Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Red Sox Trade for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell

Supposedly the Red Sox have traded prospects shortstop Hanley Ramirez and pitcher Anibal Sanchez plus a player to be named later in exchange for pitcher Josh Beckett and third baseman Mike Lowell. As a Red Sox fan I really like this trade.

Some people have gone overboard and have been comparing Beckett to Pedro Martinez (who was also acquired by the Sox for prospects) or Roger Clemens (because Beckett is a fireballer who wears #21). That's going over the top. Pedro and Roger are two of the very best to ever play the game. Making those comparisons is pure hyperbole. Besides I see this situation more akin to the Mets trading Tom Seaver to the Reds (just kidding).

What is clear is that Beckett will be the most talented pitcher to switch teams this offseason barring the A's moving Barry Zito (funny my spellcheck wants me to replace offseason with obsession - that doesn't seem far off for most Red Sox fans).

One thing I am begging the Red Sox to do is contractually make the Beatles' "Helter Skelter" Josh Beckett's theme song. Not only does that song perfectly grasp Beckett's home / road splits but its also the song where Ringo shouts out "I got blisters on me fingers" at the end (Beckett has been on the DL 9 times for blisters).

The positives on Mike Lowell are that he won a Gold Glove at 3rd base last year and he's considered a good clubhouse presence. The negatives are he's due to make $18 million over the next two years and last year he couldn't hit his weight. Plus steroid rumors surround Lowell as if he was Ken Caminitti Jr. (who was also very good with the glove, a solid clubhouse influence and who played 3rd).

There is a rumor circulating that the Twins would be interested in Lowell if the Sox were to eat a big portion of his salary. I'm sure the Sox will be weighing their options but if they do keep Lowell then that means the Bill Mueller era in Boston is over and that makes me sad. (I don't understand why the Twins just don't sign Mueller - he's clearly the best 3rd baseman available).

Keeping Lowell also opens the question of what to do with Kevin Youkilis. Do you play Lowell or Youkilis at third and put the other one a 1st? If the Sox do keep Lowell - I'd like to see him at third (he's a legitimate Gold Glove - even though he won it this year only because Scott Rolen was injured) and once again let me bring up my suggestion to put Youkilis at first and acquire Carlos Pena to platoon with him.

ESPN actually described Hanley Ramirez as the Red Sox' "much-ballyhooed shortstop prospect" (which made me wonder if fans up in Portland actually yelled "bally-hoo!" whenever Hanley came up to bat). Many have been wondering lately if the hype on Hanley had been a bit overblown. The spin on Hanley being the best thing since Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented sliced bread began back when the Red Sox were trying to have a PR back-up plan in case they couldn't re-sign Nomar Garciaparra. I don't think its a stretch to think that this constant positive spin on Ramirez was a tad overblown.

As far as Anibal Sanchez is concerned - the consensus seems to be "thank God it wasn't Jon Lester". I don't know enough about either prospect but it does worry me that this consensus seems to echo the "thank God it wasn't Tim Naerhing" talk after Jeff Bagwell was traded for Larry Anderson.

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