This morning on his blog Joel Sherman puts on his GM hat and presents a trade idea that he thinks could help the Red Sox. As he states in his article "This is not something I am actually reporting as a fact. IT IS NOT
BEING DISCUSSED. I am merely throwing this out there to stimulate some
debate and to get everyone to play GM for a while." His idea: "Beltran to Boston for Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jacoby Ellsbury." While I understand his core thinking, the trade that he proposes makes little sense if you are the Red Sox. Sherman thinks this is a good idea for the Sox "Because Beltran has much in common with Teixeira. He is a switch-hitter
with power and patience from both sides, and is an excellent defender.
Beltran is three years older, but his contract term is five years
shorter than would have been necessary for Teixeira, plus he provides
speed that Teixeira would not." Sure the Red Sox could probably use another middle of the order guy like Beltran, but at what cost? The Red Sox strength going into 2009 is their pitching staff. Beckett, Lester, Daisuke is as formidable a "Big Three" as there is in the game. By pulling off this proposed trade they are weakening a strength, adding to the payroll and getting older just so they could add some middle of the order punch. Why not sign Adam Dunn? There has been little to no interest in Dunn, he's two years younger than Beltran and the Sox would get to keep their staff strong, stay young and keep their payroll reasonable. Another option is Milton Bradley, sure he's a head case, but he can hit. He too would come fairly cheap. The second part of Sherman's plan would have the Red Sox sign Derek Lowe to replace Daisuke. Derek Lowe will be 36 in June and posted an ERA of almost half a run higher in the weak hitting NL West.
One other important factor that Sherman is failing to realize is that both Daisuke and Beltran have full no trade clauses in their contracts. Sure they could waive them, but that's highly unlikely in this case. Daisuke is comfortable in Boston, something that didn't happen over night. Beltran's personality is also an awful fit for Boston. In a town that loves and respects gritty, hard nosed play Carlos Beltran's laid back, let the game come to me approach might not go over too well with the fans and media.
Daisuke is 28 years old. He's signed through 2012 and is scheduled to make $8 million in '09 and '10. His salary will increase in '11 and '12 when he gets a $2 million dollar raise putting him at $12 million. He is also coming off a season where he posted a 2.90 ERA in the American League East. Affordable, check. Young, check. Very good, check.
Ellsbury is 25 years old. He already plays comparable defense to Beltran, if not better. He also made $406K last season. Sure Beltran adds significantly more power, but Ellsbury's speed is game changing, something you do not give up on this soon. Affordable, check. Young, check. Very good, not yet, but soon.
Beltran will be 32 years old in April. He's signed through 2011 and is scheduled to make $18.5 million in '09-'11. Affordable, no. Young, no. Very good, check.
Dunn is 29 years old. He is a free agent. He will provide very little defense, he is all offense. If Lowell isn't healthy he also provides another option at first base, so that Youkilis could move to third. In 2008 Dunn hit 13 more home runs than Beltran and posted a higher OBP and SLG.
If Sherman's goal was to strike up a discussion, he was successful. Unfortunately his argument is really nothing more than a conversation starter. It doesn't make sense from the Red Sox point of view, no matter how you slice it. Meanwhile I am quite certain Mets and Yankee fans would endorse Sherman's idea whole heartedly.