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Will recent Red Sox-Marlins rift cause an issue in any possible Stanton deal?

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  March 10, 2014 03:08 PM

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This isn’t how things are done, is it?

At least, this isn’t how things are done any longer, right?

Oh, maybe it’s a bit more difficult to drool over landing a superstar than it might be if the Boston Red Sox hadn’t proven in 2013 that it’s just as manageable to win a World Series with a core of holdovers along with the addition of periphery importance, luck, and a city-wide mantra of redemption. After all, in a situation a bit more dire than the current one, we already went through this with Adrian Gonzalez, a player that former general manager Theo Epstein coveted as if he were his Holy Grail, and a character who ended up fit for Boston about as well as a city street grid map.

But there’s always seemingly, perennially that guy on the Red Sox’ rumored radar, or perhaps you don’t recall how “close” Boston was to landing Tom Glavine in the years leading up to the Hall of Famer’s 1991 breakout season. From Glavine to Willie McGee to Pedro Martinez to Gonzalez to Giancarlo Stanton, much of the time there is fire to the smoldering. So, what are we supposed to think about the long-range possibility of Stanton to the Red Sox?

More specifically, what should we expect in the wake of last week’s tit-for-tat between the Marlins and the Red Sox?

Look, Stanton won’t be starting in place of Shane Victorino in right field come next month. We’re only in the infancy stages of whether or not the Whole Foods Red Sox can pry the slugger from the Price-Rite Marlins, even if the thought process has existed in the minds of Red Sox fans for the better part of two or three years. After all, this is your lot when you’re a Marlin, the modern-day equivalent of an Expo, biding your time until some other team can afford you.

Welcome to the big leagues. Your franchise sucks.

So, not every player can grow up in a contender’s farm system. That’s part of the reason they’re there in the first place, drafted as a high level in the hopes of turnaround. If you’re drafted by one of the Florida teams, however, it’s more along the dreams of relocation, retraction, or trade. Like, sorry dude. Give us five years.

So, hello, Giancarlo.

Now, before you start fantasizing about the 24-year-old outfielder, who already has 117 home runs over his first four years in the big leagues, and before you start moaning in delight over the premise of the right-hander making an 81-game attack on the left field wall, and certainly before you start bidding adieu to the likes of Allen Webster, Will Middlebrooks, and Jorge De La Rosa, perhaps let’s take last week into account?

It’s no secret that some bad blood was erected as a result of the Red Sox bringing only Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Ryan Lavarnway as representatives of their offensive lineup for a spring training tilt in Jupiter, Fla., which really steamed Marlins personnel, since the team had significantly raised ticket prices with the World Series champions in town. An unnamed Marlins front office representative called it a “disgrace,” while Red Sox principal owner John Henry (who, yes, owns this website, newspaper, and its unpredictable cafeteria, among other less exciting ventures), responded to the claims two days later on Twitter, by posting:

Based the timing of the tweet, all that was missing was “Yeah, well, the jerk store called….”

Henry and Marlins owner Jeff Loria have a relationship, of course, as the former sold the Marlins franchise to the latter in 2002 before placing a successful bid on the Red Sox. The teams made a significant swap in 2006 that brought Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston in exchange for shortstop Hanley Ramirez. And since then….well, we’ve just kind of collectively laughed at them. This isn’t like there’s the Dan Duquette-Montreal pipeline that helped bring Martinez to Boston. It’s more like the Red Sox are one of many salmon swimming against the tide in making the Marlins make a decision.

Whether or not the latest episode of feigned outrage will help, well, who knows. But let’s just say we can imagine that Larry Lucchino and Ben Cherington probably cringed when they saw Henry’s comeback tweet on Saturday.

Then again, Stanton isn’t eligible for arbitration until next year; free agency until 2017. The Marlins have three more years to milk out of the budding superstar while hanging up the phone. Three more years to wonder if they should have bitten on a Webster-Middlebrooks-De La Rosa package way back in 2014.

Is that even enough?

Who knows. The Padres are still waiting on Casey Kelly, and the Sox are still waiting on Webster-De La Rosa.

Isn’t it more tantalizing to wait on pitching?

Offense can be bought. So can hurlers, of course, but the success rate is at a much lower rate. Keep the kids. Screw the Marlins.

Until, you know, the price comes down for Stanton. Then, sell the farm.

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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