My Kingdom for a World Series

Let’s imagine an extremely unrealistic future for the Hanley
Ramirez/Anibal Sanchez-Josh Beckett/Mike Lowell trade. What’s happened
has happened. Beckett and Lowell played key roles in the Sox 2007
championship run. It would be extremely difficult to imagine the Sox
winning the whole thing without without their contributions. Hanley has
become one of the most valuable position players in the game. Everyone
is happy. Now imagine the next several years. Again, I don’t think this will
happen and I don’t hope it to.

On opening day in 2008, Josh Beckett throws the first pitch of the
season in front of 50,000 excited Japanese fans and promptly hears a
pop in his arm. His season ends there. Doctors find significant damage
in his shoulder and elbow. And for the next three years, Beckett tries
valiantly to return to the majors but ultimately fails. He pitches a
couple of games in 2010 and reinjures his arm. In 2011, he retires from
the game. Meanwhile, Mike Lowell’s contract from 2008-2010 has been a
nightmare. It becomes clear in the early part of 2008 that Lowell’s
skills have diminished markedly. He has trouble catching up to fast
balls. His reaction time at third is slow. "Passed a diving Lowell"
becomes a frequent phrase heard on Sox broadcasts. By 2010, his contract is looked at as dead weight.

In Florida, on the other hand, Hanley Ramirez continues his development
into one of the game’s best players. In 2009, he wins his first MVP.
leading the Marlins to an unlikely NL East title. For the next ten
years, he is the face of Marlins baseball. He wins a few MVP’s during a
Hall-of-Fame career. In addition, Anibal Sanchez comes back from his
2007 injuries to become an ace pitcher in 2008. He is an elite pitcher
for the next decade. When he retires in 2018, there is discussion that
he deserves a Hall-of-Fame plaque.

The question I have for everyone is, doesn’t 2007 make this all worth it for the Sox?

22 comments… add one

  • The question I have for everyone is, doesn’t 2007 make this all worth it for the Sox?
    So long as Cy Buchholz, Paps, Ellsbury, Lars Anderson et al lead to a another championship or 6 over the next 10-12 years, then yes, it was worth it.

    Tyrel SF November 28, 2007, 1:45 pm
  • the question doesnt entirely make sense becasue the Lowell part of the deal is completed and he’s since been independently signed. besides, I dont think you can ask the question if a world series is worth it comparing greatness on one participant of the trade with injury by the other. maybe if you said hanley ended up MVP and beckett just plain sucked you could ask if the trade was worth it. anyway, id say that a decade of excellence outweighs 1 championship.

    Ric November 28, 2007, 2:14 pm
  • Well, in the same thought, if Santana comes and gives us one (or two) World Series wins, then his contract would be worth it already. At least for me.

    Lar November 28, 2007, 2:16 pm
  • Tough question, Nick. Four years ago I would have traded anything for a championship, screw youth and sentimentality. But now with this luxury of success and a convenient attitude that “win or you’re a loser” is not so flattering a position and more stereotypically “Yankee fan-like” ;-) there’s something romantic and nostalgic for me about watching young guys develop with a team. The idea of seeing a young player spend 6 or 7 years with the same club (an eternity in this era) and grow as a competitor is enticing, if risky. When some posters at SoSH started chatting about “what would we get for Pedroia” I kind of cringed. How cutthroat have we become that we even think about trading Dustin within a month of a title? It’s frankly unsettling.
    So the brain tells me “yeah, the title is worth it” but the heart says “stick with the kids”. It’s a very hard call which the two championships of ’04 and ’07 make even more confusing.

    SF November 28, 2007, 2:35 pm
  • Well, it’s a silly comparison to begin with. You can’t predict injuries. And lowell may never have another year like last, but seriously diminished over a winter?
    Still, your comparison assumes this all happens in a vacuum. That the sox can’t go after another big time pitcher, that their own farm system can’t produce pitching, that they couldn’t possibly find a replacement for mike lowell. They could do all those things.
    So you take the world series definitely, because until it happens, there’s a good chance it won’t. And even if what you’re saying does happen, it doesn’t mean the sox don’t make it back with replacements.

    dan November 28, 2007, 3:05 pm
  • it’s a hypothetical, not a comparison. And I don’t assume that the Sox remain static. In fact, I don’t say that the Sox decline with a diminished Lowell and an injured Beckett. Really, the question is trying to get at how we assess trades in the end. It occurred to me, that going forward, no matter what happens, it’s going to be hard to ever argue that the Beckett trade wasn’t great for the Sox because of the championship it played a big part in bringing.

