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Beckett deal for Texas' Blalock near

November 20

Miami Herald (registration required): "Josh Beckett never would have won the deciding Game 6 of the 2003 World Series at Yankee Stadium if not for Texas Rangers third baseman Hank Blalock. Now, in an odd twist of fate, those two players might end up swapping jerseys as part of a simmering deal that also would result in the departure of longtime third baseman Mike Lowell from the Marlins."


(someone want to post the full article feel free)



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.



Sources: Marlins close to fire sale

November 20

Palm Beach Post: "As the Marlins and Rangers continued talking Saturday about Florida sending Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Texas, multiple baseball sources said more of their Marlins teammates could soon leave the team, too."



Our lack of support forces Marlins' hand

November 20

Miami Herald (registration required): "We tend to knee-jerk when we hear Josh Beckett might be traded. We bring our distrust and wounds and baggage to what should be a cash-cold analysis of a baseball transaction."



Sources: Texas in serious trade talks for Beckett

November 20

Dallas Morning News (registration required): " Major league sources confirmed Saturday that the Rangers were in serious talks with Florida about right-hander Josh Beckett, the 2003 World Series MVP. The talks were serious enough that the Rangers were willing to include third baseman Hank Blalock, once considered untouchable, in the proposed deal."



Rangers not keen on trading future

November 20

Fort Worth Star-Telegram (registration required): "The Florida Marlins want either John Danks or Thomas Diamond. The Rangers are reluctant to give up either of their top two minor league pitching prospects, but could give up Danks along with third baseman Hank Blalock in a trade with the Florida Marlins for pitcher Josh Beckett and third baseman Mike Lowell."



Sox set bait for Beckett, Burnett: Interview Wilder for GM on busy day

By Tony Massarotti

Sunday, November 20, 2005 - Updated: 12:57 AM EST


[E-mail article to a friend] E-mail article [View text Version] View text version [View Most Popular] View most popular

The Red Sox formally introduced the latest candidate to replace departed general manager Theo Epstein, but the work taking place behind the scenes at Fenway Park was focused on a potential blockbuster acquisition.

According to baseball sources, both the Red Sox and Texas Rangers are having serious discussions with the Florida Marlins about a trade for right-hander Josh Beckett. The 25-year-old Beckett is regarded as one of the most gifted young power pitchers in the game, someone who would give the Red Sox the dominating presence they lacked atop their rotation during the 2005 season.

Along with Beckett, who went 15-8 with a 3.38 ERA and 166 strikeouts in 178 innings last season, the Sox or Rangers would be obligated to take Florida third baseman Mike Lowell, who had a miserable 2005. For the Marlins, the move is designed to free up payroll so that they can lock up left-hander Dontrelle Willis with a new contract.

Lowell, who is due $9 million per season in each of the 2006 and 07 campaigns, batted just .236 with eight home runs and 58 RBI this year. Prior to 2005, the 31-year-old Lowell averaged 25 home runs and 95 RBI over the previous five seasons. The Marlins tried to move Lowell at the July trading deadline by packaging him with right-hander A.J. Burnett, who is now a free agent.

For the Red Sox, Lowell would be a fit, at least positionally, because they have openings at both third base and first base given the free agent status of Bill Mueller and Kevin Millar. Nonetheless, the price tag could be steep: highly regarded shortstop prospect Hanley Ramirez and either right-hander Anibal Sanchez or left-hander Jon Lester, the latter of whom is more highly regarded than righty Jonathan Papelbon by some in the Red Sox organization.

The Rangers, like the Red Sox, have a major need for starting pitching and would have to part with All-Star third baseman Hank Blalock along with a pitching prospect, perhaps John Danks. The Sox deal would obviously save Florida more money given that none of the Sox prospects are earning major league salaries, but Blalock would give the Marlins an immediate replacement at third base. [continue]



Twins Hot For Lowell

November 20

St. Paul Pioneer Press (registration required): "Word within baseball circles is that the Twins are trying to trade with the Florida Marlins for third baseman Mike Lowell... Former St. Paul Saints infielder Kevin Millar of the Red Sox is a free-agent possibility for the Twins."


(someone got this one???)



Ichiro-Hargrove feud may benefit Yanks

November 20

Newsday: "The Yankees recently inquired about the availability of Ichiro Suzuki but were told by Mariners ownership they will not trade him... The Yankees also inquired about bringing back Alfonso Soriano to play center but were unwilling to trade Cano and/or Wang (Texas could have had Cano as the throw-in in the A-Rod trade). The Marlins requested the same two players for Juan Pierre"



Marlins may sign Clayton

November 20

Miami Herald (scroll down) (registration required): "The Marlins have shown interest in Arizona free agent SS Royce Clayton (.270, 44 RBI). Robert Andino isn't ready, and Alex Gonzalez wants a three-year deal."



Rockies Working on Deal for Fuentes

November 20

Denver Post (Scroll Down): "The Rockies continue working on a multiyear deal for closer Brian Fuentes, rebuffing teams that have asked about him in trades. The Marlins inquired and have let it be known reliever Guillermo Mota and catcher Paul Lo Duca are available."





This is like a list of depressing articles all around.

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Wang/Cano for Pierre would have been a steal, too, on the Marlins part. Oh well.



Yankees won't give up one for Torii Hunter, they won't give up both for Pierre.


Oh I know - one of the articles said they turned down that package for Pierre. I wouldn't expect them to do that trade either, unless Brian Cashman became incompetent overnight.

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I think we would have to give up a first rounder if we sign clayton. It seems a little inconsistent to give up a pick to sign this guy for this season. I do like him as a player though.



Only if he's offered arbitration, and even then I'm not sure it's a first rounder because he might not be a Type A. All the Fish have to do is wait until after the deadline (around December 7, give or take a few days), see if the D-Backs offer him arby (which is doubtful with all the shortstops they have in their system), and if they don't extend an offer without fear of losing any draft picks.

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