Trade Retrospective – Josh Beckett to the Red Sox


On November 24, 2005, the Red Sox acquired SP Josh Beckett, 3B Mike Lowell, and RP Guillermo Mota from the Marlins for P Jesus Delgado, P Harvey Garcia, SS Hanley Ramirez, and SP Anibal Sanchez.

The Background

Josh Beckett had his best season to the point prior to the trade in the 2005 season, going 15-8 with a 3.38 ERA and 166 strikeouts in 178 2/3 innings pitched. However, he was entering his 5th full season, and would be eligible for free agency after the 2007 season. Mike Lowell, however, was the main reason for the potential trades being floated. The Marlins were desperately looking to slash payroll, and Lowell was due $9 million in 2006.

The Red Sox had won the AL Wild Card in 2005 with a 95-67 record, but were needing a solid pitcher to slot in behind Curt Schilling and Tim Wakefield. Current 3B Bill Mueller was also going to be a free agent, and the organization did not necessarily want to hand over the job to the young Kevin Youkilis.

The Moving Pieces

In Boston, Beckett slotted into the front end of their starting rotation, and Lowell as their starting 3B.

In Florida, Hanley Ramirez was installed as the starting shortstop, and Anibal Sanchez was sent to the Marlins AA affiliate.

What Happened Next

The return for the Red Sox in the 2006 was a bit of a mixed bag, as Beckett went 16-11 over 204 innings, but posted a 5.01 ERA. Lowell had a solid season, hitting 20 home runs, driving in 80 runs, and posting a .284 batting average. The team itself however, did not make that playoff push that they had grown accustomed to. They went 86-76, and finished 3rd behind the Blue Jays in the AL East.

The Marlins were extremely happy with the players they got in return, specifically Hanley Ramirez. He won the 2006 NL Rookie of the Year award behind a stellar season: .292, 17 HR, 59 RBI, 51 SB, and 119 runs scored. Anibal Sanchez came up and gave the team a shot in the arm as well, posting a 10-3 record with a 2.83 ERA in 17 starts.

The Net Moves

Red Sox – First Level

  • Josh Beckett remains with the team, signing a contract extension first through the 2010 season, and now through the 2014 season. He has been a bit up and down overall, posting a 69-37 record with a 4.29 ERA in 880 2/3 innings pitched. He has 804 strikeouts and 232 walks, and has represented the Red Sox twice in the All-Star game.
  • Mike Lowell is also still with the team, despite their best efforts to move him in the past 2 seasons. He has posted a .291/.347/.472 line with 79 HR and 368 RBI, and was an All-Star once.
  • Guillermo Mota spent approximately 1 month with the team, before being traded on 1/27/2006 to the Indians with Andy Marte and Kelly Shoppach for C Josh Bard, OF Coco Crisp, and P David Riske.

Marlins – First Level

  • Hanley Ramirez has developed into the NL’s best shortstop, and one of the top fantasy players overall. In 737 games, he has hit .313/.384/519 with 119 HR, 375 RBI and 190 steals. He has made 3 All-Star appearances, and has won 2 Silver Slugger Awards. In addition, the Marlins have signed him to contract extension through 2014.
  • Anibal Sanchez has seen some rough patches, mostly due to injuries and inconsistency, but still pitches for the Marlins. He has a 28-25 record with a 3.62 ERA in 430 1/3 innings pitched. He’s struck out 323 and walked 190.
  • Jesus Delgado pitched 2 innings in the Majors with the Marlins, and was selected off waivers by the Mariners on 3/15/2009. He appears to be out of organized baseball at this point.
  • Harvey Garcia threw a few more innings (12 1/3), but was released by the Marlins on 3/16/2009. Must have been roster clearing time that week.

Red Sox – Second Level

  • Josh Bard appeared in 7 games for the Sox, and was used primarily as the personal catcher for knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield. It became clear very quickly however that he was not well suited for the task, and was traded by the end of April to the Padres with P Cla Meredith for C Doug Mirabelli.
  • Coco Crisp was with the Red Sox through the 2008 season. He hit .271/.330/.390 with 21 homeruns and 70 stolen bases during his time there, but was traded when it became clear that prospect Jacoby Ellsbury was ready to man center field. Crisp was traded to the Royals for RP Ramon Ramirez on November 19, 2008
  • David Riske made 8 appearances with the Red Sox in 2006 before being traded to the White Sox for P Javier Lopez.

Red Sox – Third Level

  • Doug Mirabelli became the personal catcher for Tim Wakefield again, and spent both the 2006 and 2007 seasons in that role before retiring.
  • Ramon Ramirez spent the 2009 and part of the 2010 seasons with the Sox, posting a 7-7 record with a 3.46 ERA out of the bullpen. He was traded on July 31, 2010 to the Giants for minor leaguer Daniel Turpen.
  • Javier Lopez was in the Red Sox bullpen from 2006-2009, and posted a 5-3 record with a 3.30 ERA, primarily as a LOOGY reliever. He left the Red Sox as a free agent after the 2009 season.

Overall Reactions

I think that this is another one of those trades that worked out well for both teams. The Red Sox, led by the performances of Beckett and Lowell, won their 2nd World Series in 4 seasons in 2007. Whether or not they come to regret the extension that they gave to Josh Beckett recently in the same way that they regret the one that they gave to Lowell remains to be seen, but as I’ve said before, flags fly forever. They also got some decent production out of Crisp while he was in Boston, and got a solid reliever in return for him.

The winner, if I had to pick one, would have to be the Marlins though. Ramirez has become a perennial MVP-caliber player, who routinely is at the top of the batting average charts as well as the stolen base leader boards. They were able to sign him to a team-friendly contract extension through 2014, and Ramirez remains the franchise player for a team that was in desperate need of one when the team traded 1B Miguel Cabrera and P Dontrelle Willis. I am not sure he will be able to stay at shortstop once that contract expires, as his fielding is less than amazing at a high-defense position. But time will tell on that one, and in the mean time the Marlins are enjoying every bit of production he provides.

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