    Nick-YF November 28, 2007, 3:15 pm
  • Ric, I see your point but I do think Lowell’s signing is an extension of the trade. First of all, by re-signing him they did lose the arb. draft pick they would gotten if they had let the trade run its course. Secondly, his time on the Sox played a huge part in him being re-signed. But I do see your point.

    Nick-YF November 28, 2007, 3:20 pm
  • It’s definitely a good hypothetical question, Nick. Like SF I would have given anything for a championship pre-2004, but now not so much.
    What puts this in perspective is if you look at the question from the perspective of a Devil Ray, Rangers or Royals fan. If given the option of winning a World Series and losing their entire team the next year, they would probably do it in a heartbeat. For us as Red Sox fans to wonder the same question with regards to two players seems somewhat selfish, at least in my oppinion.

    Atheose November 28, 2007, 3:23 pm
  • “If given the option of winning a World Series and losing their entire team the next year, they would probably do it in a heartbeat.”
    That’s funny because didn’t that exactly happen to the Marlins after the Renteria hit?

    Nick-YF November 28, 2007, 3:24 pm
  • It happened TWICE Nick ;-) Once after 1997, and again after 2003.

    Atheose November 28, 2007, 3:28 pm
  • It comes down to potential vs. known commodities. Beckett/Lowell had established track records while Ramirez/Sanchez had not yet proved themselves at the big league level. We can now say that Ramirez is destined for greatness while Sanchez still has potential. I say that the jury is still out on Sanchez… Regardless, the same “what if” scenarios applies to Ramirez/Sanchez. Ramirez recently had surgery to repair a torn labrum, (non-throwing shoulder) and had nagging hamstring issues last season. Sanchez showed us something with quality starts and a no-hitter, but he was sent back down to the minors and had season-ending surgery in June to repair a torn labrum (pitching shoulder). So far, Beckett has had a middle finger boo-boo on his pitching hand, almost won a Cy Young and was the ALCS MVP. Lowell has rebounded nicely from his off-year in 2005 and was the World Series MVP. The Armageddon Scenario you described: The Sox absorb the financial cost and move on (see Clement, Matt; Renteria, Edgar). Ya?

    YourName-SF November 28, 2007, 3:49 pm
  • I completely understand the appeal of young players and their potential, but I think in 2007 we have gone completely overboard. It’s wonderful to have a farm system packed with players that could someday be the next _________, but it’s not the end all be all. Especially as Red Sox and Yankee fans. Both teams make a ton of money and both teams spend a ton of money and free agency and big trades are just part of the game. The farm system should do two things: One it should be able to supply your big league club with players here and there. Two it should be able to provide you the pieces to trade for established players to fill holes. As long as you never leave your farm system empty (Yankees circa 2000-2005) there is nothing wrong with trading some parts to pick up a big name like Beckett or Johan. Sure it will be tough to watch Hanley turn into the next ________, but you know what eases that pain? That big shiny ring on Josh Beckett’s finger that says WORLD CHAMPION. Guys if watching young players was so romantic and so on there would be way more Royals fans. Yankee fans can say all they want about how they don’t want Santana if it costs one of the big 3 but what happens when it’s July again and the Yankees are 10 games out and Joe Girardi preaches patience in the players YOU DIDN’T WANT TO TRADE? The fans will be calling for a Joe Torre rehiring. You have to give to get and fortunately right now BOTH teams have surplus to give.
    So the answer Nick is YES. I make the trade for an ACE like Beckett everytime.

