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Report: Texas has Beckett offer on table


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The Rangers have agreed to include either Minor League pitchers John Danks or Thomas Diamond in a trade with the Marlins for pitcher Josh Beckett, according to published reports in the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram.


Citing Major League sources, the reports claim the Rangers, who are also competing with the Red Sox for Beckett, are waiting to hear from the Marlins. The proposed deal is Blalock and a pitching prospect for Beckett and veteran third baseman Mike Lowell.


The Red Sox are offering Minor League shortstop Hanley Ramirez and a pitcher, according to the reports.


Blalock, 25, a two-time All-Star third baseman, hit .263 with 25 home runs and 92 RBIs in 2005. He also led the American League in fielding at his position. The San Diego native is scheduled to make $3 million in 2006, $4.75 million in 2007 and $5.9 million in 2008.


Lowell, who will be 32 on Feb. 24, is owed $18 million over the next two seasons.


Beckett, 25, who is arbitration-eligible and could make up to $4 million next season, went 15-8 with a 3.37 ERA for the Marlins in 2005. Since the start of the 2002 season, he is 39-32 with a 3.58 ERA. However, there are some concerns about his shoulder and recurring blisters on the middle finger of his throwing hand. He has been on the disabled list seven times during the last four seasons.


According to an MLB source on Saturday, the Marlins may turn around and package Blalock as part of another deal. If the Marlins do acquire and keep Blalock, they would have an interesting scenario at third base because Miguel Cabrera, used primarily in left field since being brought up in 2003, has made it clear he wants to return to third base.


Several sources have repeatedly said over the past few weeks that the Marlins are considering trading a number of their high-priced players, including Carlos Delgado, Juan Pierre, Luis Castillo and Paul Lo Duca, in moves that could reduce the payroll to less than $50 million. The team's payroll was $65 million in 2005.


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The Rangers initially hesitated at the idea of including Danks or Diamond, the first club's first picks in the 2003 and 2004 First-Year Player Drafts, respectively. That appears to have changed.


There have been talks about trading second baseman Alfonso Soriano since he arrived before the 2004 season, but all previous talk has been discarded as speculation. He could make up to $10 million in 2006.


The Rangers' payroll for the 2005 season was approximately $55 million.


I think this is the final straw.. At first the Rangers werent willing to part with those prospects now they are!! They are really trying to get a hold of Josh...

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MIAMI -- Eager to acquire Josh Beckett, the Texas Rangers are aggressively trying to complete a trade with the Marlins for the hard-throwing right-hander.


A source familiar with the negotiations says Rangers executives worked diligently on Sunday, trying to agree on a key Minor League prospect believed to be the holdup in getting the trade completed.


The Rangers are shopping All-Star third baseman Hank Blalock and Minor League pitchers John Danks or Thomas Diamond for Beckett and third baseman Mike Lowell.


The two clubs set a 48-hour deadline Sunday to work out a deal before Tuesday. It's unclear if that deadline is set in stone. One reason for the delay on Sunday was that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who is in Europe, was not easily accessible. This is a unique trade because it is being negotiated by the owners of both clubs.


Texas owner Tom Hicks has had numerous discussions with Loria. The Rangers are eager to get the deal done because other teams have shown interest in Beckett. The source said the Rangers want to secure Beckett before the Red Sox get deeply involved.


Initially, the Rangers were reluctant to deal either Danks or Diamond. The Marlins are believed to be more interested in Danks.


The Marlins are significantly reducing payroll, perhaps in the $40 million range. The franchise's stability is in question because of stalled stadium talks.


Beckett, the 2003 World Series MVP, is expected to earn between $4.2 million and $4.7 million in 2006 through arbitration. The right-hander from Spring, Texas, is not eligible for free agency until after the 2007 season. Should Beckett post numbers similar to his 15-8 record and 3.37 ERA in 2005, he would be in line to make about $7.5 million in 2007.


The reason the Marlins are shopping Beckett is to avoid paying the $18 million still owed to Lowell, a three-time All-Star coming off his worst big-league season. Lowell, who won his first Gold Glove Award, hit .236 with eight home runs and 58 RBIs.


By dealing both Beckett and Lowell, the Marlins would rid themselves of roughly $13.2 million in player contracts in 2006.


Blalock, a power-hitting third baseman, is under contract for three more seasons. He is signed for $3 million in 2006.


The Marlins have not approached Beckett about signing a long-term contract this offseason. Recently, Beckett called the Marlins' front office pushing for the team to bring back pitching coach Mark Wiley.


The Marlins, however, went in another direction, hiring Rick Kranitz out of the Cubs' Minor League system as their new pitching coach.


"Mark is awesome," Beckett said. "He's a big numbers guy, and he really helped me a lot."


IMO this the best thing that could have happened to the Fish, now this is bidding war and both teams will up their offer before the deadline

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