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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Red Sox - Acquired Beckett and Lowell
Boston Red Sox - Acquired P Josh Beckett and 3B Mike Lowell for SS Hanley Ramirez and P Anibal Sanchez and a player to be named.
A few years ago, the Twins had an impressive glut of outfielders and other weaknesses at the bottom of the rotation and the middle infield (though they didn’t quite realize the extent to which the latter was a weakness). Not all of them or even most of them were stars, but they did have value at the time in filling the team’s holes. But the Twins didn’t do anything. They sat on their strength, whistled Dixie and watched their surplus fade away, none of the value realized. Kielty? One of the few they did trade, but for a player who’s now just as mediocre and much more expensive. Restovich? Lost on waivers. Jones? Likely gone. Hunter? They wish he was gone. Those aren’t the only player.
What does this have to do with the Red Sox? The Twins had a choice either to use the value of players or lose the value of those players. They chose the latter.
Given that Lucchino’s thinking and organizational philosophy has won the day in the Byzantine environment of the Red Sox front office, it seems unlikely that a 1990s Brave mindset will be used for decision-making with the 2000s Yankees mindset being used instead. Young players in this organization are no longer the future stars of tomorrow - well, they may be, but not in Beantown. Now, the future is something to be avoided, the wall mended in place with duct tape instead of mortar.
As such, the Red Sox had to either use Sanchez and Ramirez as players or trade them and get the value that way. Could this look horrible 10 years ago if Sanchez’ arm stays on? Certainly. But it’s better for Sanchez to star in Florida and the Red Sox get Beckett than Sanchez to pitch in Pawtucket for 3 years and watch his trade value go away. Ramirez is a lesser prospect than Sanchez, clearly hyped more than his performance has warranted, and if one wants to win now and damn the future, it’s better to make someone else pay to try and wait and hope for Hanley’s tools to become skills.
One things the Marlins know how to do is commit to a rebuild. The post-1997 firesale was ugly, but just take a look at the post-1997 Orioles to see what a half-ass rebuild does. The Marlins dumped everything, built up a new team, won a World Series and started another rebuild cycle while the O’s haven’t even seen .500 in that span.
2006, this is a great trade for the Red Sox. If you’re going for instant gratification, get something gratifying. And Beckett certainly does that. The constant blister problems are annoying but I’ll take them over constant shoulder problems and the side benefit that Beckett has been very mildly used compared to other very good young pitchers. The question is - now that the Red Sox have crossed the Rubicon, will they now go all the way? Pedroia to Minnesota for Hunter? Lester for Kent? Papelbon for Wily Mo Pena? Youkilis for a random reliever? In for a penny, in for a pound. It’s not how I would personally go about it, but there’s more than one way to win a championship, I guess.
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