Rumor has it that Josh Beckett is headed our way:
The Red Sox and Marlins have come to a tentative agreement on a trade that would send Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston for infielder Hanley Ramirez, right-handed prospect Anibal Sanchez and a minor-league pitcher.
The deal is contingent on the finalization of paperwork and all players passing physicals, sources outside the Red Sox organization have told ESPN. An announcement is not expected for a day or two, leaving open the chance that it could still fall apart.
The court of Red Sox public opinion has largely approved of this deal. I also talked to a dejected Alex Belth about it today. "So much for the downfall of the Red Sox," he said, referring to my earlier grousing during our correspondence about Theo. You know that when a Yankees fan is unhappy about a Red Sox move, that move is probably good.
But, now, listen. You come to this blog to read my opinion. And if you want my opinion, here it is.
I don't like it. Yes, Beckett is young and a proven WS winner. But I can't help feeling we paid dearly for him with top prospects. It feels like the gutting of the farm system I was afraid of, post-Theo. Call me a stick in the mud, but I personally would rather wait to see Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, and whoever that other minor league pitcher is develop, than spend them on a guy who, IF he stays healthy, will benefit our team in the shorter run. I'm trying hard to reserve judgement, especially since it seems I'm in the vast minority on this, but I don't like getting rid of Hanley Ramirez. Not at all. Not only getting rid of him, but ending up with Edgar Renteria instead of the young phenom doesn't sit well with me. Yes, pitching is key. But you still need an infield, too.
I had been looking forward to watching Ramirez develop through the ranks. I had been looking forward to another Nomar or Trot Nixon, another homegrown talent. Instead, we get a free agent NL pitcher transitioning to the AL East, never a nice combination, who's also taken seven trips to the DL in the past four years, and Mr. Thirty Errors.
Moreover, we get Mike Lowell instead of Billy Mueller in the deal. Not everyone has seen this as a great deal for the Sox, and I'm inclined to agree with them. In fact, it has been reported that other teams stayed away from Beckett because they didn't want Lowell, and it was apparently a package deal.
I'm also loath to let two pitching prospects go for one guy. And let's face it, I'm loath to let go of prospects at all.
I had jumped on the bandwagon--I had drunk the Kool-Aid. I believed wholeheartedly in the Red Sox farm system, and was looking forward to seeing the fields bloom up in Lowell, Portland, and down in Pawtucket.
In my opinion (let's remember that phrase, shall we? It's an important one) the problem with the Yankees of late has been that they gutted the farm system to get big-time free agents. That was explosively good in the late 90's, but now, as the free agents age and the farm system remains weak, it's all or nothing, and there are desperation moves or stopgap measures--see also: Kevin Brown--that would have me slapping my forehead if I were a Yanks fan. The Yankees seem not to be willing to wait for fallow fields to become fertile again--that seems to be their biggest problem under Steinbrenner. From my point of view, at least, the Red Sox could now making the same exact mistake.
I know it's the first possibly good news about the Red Sox in a long time. I know lots of people are probably relieved that there's something finally happening in that front office. And of course, I will probably end up being dead wrong about this, and you can all come back and kick me in the butt and laugh about it later. But for right now, I'm not a huge fan of this idea so far.