a bunch of seasons with 78-84 wins and nothing to show for it. A trade that brings back Cespedes and a prospect haul for Stanton might seem like a middle ground between competing now while still considering the future, but really all it does is hurt their chances to actually win a world series whether it be now, or the future.