Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell were traded to the Red Sox in a November of 2005 blockbuster deal that included then-prospects Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez going to the Marlins, but Rob Bradford of WEEI.com has an interesting article about how Beckett and Lowell were nearly dealt to the Rangers instead.
According to Bradford the Rangers offered Hank Blalock, who at the time was 24 years old and coming off three straight 25-homers seasons, plus then-prospect John Danks. Blalock eventually flamed out, while Danks was traded to the White Sox and has developed into one of the better left-handed starters in baseball.
Beckett recalled the Rangers’ interest and the Texas native would have been happy with that trade, but told Bradford that he was even more excited to play for the Red Sox:
I just remember I called Mike Lowell immediately after I heard from John Henry and we were talking about how cool it would be to go to Fenway every day. I remember that call to Mikey Lowell. We were like little kids. We were giddy.
In retrospect it’s a rare blockbuster that has worked out well for both sides. Beckett has thrown 1,082 innings with a 4.01 ERA for the Red Sox and Lowell hit .290 with an .814 OPS in five seasons for Boston, winning a World Series together in 2007. On the other hand, Ramirez developed into one of the best shortstops in baseball for the Marlins and Sanchez has thrown 636 innings with a 3.80 ERA in Florida.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.