Rangers, Red Sox to move on with Lowell deal off

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The Mike Lowell-for-Max Ramirez deal is off, with the Rangers canceling the trade after a physical determined Boston’s third baseman would need surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament.
The surgery has a recovery timetable of 6-8 weeks, so Lowell should be fine for the start of spring training. Still, the Rangers didn’t want to take the chance, even with the Red Sox set to pay $9 million of the $12 million that Lowell was owed.
The Rangers could now turn back to Jermaine Dye or Vladimir Guerrero in their pursuit of a right-handed hitter. Both have more offensive upside than Lowell, though a healthy Lowell would have a lot more to offer if needed in the field.
The Red Sox will be able to search for a better deal in spring training. Ramirez could have proven useful, but he wasn’t in Boston’s immediate plans for 2010. If Lowell shows he’s healthy in March, perhaps another team will be willing to pick up more than $3 million of what he’s owed.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.