Josh Beckett was almost traded to the Rangers instead of the Red Sox

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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.

The Red Sox are calling up Rafael Devers

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Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox are calling up third base prospect Rafael Devers. He’ll be in Seattle for the start of the three-game set between the Sox and Mariners.

Devers, 20, is the top prospect in the Boston system according to MLB Pipeline. He has spent most of his season with Double-A Portland, where he hit .300/.369/.575 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI in 320 plate appearances. He was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket after the All-Star break. In eight games with Pawtucket, Devers hit .355/.412/.581 with two home runs and four RBI.

There is still just over a week until the non-waiver trade deadline, but perhaps the Red Sox seem confident Devers can be the answer to the third base problem.

Stephen Strasburg exited Sunday’s start with an apparent injury

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It’s not a good day if you’re a star starting pitcher. First Clayton Kershaw, now Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals’ right-hander lasted only two innings in Sunday’s start against the Diamondbacks, leaving with an apparent injury. Strasburg held the D-Backs to a hit and three walks with two strikeouts without allowing a run. Matt Grace relieved him in the third inning.

Including Strasburg’s two innings on Sunday, he’s carrying a 3.25 ERA with a 141/37 K/BB ratio in 121 2/3 innings.

The Nationals should pass along word on Strasburg’s condition shortly.