…and even then, they didn’t exactly trade the farm.
The Josh Beckett trade still has yet to be announced, so the Red Sox are using the full 72-hour window accorded to them by the commissioner to go over the medical records of Josh Beckett and to an extent, Mike Lowell. Expect the official announcement to come Friday.
Sources said there is growing concern among the Red Sox about Beckett’s shoulder, and it could lead to an amended deal in which the Marlins might have to either absorb some of the money left owed to Lowell or receive lesser prospects as part of the trade.
The Red Sox want to make sure Beckett, whose right shoulder was twice examined by Dr. James Andrews after the season, is healthy. Beckett experienced tightness in the shoulder late in the season and skipped his final start as a precaution but was given the go-ahead by Andrews to resume throwing activities when a second MRI revealed no damage. (Miami Herald)
I think this trade for Beckett needs to happen no matter what. If the Marlins kick in more money or accept lesser prospects, then that’s just gravy. But let’s assume this deal goes off as planned.
Some people are saying this trade would never have happened under Theo’s watch. The two predominant reasons these people cite are (1) Theo would never have traded Hanley Ramirez and/or Anibal Sanchez and (2) Theo would have gone the more conservative route in building the team.
If Theo Epstein says tomorrow that he never would have made this trade, I’m glad he’s no longer the General Manager of the Red Sox. The Gang of Four and Lajoie (now simply the Gang of Four now that Peter Woodfork has taken the Assistant General Manager job in Arizona) made a brilliant trade. It’s true that Theo was going a conservative route with this team. We weren’t going to be movers and shakers this offseason, but this Beckett thing has, unlike the Manny trade, not been in the works for a while. Give the Rangers their due – they called the Marlins up and talked about Mike Lowell and said they’d take him and Beckett. Only leaks alerted all of us to this possibility and the Red Sox stepped in.
Hanley Ramirez has a chance to be an All-Star shortstop. He could be Derek Jeter offensively, but he could be Edgar Renteria offensively. That’s still a darned good SS, but look who we have at short right now. That’s right, Renteria. It’s rather sound reasoning that if we had really been that high on Hanley, Renteria never would have been signed. If Hanley truly was this good, he would have been ready to make a contribution right about now. Perhaps he will be a late bloomer, but he may never bloom at all. He parlayed a great showing years ago to being vastly overhyped. The Red Sox moved him at the right time, at the pinnacle of him being hyped. If he had repeated another season with similar numbers that he had this year, his luster would have begun to fade.
Anibal Sanchez is no slouch, and could pan out to be a good starter. That’s the thing though. He could pan out. What if he never does? Or rather, if he does, how much better would he have to be than Beckett to make us rue the trade? Pedro Martinez better, and Sanchez doesn’t look like to be that. He’s another Josh Beckett. We’re just getting someone virtually the same age as Jonathan Papelbon who has 609 IP in the majors, while Papelbon hasn’t even cracked 50. Anibal has also had nerve problems occur before, he is hardly injury free. If we were to throw away prospects like dirt, we would have had no problem giving up Jon Lester, but Lester was so important to us, we demanded they take Anibal. Anibal is not as good as Lester, so we had to include Jesus Delgado. That tells you something – we won’t give up what we don’t want to. We were certainly amenable to giving Hanley and Anibal up.
Would Theo have traded them? I think so. There were trade rumors linked to Anibal all year long. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And let’s stop trying to think Theo’s influence is gone. Not only does Theo continue to make trips to his office at Fenway (and almost certainly played an advisory role in all of this, don’t forget that – because the Red Sox mentioned he would way back when) but his lieutenants, the ones he confides in, the ones he worked with, made the trade. For all intents and purposes, Theo was the one who made the trade.
Theo did say that his job was to build a viable farm. But that doesn’t mean he can’t trade prospects away (for he has). It just means that he wants to keep the farm stocked, both to help on the field and via trades. Hanley and Anibal are not the entire farm system. Did the Red Sox trade away their future in this trade? No, I don’t think they did. They’re immediately strengthened on the field with Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett, but their future is actually more stable now that they have a proven 25-year old pitcher in Beckett, not a pitching prospect in Anibal.
Brandon Magee over at Sox on Deck says some things I’d like to bring to your attention.
A GMs job is two fold. Most important is to keep the big club competetive. This is especially true for the Red Sox farm system. The second part is less important… keeping the system competitive over the long term. When Theo (or any GM really) talks about not trading away the future, they are not talking of any specific prospect. They are talking about generally trying to keep the farm system going in order to bring young replacements up. They have Lester and Papelbon as “front-line