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"Beckett dangled as trade bait"


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Beckett dangled as trade bait

 

 

Eager to lower payroll, team aims to link Lowell in deal for right-hander

 

By Mike Berardino

and Juan C. Rodriguez Staff writers

Posted November 20 2005

 

Even the Marlins' oft-proclaimed organizational philosophy of putting a premium on pitching doesn't appear impermeable to their fiscal realities.

 

Desperate to rid themselves of Mike Lowell and the $18 million left on his contract, the Marlins are entertaining trade scenarios in which they'd attach him to one of their two best starting pitchers. The Marlins are listening to offers for 2003 World Series MVP Josh Beckett as long as the shopper drops Lowell into the cart as well.

 

The Texas Rangers are among the teams with whom the Marlins have discussed such a deal, but according to a league source familiar with the talks, nothing is imminent. Other clubs open to a Lowell-Beckett package are the Red Sox and Tigers. The Angels, Dodgers, Yankees, Phillies, Pirates and Giants could enter the bidding as well.

 

"Somebody made it sound like it was close to happening," the source said. "That's not the case. It's really just in discussions. It's not that far down the road."

 

The Marlins are laying groundwork with several teams that ultimately could produce a blockbuster deal. Team officials have not yet received a firm payroll target, but the Marlins likely will open 2006 with a payroll in the $50 million range, a decrease of nearly 25 percent.

 

Lowell is central to the pare-down strategy. Their approach is similar to what the Marlins tried to do before the July 31 trade deadline, when they dangled pending free-agent A.J. Burnett if teams would take Lowell as well.

 

"If they can dump Lowell, they will pretty much listen to anything," said an executive from one club monitoring the Beckett sweepstakes. "That's their biggest priority. They have a tremendous need to dump Lowell and [Carlos] Delgado, too."

 

Beckett is arbitration eligible and won't qualify for free agency until after the 2007 season. He and Lowell will combine to make roughly $28 million the next two years.

 

Rangers third baseman Hank Blalock, who the Marlins might take back along with prospects in a deal from the Rangers, is due less than half that ($13.95 million including a buyout of a option year) through 2008.

 

Getting maximum value for Beckett might not be as easy as some would think. More troubling for some clubs than his escalating salaries will be Beckett's late-season shoulder issues. Beckett spent the final six weeks needing 20 pitches at the start of each inning, including warm-ups, to get loose.

 

At season's end he underwent a pair of MRI exams, including one with orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, but surgery was deemed unnecessary.

 

"That's why pitchers are so risky, no matter what," the executive said. "Our doctors would have to determine if we can work through this in rehab and keep him healthy or is this a time bomb that can explode any minute? With Beckett, you just don't know yet."

 

The executive said even with Beckett in the deal, the Marlins had given indications they might still be willing to pay some of Lowell's remaining $18 million salary under the right circumstances.

 

Blalock, 24, made the All-Star team his first two full seasons in the majors and has averaged 29 home runs and 97 RBI the past three years, but a source who has spoken with the Marlins said they would likely spin him to another club.

 

Though Blalock is a Gold Glove caliber third baseman, the Marlins already have Miguel Cabrera to play there.

 

In addition, Blalock hit just .196 against lefties last year, and just five of his 25 homers came away from the Rangers' cozy home ballpark.

 

A quiet type, Blalock also clashed with Rangers manager Buck Showalter. Some in the organization were critical of Blalock's off-field habits.

 

"It all seems to be in the preliminary stages," the executive said. "I think they're just getting started and shopping it around. ... They seem pretty much open to moving anybody who is making any money."

 

Juan C. Rodriguez can be reached at jcrodriguez@sun-sentinel.com.

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a source who has spoken with the Marlins said they would likely spin him to another club.

 

That part caught my attention. I'm thinking Piazza here.

 

we trade Beckett and Lowell for Blalock and prospects.

 

Then we trade Blalock for prospects...

 

So it ends up being Beckett and Lowell for prospects.

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a source who has spoken with the Marlins said they would likely spin him to another club.

 

That part caught my attention. I'm thinking Piazza here.

 

we trade Beckett and Lowell for Blalock and prospects.

 

Then we trade Blalock for prospects...

