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?