November 21, 2005


I'll be back in the States for most of this week for Thanksgiving, so I'm taking a break from posting. I'll return around December 1.

The Globe's Buzz is a good place to track what's going on.


Jack Marshall said...

Bulletin! The Sox web site is reporting that a deal with the Marlins for Beckett and Lowell is all but complete, for Hanley, Sanchez and a pitcher to be named.

Who needs Theo? Even if Lowell is washed up, Beckett is just what the Sox needed most.

stefan said...

And if Lowell returns to his career average, he's pretty much an even swap for Mueller.

redsock said...

Saw this in the Times this morning. Funny, the top two stories in the sports section are this possible deal and a thing about Boras's pro-Damon argument.

Inside is a big column about whether the Mets should get Manny or Delgado. ... Gotham's just full of Red Sox news!

Beckett sounds good, but who needs Lowell (though I assume we needed to take him in any deal). Wither Yook (1B)?

Hanley and Sanchez seem somewhat steep, no?

Jack Marshall said...

I dunno...minor league prospects are always chancey, and Beckett is just 25. I think it's a steal, and alot cheaper than the Pedro deal seemed at the time. Ramirez is more likely to be Adam Everett than Nomar, and what are the odds of any pitching prospect panning out? 1 in 10? 1 in 5? Look at Pavano and Armas...

Lowell's bad year in '05 was inexplicable given his age (at 31, he's a lot younger than Mueller...who I loved, my favorite Sox regular after Ortiz). I didn't realize that he won the Gold Glove this season. Most players who have a collapse year before 34 without an injury bounce back most of the way, which for Lowell could mean 25+ homers. I think its a mistake to write him off. He's too expensive, but he's far from useless.
Or Youklis. If they move Youk to first, I bet any comers that Lowell/Youk will significantly out-produce Millar/Mueller/Olerud.

I love the deal, and after listening to the sports shows all day, I gather that most commentators take this as a coup for Larry L. Picking up Beckett a year after Pedro bolted is a lot like picking up Pedro a year after Roger bolted. Get in a younger ace who's getting better to replace an old ace who figures to decline. (Except that Roger declined a whole lot slower than anybody predicted...). Still a good strategy.

Sean O said...

Beckett isn't good; at best he's going to be league-average. So we're paying $11.4m a year for a league-average pitcher who can't hit 200 innings and a third baseman with aspirations of hitting like Kevin Millar, circa 2005.

I think it's a terrible trade, and that was before I realized that Beckett is more fragile than Nomar. We don't benefit from this.

I wish you the best Hanley, I'm sure we'll look back on this trade with frustration.

Jack Marshall said...

"Beckett isn't GOOD??"

What do you know that every, and I mean every, scout and GM and baseball commentator doesn't? I'm guessing "nothing". I have read commentary about the trade from about two dozen baseball pros, and it's just about unanimous that the Marlins got hosed.

The fact that he's 25 and hasn't topped 200 innings is a PLUS, not a minus. Have you ever actually watched Beckett pitch? He's electric! He has three pitches...curve, change and fastball...among the upper 10% in the league. He won 15 game swith no run support and a team that was under-performing all season.
Hanley Ramirez, meanwhile, had a mediocre season in DOUBLE A; Jeff Bagwell, he's not.

If that's your idea of a "terrible trade," you must have been really upset when the Sox shipped that stalwart reliever Heathcliffe Slocum for that perennial disappointment Derek Lowe and that head case Jason Veritek....everyone's welcome to his own opinion, no matter how fanciful, but saying this trade is terrible just can't be supported by any facts at all.

Sean O said...

All I see is an overrated "ace" who has a 3.7 ERA in one of the most extreme pitcher's parks in the majors. He's going from Pro Player to Fenway and from Luis Castillo and Juan Pierre to, well, the Red Sox. At best, he's going to have a low 4.0 ERA for us, about expected he'll be around 4.3-4.6. I don't buy this "no 200 innings=good" thing, because I think it's BS. It's one thing if the Mariners are limiting King Felix or the Pirates limiting Zach Duke because they don't want him to burn out, it's another to have a pitcher who's so fragile he simply *can't* make 200 innings. He's practically using voodoo to keep his blisters in check, and oh yeah, at the end of this season he had 2 MRI's and had to visit The Good Doc, so he could have major arm problems coming up.

He's no Yankee killer; he has faced them twice and has a 1-1 record. Yes he's papelbon-young, but anyone who thinks this has a single parallel to the Pedro deal is absolutely insane. Pedro had pulled out a 1.9-ERA season by this time, while Beckett shows no signs of bursting out like that with the switch to the AL.

Please, I need a better reason than "he looks great when he's pitching", because his stats don't show an ace pitcher. I see a fragile, mediocre pitcher who I hope can get above 150 ERA+. I think he's horribly overrated, and that people are mystified by how he looks when he's pitching, while the stats tell a different story. He's parlayed 2 good postseason starts into supposed superstardom, but it's not going to develop. Hope he proves me wrong.

Lowell meanwhile is a total waste. Guess the steroid testing hurt some more than others.

Jack Marshall said...

WEll, when you're talking about young premiere pitchers, you have to buy the low innings "thing," because over-use is what does in most of them. Blistering is a solvable problem: Nolan Ryan had a serious blister problem in his first few years.

The shoulder? Both Beckett and McKeon say there's no major problem, and besides, the Sox get to examine him and bail out if there is. And you must be The Amazing Kreskin to be so sure that one off year after a series of good ones for Lowell means that he's washed up...the fact is that in most such situations, it just isn't true.

