The Red Sox have made a few big moves over the past month in hopes of improving their club for the 2015 season.
But is there an even bigger one in store?
You can't rule it out, and a perfect storm of Sox prospects and talent combined with a certain MVP candidate in Florida playing for the most dishonest owner in sports could make it happen.
Giancarlo Stanton will not be signing a contract with the Miami Marlins. Sorry, Marlins fans - the few of you left, anyways. Why would he? He's had a front row seat at watching how the organization is run, and he'd be a fool to trust anything Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said to him about the team's future.
And Stanton isn't exactly thrilled with where his team has been and currently is, despite a .500 record right now. He's not Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky in Florida.
Here's Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown on Stanton after Monday's game:
The question was whether the events of this season had altered his top-down view of the organization. He'd raised his eyes, thinking.
"Five months," he said, "doesn't change five years."
Sounds like a frustrated player to me. And who can blame him?
Honesty aside, Loria won't shell out nearly enough money that it will take to keep Stanton. The Marlins' current team payroll is just $46 million. Think about the biggest contracts handed out over the past couple seasons - Stanton will get that, or more. Easily mid-$20 millions per year. And that's a fair price for the 24-year-old outfielder who is hitting .299 (.407 OBP) with 33 home runs and 97 RBI. Power comes at a premium these days.
That's not Loria money. But it is John Henry money. Yes, Sox ownership has changed philosophies when it comes to handing out massive contracts, but there are exceptions to every rule. It's quite obvious that Stanton is an exception - and Sox ownership would not stop GM Ben Cherington from trading for Stanton and offering him the next big contract in Major League Baseball.
But do the Sox have the pieces? That's the big question. We already know that Loria will want inexpensive talent back. The Sox have plenty of prospects to offer in that case.
Xander Bogaerts and Henry Owens remain at the top, but are the Sox willing to part ways with them? You'd have to think those are the two closest to untouchable in the organization.
Mookie Betts has become very expendable with the addition of Rusney Castillo, and would almost certainly go in a package to Miami. Christian Vazquez has excelled behind the plate since being called up earlier this season. Blake Swihart (catcher) and Garin Cecchini (third base) are also two prospects the Sox are high on and have been able to hold on to up to this point. Infielder Deven Merrero is a little further away, while Jackie Bradley Jr. obviously hurt his stock this season.
For pitchers, Anthony Ranaudo is a power right-hander that has torn up Triple-A Pawtucket this season and was actually named International League Most Valuable Pitcher on Tuesday. He's made two starts this season for the Red Sox, won both, and appears ready to make the jump for good next season. Matt Barnes, Brandon Workman, Allen Webster, and Rubby De La Rosa are also valuable young arms.
Boston has way too many outfielders, and if they are to bring on Stanton, that'll be yet another. It's not out of the realm of possibility for the Sox to include Yoenis Cespedes in a deal to Miami, as the Cuban-born player would be a fan favorite there.
But the Sox won't be the only team in on Stanton. The usual suspects with big pockets will also line up. But do they have the pieces necessary for a trade?
I've got my eyes on Theo Epstein and the Cubs. Chicago is loaded with prospects, and, if the Cubs are willing to unload them, will put a better package together for Stanton than any other team. Third baseman Kris Bryant is considered the best prospect in baseball, and would be in the majors today if not for the Cubs wanting to avoid an arbitration-eligible year. He's got a minor-league leading 41 home runs this season between Double-A and Triple-A. He might be untouchable, though.
Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler was just called up on Tuesday. Soler is hitting .338 this season with across Triple-A, Double-A and the rookie league. But Soler was signed for nine years and $30 million in 2012, so trading him appears less likely. Infielder Javier Baez was called up on Aug 5 and already has seven home runs for the Cubs. He could be a big part in a deal to Miami.
Right-hander C.J. Edwards had an injury-plagued season but remains a top prospect in the game. Outfielder Albert Almora and right-hander Pierce Johnson are also highly-coveted prospects. The list of prospects goes on for the Cubs . . .
But the Red Sox have positioned themselves to to make a competitive offer for one of the game's best players if and when he becomes available, and you can't ask much more than that right now.