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.
Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.
This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.
So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.
The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.
As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.
The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.
Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.
Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.