November 22, 2005


Sox agree on trade for Beckett (Chris Snow, November 22, 2005, Boston Globe)

Pending physicals, the 25-year-old Beckett, MVP of the 2003 World Series, will come to Boston along with 2005 Gold Glove-winning third baseman Mike Lowell and the entire balance of Lowell's cumbersome contract, according to two major league sources. The Sox, the sources said, will send to Florida two of the organization's top prospects, Double A shortstop Hanley Ramírez and Double A righthander Anibal Sánchez, as well as another lesser prospect, Single A pitcher Jesus Delgado. The sources indicated that no money is changing hands in the deal. [...]

Beckett, who will turn 26 in May, went 15-8 with a 3.38 ERA in 29 starts in 2005, and in 103 career starts over four-plus seasons, he is 41-34 with a 3.46 ERA, all with Florida, the team that drafted him second overall in 1999.

Beckett rocketed to prominence during the 2003 postseason, when as a 23-year-old he pitched complete-game shutouts in Game 5 of the NLCS vs. the Cubs and in a clinching Game 6 of the World Series vs. the Yankees, the latter appearance on three days' rest. Beckett also pitched four innings in relief in Game 7 of the 2003 NLCS, allowing one run just three days after his Game 5 start.

Beckett stands to become the Sox' most significant trade for a young, cornerstone-caliber player since the club acquired Pedro Martínez eight years ago. Beckett does come with some injury issues. He's dealt with recurrent blisters on his right middle finger for several years. A more pressing matter, though, is an unspecified issue with his right shoulder. According to a recent story in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Beckett needed 20 pitches to warm up before every inning over the last six weeks of the season and underwent two MRIs, one with Dr. James Andrews, after the season. Last season, he visited the DL once, in July, with an oblique strain.

Still, he was made available by Florida not so much because his future is uncertain but because the team's is. Florida will not re-sign A.J. Burnett, and the club is looking to deal Carlos Delgado, among others, in an unloading of talent designed to drastically reduce payroll.

But to land Beckett, the Sox will have to take on Lowell, who is guaranteed $9 million each of the next two seasons and hit just .236 with 8 homers and 58 RBIs in 150 games last season after averaging 25 homers and 95 RBIs for five seasons. Other than nine games at second base in 2005, Lowell, an All-Star in 2002, '03, and '04, has played his eight-year career at third base, where he's evolved into one of the game's best gloves at the position.

Now I have to rewrite my "things I'm Thankful For..." speech...

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 22, 2005 7:17 AM

Ah yes, the annual winter buying of good players by the Red Sox and the Yankees begins afresh. While fans of less wealthy teams prepare for another 3rd place finish. Baseball is so predictable.

Posted by: Brandon at November 22, 2005 7:35 AM


Can't blame the Sox--the Marlins turned down a much better offer from the Rangers.

Posted by: oj at November 22, 2005 7:42 AM

Theo is gone in part because he wouldn't discuss trading Ramirez or Sanchez. Look at the trade, a washed-up 3rd baseman and a sore-armed pitcher for the flower of your farm system. Sounds like Lucchino is channeling Heywood Sullivan. Can you say Jeff Bagwell......

Posted by: jeff at November 22, 2005 8:47 AM

Ramirez was rendered a nullity when they signed Renteria and Sanchez is their fifth best pitching prospect. Prospects exist to be traded for guys who are already the player you hope they'll become, like Beckett. The problem with the Bagwell trad was that it was for a relief specialist, which no one dreams their prospects will become.

Posted by: oj at November 22, 2005 9:01 AM


Posted by: David Cohen at November 22, 2005 10:55 AM

This'll work out great for the Sox if they get Lowell back on the juice -- 8 hrs last year after 27 and 32 the 2 previous seasons -- and keep Beckett's arm from falling off.

As for Renteria, the guy was only the 11th best ss in the majors last year, well behind the Youngs and Jeters of the world. I'd think the Wrong Sox would have expected a little better from the guy. They should have stuck with the kid.

(Of course much of this is the wishful thinking of the Yankee fan. Still after watching my team get burned last off season signing two bum-armed pitchers, one from the Marlins, it's quite conceivable that the Sox are also getting burned on this one.)

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at November 22, 2005 10:56 AM

Should have kept Orlando Cabrera, you mean.

Ramirez didn't even slug .400 in the minors last year. He's not going to be that good.

Posted by: oj at November 22, 2005 11:01 AM

All this talk is nice, but life will be a lot better for the Sox if Schilling has an ankle to stand on next spring.

Posted by: John at November 22, 2005 11:11 AM

Great trade for the Sox. Ramirez is on track to be a middle-tier major league shortstop - great range, middling to high error count, .260 batting average, little power, base-stealing threat; and Renteria is signed for four more years. Sanchez is their second-best minor league pitching prospect, behind Jon Lester, now that Papelbon and Hansen are on the major league roster. Lowell's hitting might come back, especially in Fenway, a more favorable ball park for him. Beckett is the kind of pitcher who can carry a team through the playoffs, as he did in 2003.

Posted by: pj at November 22, 2005 11:23 AM

Good trade. Playing for a contendah is going to make Beckett's arm feel a lot better.

Posted by: joe shropshire at November 22, 2005 11:27 AM

By the way, why don't you guys go get Nomah back? You could have him cheap & he's a better hitter than Renteria.

Posted by: joe shropshire at November 22, 2005 11:31 AM

The Sox will now be the 5th best team in the AL next year. Yeah!

Wait, you say that is what they were going to be before the trade. Oh well.

Posted by: Bob at November 22, 2005 2:27 PM

I guess Chan Ho Park wasn't available?

Beckett's last season:
2005 Fla 29 29 2 1 179.2 153 75 67 14 58 166 15 8 0 0 -- 3.38

Park's last season in LA:
2001 LA 36 35 2 1 234.0 183 98 91 23 91 218 15 11 0 0 -- 3.50

Posted by: b at November 22, 2005 5:09 PM