Let's be honest. There's no way to know where -- or even if -- Giancarlo Stanton is going to be traded at this point.
Talks aren't expected to get rolling before the upcoming General Managers Meetings. But it is possible to study baseball's historically relevant blockbusters and identify some of the teams that are able to be involved in the process if they decide to dive in.
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Teams that were used to winning but have slipped back could step up, as the Dodgers did when they took on Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett to land Adrian Gonzalez. The Rangers traded for Prince Fielder as a final piece to the puzzle after unsuccessful trips to the World Series in 2010 and '11, a loss in the American League Wild Card Game in '12 and missing the postseason in '13.
Teams with new ownership groups looking to have an impact could get involved. That was true of the Dodgers in the Gonzalez trade and the Matt Kemp acquisition for the Padres.
Teams with the biggest financial resources could be in play, like the Yankees were when the Rangers decided to move Alex Rodriguez.
Stanton's full no-trade clause could turn into an issue, as well as the fact that he can opt out of his deal -- which runs through 2027 and has $295 million left -- after 2020. But it appears the Marlins are ready to rebuild, and signs point to a Stanton trade as a real possibility this offseason.
Here are the teams to watch:
Stanton and the Green Monster seem a good marriage, and the timing for this may be right. Boston was last in the AL in home runs last season and has Chris Sale under control only for two more seasons. With a designated hitter option available, the Red Sox might not be as worried as other teams about the length of the deal. They just watched David Ortiz remain productive through his age-40 season. Finally, the Sox have attractive young outfielders to trade in Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr.
Another team suffering from a lack of power, St. Louis has historically steered away from massive contractual commitments. But the Cards could use some power from right field to challenge the Cubs in the National League Central. They're well under the Competitive Balance Tax threshold of $197 million, so a bold move is at least available to them.
You know they're not planning to spend the next few seasons digging out from under their 98-loss hole. Stanton can make any ballpark, including AT&T, look small. He would be instant offense for a team that has been lacking power. Hunter Pence is signed for only one more year, but left field is open immediately. The Dodgers' success adds urgency to this offseason, so don't count the Giants out. Their farm system isn't as deep as other teams on this list, so they would probably need to get creative to swing a deal.
The Phils seemed to signal they're entering the final stage of their rebuild by opting to kick manager Pete Mackanin upstairs to open up the office for Gabe Kapler. He should give them an A.J. Hinch-type presence in the dugout, but they don't have the Astros' deep lineup. They have young corner outfielders Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr at Citizens Bank Park and top-ranked prospect Mickey Moniak in the pipeline. Trading for Stanton would ease the load on Rhys Hoskins, and the club currently does not have any major long-term contract commitments, which makes Stanton's deal palatable, at least on paper.
They're probably the best suited of all teams to make a deal if the possibility is measured by payroll flexibility (they have virtually no contract commitments beyond 2017) and inventory of young talent. General manager Rick Hahn insists he and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf aren't going to take shortcuts on a rebuild that's off to a running start, but historically this is a franchise that hasn't been afraid to take a risk, especially when nobody saw it coming. The White Sox would match up well with the Marlins for a multiplayer monster of a trade, but they believe they're well on the way to constructing a long-term contender built to last.
Los Angeles may not have been a fit if it had won Game 7, but it could decide to double-down on the quest for a championship by adding Stanton's right-handed bat to the lineup built around left-handed hitters Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger. Clayton Kershaw isn't going to be in his prime forever, after all, and he can actually opt out of his contract next offseason and hit the free-agent market. The Dodgers have Yasiel Puig (free agent after 2019) as a trade piece, a wealth of prospects and and their ownership has shown a willingness to make big deals.