Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton trade ups the ante for the Red Sox

The Yankees' deal for Giancarlo Stanton, if approved, puts the pressure on Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski to bring in a free-agent power bat. Bill Sikes/AP Photo

A year ago, after the Boston Red Sox pulled off a blockbuster trade for Chris Sale, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman showed his admiration by dubbing them "the Golden State Warriors of baseball."

It's time for Red Sox honcho Dave Dombrowski to repay the compliment by calling the Yankees, well, the Yankees.

By taking advantage of a new Marlins ownership group -- fronted by Derek Jeter, no less -- that was desperate to move a player who had full control over where he could be traded, the Yankees agreed to a deal to obtain Giancarlo Stanton, the pre-eminent power hitter in the game.

Stanton still has to approve the trade. If he does, he will join fellow goliath Aaron Judge to form the most fearsome slugging duo in decades and one that might prove worthy of even the Yankees' lineage.

Ruth-Gehrig ... Mantle-Maris ... Judge-Stanton?

"BP will be a must-watch," said one rival American League official. "Nice move by them."

The Red Sox didn't get far in their pursuit of Stanton, largely because the recently crowned National League MVP wasn't willing to waive his no-trade clause for Boston. (Remember when the Red Sox were a destination for seemingly every player?) He wouldn't go to St. Louis or San Francisco, either, even though the Cardinals and Giants worked out deals to acquire him, leaving the Marlins with few options and enabling the Yankees to step through an open door.

Nevertheless, Saturday must have been a rough day for Dombrowski, who saw his team's chief rival make a play for the very sort of player the power-starved Red Sox need. Without Stanton, the Yankees led the majors with 241 homers last season; the Sox hit 168, marking the first time they ranked last in the AL in homers since 1993.

Stanton, Judge and Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez combined to hit 144 homers in 2017. Moreover, the Yankees still have a top-ranked farm system and might have maintained the payroll flexibility to play in next winter's free-agent bonanza that will feature Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

So, with the winter meetings set to begin Sunday night in Orlando, Florida, the industry watches to see how the Red Sox will counter.

All along, it seemed the most likely way for the Sox to obtain a power hitter was through free agency. That still figures to be the route they take. Now, though, there will be more competition at the top of the market for J.D. Martinez.

When the offseason began, agent Scott Boras was believed to be seeking a $200 million contract for Martinez, who lacks Stanton's name recognition but possesses equally impressive numbers. Although that remains an ambitious salary figure, the fact that the Cardinals and Giants were rejected by Stanton could mean two more suitors for Martinez. It's hardly a stretch to think Boras could fetch a six-year, $150 million deal for a player who has averaged 32 home runs and slugged .574 over the past four seasons.

Boras also represents free-agent first baseman Eric Hosmer, who might be the best all-around player on the market. Asked recently to choose between Stanton, Martinez and Hosmer, three talent evaluators said they preferred Hosmer based on his durability, superb defense and reputation as a winner and clubhouse leader.

But Hosmer isn't a pure slugger. In fact, he hits the ball on the ground more often than he does in the air and hasn't hit more than 25 homers in any of his seven big league seasons. For a Red Sox team that's looking for a middle-of-the-order game-changer, Hosmer might not be the best fit.

Dombrowski also will continue to explore trade options. But after making prospect-laden moves for Craig Kimbrel, Drew Pomeranz, Tyler Thornburg and Sale -- deals that, for the most part, worked out well for the Red Sox -- the farm system lacks the assets for another whopper.

"That road has already been paved," one source said.

Another source acknowledged the Sox's interest in Kyle Schwarber, who profiles more as a designated hitter. But it's doubtful the Chicago Cubs will trade Schwarber, who hit 30 homers in a down year and remains a favorite of team president Theo Epstein.

The Yankees, meanwhile, are still loaded with prospect assets, including 23-year-old outfielder Clint Frazier, if they feel the need to add, say, another starting pitcher this winter or make an in-season move at the trade deadline.