    John - YF November 28, 2007, 4:20 pm
  • // On opening day in 2008, Josh Beckett throws the first pitch of the season in front of 50,000 excited Japanese fans and promptly hears a pop in his arm. //
    What is this, Yankee porn? Did you type this post with one hand?
    Keep dreaming!

    Hudson November 28, 2007, 4:59 pm
  • (P.S. I trust that Paul is working on a post about ARod shredding a finger in a freak offseason blender accident, and Jeter losing his sight in one eye to a Pedro Interleague beanball.)

    Hudson November 28, 2007, 5:02 pm
  • Yes Hudson except those two don’t really go together.. A-Rod is the best player in the game. Period. Jeter is, well, average.
    *holds up Stats to ward off angry Yankee Fans*

    Dionysus November 28, 2007, 5:07 pm
  • He’s an average Hall-of-Famer maybe.
    “What is this, Yankee porn? Did you type this post with one hand?”
    Hudson, you’re a funny man.

    Nick-YF November 28, 2007, 5:29 pm
  • The farm system should do two things: One it should be able to supply your big league club with players here and there. Two it should be able to provide you the pieces to trade for established players to fill holes.
    100% agreed here, John. That’s why I thought the Beckett trade, even in the absence of this year’s postseason, was the exact right kind of deal that a big-money team like the Sox should be executing. That said, baseball isn’t formula. You don’t always trade “young player X” for “experienced and accomplished player Y” if there isn’t need and benefit in both the short and long term. The Beckett deal was made because the Sox probably didn’t feel like replacing Ramirez in their system was an impossibility, but that may not be the case with a guy like Buchholz; they may (rightly or wrongly) feel that he is of greater value, relatively speaking, to the franchise than is a guy like Santana. They may believe that they have a championship squad (or very close to a championship squad) as is (I’d say this is a valid position for them to be taking), and that any needs for 2008 can be addressed incrementally and at a later date and not for $150M. They may feel that Santana + $150M is incrementally better than what they have. But the return has to be commensurate with the risk. If the Sox determine that the cost for Santana is not matched by the potential upside then they shouldn’t make the deal, whether it involves farm players or established major leaguers.
    So yeah, in a vacuum, you always trade the unproven for the Cy Young winner. But we’re obviously not living in a vacuum.
    I honestly don’t know what the “right price” is for the Sox. I certainly like the idea of Santana pitching with Beckett and Matsuzaka for the next three or four years, without a doubt, and I don’t really care about the contract obsessively. So is it Ellsbury? Ellsbury plus Buchholz? Ellsbury, Buchholz, Bowden? Add Lowrie too? I have no f*cking idea. I would love to be able to keep rooting for the young guys, but as long as there is always a core of young guys I can stomach rooting for different young guys I guess.

    SF November 28, 2007, 5:56 pm
  • Jeter is average, LOL. You are your jokes.
    SF, great comment. Only thing I will say is that the Yankees and Sox are in different places right now. The Sox have an Ace, the Yankees NEED an ace. So their value is really predicated on the individual situations. If I am the Sox I may go Jacoby+ simply to go in for the kill. Adding Johan puts them in the nearly unbeatable category come playoff time.

    John - YF November 28, 2007, 6:44 pm
  • No matter what happens from here on out, the Beckett-Lowell trade has been worth it, no matter what wacky future scenarios anyone comes up with. Period.

    The Omnipotent Q November 28, 2007, 10:23 pm
  • While we’re playing the what-if game:
    John Henry didn’t want Beckett. He wanted to sign A.J. Burnett.
    What kind of offseason discussions would we be having if the Sox had made THAT move, instead?

    Paul SF November 28, 2007, 10:40 pm
  • yes

    Pat (SF) November 28, 2007, 11:33 pm
  • // The Beckett deal was made because the Sox probably didn’t feel like replacing Ramirez in their system was an impossibility, … //
    As it turned out, replacing Hanley *has* proven nearly impossible, as the Sox have misfired repeatedly on their hires at short, and are still weak at the position (Pedroia at least makes up for Lugo’s weak bat, reversing the usual SS/2B hitting dynamic). Yet the trade was still worth doing.

    Hudson November 29, 2007, 6:46 pm

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