The parallel with Pedro is valid. I didn't say Beckett was, is, or will be as good as Pedro was, but he's a decent bet to be as good as Pedro will be from here on in...he was pretty close last year. The point is that he's a young 1-2, and they got him to fill the hole Pedro left.
And the price was cheap.Snachez never projected as an ace even optimistically, and he's 2 years away at best. Ramirez has the same buzz and credentials of past Sox "shortstops of the future" like Juan Benitez or Luis Alvarado or Mike Brumley. Renteria is signed for three more years, with or without the trade.

The bottom line is that the up-side potential of the trade is tremendous, and the most likely scenarios make the trade a steal. Sure: Hanley could turn into ARod and Beckett could be Steve Avery. That's not how one evaluates a trade, at least not fairly.

Sean O said...

I guess I just figure that Lowell's failure coinciding with steroid testing leaves me to believe he's nothing, and will be nothing from now on. Not only did he lose power, but he also lost ability to make contact. While his defense is still fine, I just don't see him able to regain a .360 OBP and a .280 BA. I hope he proves me wrong, but I figure he's not going to regain his career averages. Let's hope it was just a bad year and he's not just off the juice.

About the shoulder, well, what should Beckett and Mckeon say, they have worries about the shoulder? I think the Sox would take Beckett even if he did have shoulder issues, figuring they could use him until it breaks down.

About Beckett being cheap, I don't think he is cheap. The money we're giving him is minimal, but we're spending $9m a year for, at best, a 4.0 WARP from our new useless 3B, so we're pretty much paying Beckett the equivalent of $10ish a year to pitch for us. We're the Red Sox so that's ok, but still.

As for Pedro, it seems like Beckett is more of a comparison for current Beckett as you mentioned, which isn't really all that great. He's oft-injured, fragile, and while he can show flashes of brilliance, he's not what he could be at this point. I guess he has promise, I'm just not sold on it.

As for Hanley, I just assume we were going to get burned on this because we have gotten burned so badly in the past. Giving up who our "untradable" guy as a reaction move to losing Theo was a tad bit frightening.

The upside potential is great, I have no doubt, but the expected results I'm not so thrilled with. I think Beckett is going to be injured for large periods of time, Lowell will be worthless and expensive, and Hanley will flourish in the major leagues. I guess I'm frightened we just gave up someone who could be a really good future 3B (since e6gar blocks him) for an overrated glass-armed pitcher.

I see no reason to think Beckett will be anything but average, and I hope he proves me wrong. I just hope I don't get that burning feeling when the Sox make a stupid move, ala Bagwell.

Jack Marshall said...

Oh, you are just a Gloomy Gus this holiday, Sean.

Of course the trade might be a disaster; no guarantees in this biz. I do think it's unfair to say the Sox made the trade because of Theo...I'm sure Theo would have made the trade too. When you look at it, the Sox have had very few traded prospects turn into stars through the years, even after the Boston press had a cow. Pete Munro? Reitsma? It took Suppan years of wandering in the wilderness to get good and the Sox still had a second chance to keep him. Bagwell was 15 years ago, and though everyone conveniently forgets it now, the Sox were in a pennant race, their closer (Reardon) was injured, and Larry Anderson kept them in the race, which they eventually won. If the team had beaten the A's in the play-offs and made it to the series, nobody would be bellyaching about Bagwell, whose path to the club, like Hanley's was blocked.

Be happy, Sean, if for no other reason, than it looks less and less likely that anybody's willing to trade for Manny. The Mets, after Delgado, are probably out. Seattle's a pipe dream. The Angels don't want him and the other West Coast teams can't afford him.

Something to be Thankful for!

Sean O said...

Once again, we're just in disagreement, since I want Manny out ASAP. There is a chance we could trade Ichiro, who wants out, for Manny Ramirez, which would be so brilliant I wouldn't stop smiling for a week. Yeah, it leaves Papi unprotected, but it gives us one of the best leadoff hitters in the game, and finally someone who can actually steal bases. Plus, he's a great outfielder, and having Trot in LF would be great.

I'm sick of Manny's tantrums, and I think he's gone whether we benefit or not. Just wish we could've gotten Milledge, who has a decent chance of being good, and Petit who already at 22 would've been the best pitcher in our bullpen.

I love Manny, and I'm so glad for what he did for us, but people need to realize that we have 0 chance to win the division, let alone the AL Championship, let alone the WS for several years. We simply have too many dead spots in the lineup and rotation and bullpen.

Have a happy holiday to everyone though, my lack of faith aside.

Jack Marshall said...

NOW I're from an alternate universe, right? One where the Sox didn't win 95 games despite having no #1 starter and no closer all season? One where the Sox don't have a slew of good young arms coming up, plus a good chance of aforementioned ace and closer returning to health? One where the Sox didn't lead the league in offense, despite zip from first base and no power from third? The team will have fewer "holes" in its line-up this season than last...guaranteed.

Your analysis is just perverse, my friend, negative for the sake of has no connection with reality at all.

As for Manny, about whom I have decidedly mixed feelings...someone still has to be willing to pay his salary. The Sox will not pay big money for someone to take Manny...they have said as much. I'm sure they'd like to end the constant drama around the guy AND have 20 million to play with this year, but they still have to have a trading partner, and I don't think there is one.

Anonymous said...