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Why J.D. Martinez is with Red Sox and Giancarlo Stanton isn't

Rob Bradford
April 02, 2018 - 9:37 pm

MIAMI -- This could have been a homecoming for Giancarlo Stanton, or even Marcell Ozuna. But, instead, it was just another visit to Marlins Park for J.D. Martinez and the Red Sox.

The Sox' visit to play the Marlins was a reminder of who used to play in this stadium, and how they were dangled in front of teams like the Red Sox this past offseason. But even with the talents of Stanton and Ozuna seemingly good fits for any club, Dave Dombrowski felt pretty good about how it worked out.

According to the Red Sox' president of baseball operations, he got his first choice.

"He was the guy that we wanted, first and foremost," Dombrowski told WEEI.com before the series opener when asked about his club's preference when it came to reeling in Martinez.

The Ozuna option never quite fit for the Red Sox, with or without Martinez on the market. Such a deal would take too many prospects from a team still trying to regroup from trading a flurry of high-level minor-leaguers. And this was also a legitimate outfielder, not someone who might play in the field once in a while but man designated hitter more times than not.

Stanton was another story. He represented exactly what the Red Sox needed in terms of prodigious power and nowhere near the defensive acumen of any of the Sox' current outfielders. But he did have that no-trade, which St. Louis and San Francisco both were reminded of when the slugger turned down deals to each city.

For Dombrowski, the win wouldn't necessarily be getting in the sweepstakes for either player, but rather clearing a path for his No. 1 choice to land in Boston.

"With the Stanton situation, first off you're dealing with a big trade and he had a no trade. So we weren't really that involved in that scenario," Dombrowski said. "Ozuna was a trade situation where they were getting a lot. We just thought that with J.D. with his power bat … We just thought that J.D. made sense for us because we liked the type of player he was. We had a pulse of the other scenarios. We knew the price was going to be large in both of those cases, so we weren't ready to delve into it.

"When we looked at it, we thought he made the most sense. We had a pulse of a lot of different things and had talked to a lot of different clubs. But the thing was that that was always out there. As more guys got traded it eliminated more clubs from going after J.D.

"Once they got Ozuna with St. Louis, then they're out. There's no more room. The Yankees, I didn't necessarily think they were there, but once they got Stanton, then they're out. That keeps happening more and more with the trades. San Francisco got other players (Andrew McCutchen, Evan Longoria) with trades so that kind of took them out with that. It's hard to move on from your No. 1 situation when that is still a strong possibility."

The Marlins' fans will have to wait until Aug. 21 for their reunion. That's when the Yankees come to town.