Josh Beckett, you say? No GM? No problem. Of course, the deal isn’t yet complete, the players involved still have to take physicals, but the principals are in place. The principals, by the way, are Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, Hanley Ramirez, Anibel Sanchez, and Jesus Delgado. The deal in progress would send Marlins’ RHP Josh Beckett and 3b Mike Lowell to the Red Sox for SS Hanley Ramirez, RHP Anibel Sanchez, and RHP Jesus Delgado.
These deals in general include one team trading potential for certainty, and the other trading for economic flexibility and potential. The Sox dealt a prime-time shortstop prospect, their third or fourth best pitching prospect (and incidentally, the only one who doesn’t consistently top 95 mph) and Jesus Delgado, who’d hardly met his Single-A roommate. They got the 2003 World Series MVP, Josh Beckett, and Mike Lowell.
Throughout the 2005 season, and in seasons past, we have heard general managers, owners, scouts, and assistants to the traveling secretary (Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle... Costanza?!?) talk about not mortgaging the future by trading for proven veterans now. Beckett, however, is only 25 years old, and along with Jon Papelbon and Jon Lester, he’s set to make up a very young, VERY hard throwing Red Sox pitching staff for the next few years.
Mike Lowell is a two headed monster; he had a terrible year last year (though he did win the Gold Glove) and he’s set to make 18m. over the next two years. But the Sox had open spots at the corner infield positions, seem reluctant to keep Mueller, refused to re-sign Millar, and only the Greek God Of Walks (Youkilis) waiting in the wings.
The reason this deal really excites me, assuming it goes through, is that the Red Sox could afford to trade the prospects and and they got such enormous talent in exchange. Hanley Ramirez wasn’t about to take Renteria’s job, he can’t play second, and though they considered working him out in center, I’d much rather retain Damon. Ramirez is an incredible athletic talent, he “won every slam dunk contest he ever participated in” in the Dominican (according to himself, also, there’s no dunking in baseball, but it must be related somehow). The knock on him is that he relies too heavily on his God-given talent, but his work ethic lacks. He can hit, though he struggled mightily in the field, and he idolizes Manny (imagine Francona’s line of thought “wait, he’s an awe-inspiring hitter, struggles in the field, and thinks his ability to dunk is relevant, you know who would be a great mentor for him, Manny!” BRILLIANT).
As it stands now, the Sox have Schilling, Wakefield, Clement, Arroyo, Papelbon, and David Wells, along with Jon Lester. Add Beckett, and a David Wells trade moves from speculation to a certainty, and given Schilling and Wakefield’s age, Clement’s struggles since he was hit with a Barredo comebacker, having six or seven guys competing for the rotation sounds just fine. Beckett would rocket (oops) to the top of that list, possibly wearing number 21(oops) and the Sox look pretty good even without Theo. I had worried the Sox brass would be a bit like Frank and Jack after Billy went back to school (where’s Billy?), but for now I can rest.
Want more? I linked to some other guys' thoughts on the right. I particularly enjoyed the second to last sentence of the fifth point in Bill Simmons' piece.