 

So it ends up being Beckett and Lowell for prospects.

 

 

CORRECT! Sucks huh??

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Or we trade Blalock for pitching.

 

 

Tell me if you disagree here, but I don't see how.

 

The Rangers are more pitching starved than any team out there, they're so desperate that trading Blalock and paying Lowell isn't even the hang up, it's giving up one of their pitching prospects.

 

So, if Blalock has any value for a mid rotation or #2 pitcher (which, I doubt given his horrendous road splits and BA against lefties) the Rangers would pull the trigger in a second. As for an AL West team not wanting to send their player to the Rangers...the three other teams are set at third-base (Chavez, Figgins/McPherson, Beltre). It may end up being Delgado or Pierre spun for pitching and Blalock spun for an outfielder or kept as our first baseman, but I can't see Blalock spun for pitching. If some team wants just him and is offering pitching in return, the Rangers would deal him in a second.

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Swift, I wasn't married to the post or suggesting the only option was to trade him for pitching, and perhaps I should have expanded the thought to include a major league level position player, but the point of my post as to suggest Blalock could be traded for something other than prospects.

 

And I stick by that.

 

Certainly Blalock would bring a major league pitcher or position player, I don't know how you could argue that he wouldn't. If you threw in the Texas prospect too, you would receive even a better player in return.

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TSwift, you're underestimating Blalock's value. He's 24 years old and has been an all-star twice already. He's got tons of talent. I think a team with a lot of pitching talent and not enough offense would be willing to trade one of their pitchers for Blalock.

 

 

Think: The Rangers have no qualms about dealing Blalock (it isn't as if we're prying away Teixeira here), the Rangers have no qualms about assuming Lowell's salary, the only hang up is dealing one of their overrated pitching prospects.

 

If it's a one for one of Blalock for, let's say, Carlos Silva, the Rangers do that deal in a second.

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They're just trying to get the best deal possible. Blalock is a 24 year old two-time all-star.

 

 

Who hits .190 against lefties and doesn't hit a lick outside of Arlington.

 

Take Blalock out of Texas and he's simply a left-handed 2005 Mike Lowell.

 

Currently this might be accurate (if not overexaggerated, but I get your point and mostly agree with it), but Blalock is 24 and should develop more power as he gets older, unlike Lowell who is in his 30's and on the downside of his career.

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Guest markotsay7

They're just trying to get the best deal possible. Blalock is a 24 year old two-time all-star.

 

 

Who struck out over 130 times and had a .318 OBP last year, while being in a tremendous hitter's park.

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Isn't the fact that this article shows that Capozzi was blowing steam out of his ass about how the trade was imminent make everyone feel better?

 

 

No...because it's still out there.

 

There's a difference between someone on the team offering a comment of "Beckett's not being offered" and "the trade's not imminent, just in discussion stages."

 

Please, get your head out of the sand.

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Let's say for a moment that Josh Beckett would be a free agent this year. How much would he command? I'd say probably $12M per. If we assume Beckett will get $4M this year and $6M next year in arbitration, then any team acquiring him would be saving $14M over an equivalent FA pitcher. That's some serious change. Let's also say that Lowell is worth $6.5M per as a gold glove 3Bman who will likely hit around .270 the next two years. If a team takes both, and all of Lowell's salary, then they would still be $9M to the good, or thereabouts.

 

That in itself should be sufficient to bring a Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez.

 

Look at all the attention AJ Burnett is getting on the FA market this year.....primarily because it's slim pickings. Where else could a team possibly get a starter of Beckett's caliber? (Beckett>Burnett). Next year it's a different situation with a better FA class. Beckett's trade value may never be higher. I can see us trading Beckett, but we had better get some great value in return. Beinfest would be wise to move slowly on this one and see how much of a frenzy he can develop.

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I still maintain, Beckett should bring one for one any player not named Pujols, Bonds or ARod.

 

You're guaranteed him for two years at an affordable rate, he's got a clean bill of health from Dr. Andrews (who loves to schedule "exploratory" surgery), and he's developed a splitter to help reduce his blister problems. Plus he's young, and a rare player who pitches better when the games mean more. With no frontline starters available on the market or reportedly through trade, he's the trading equivalent of a blank check.

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