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.

Manoah, Merrifield lead Blue Jays to 3-1 win over Rays

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Alek Manoah pitched seven shutout innings, Whit Merrifield hit a three-run homer and the Toronto Blue Jays regained the top AL wild-card spot with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night.

The Blue Jays lead Tampa Bay by one game. The top wild card finisher will host all games in their best-of-three opening-round series, while the other two wild cards play strictly on the road.

Manoah (15-7) scattered four hits, walked two and struck out eight while throwing a season-high 113 pitches. The righty worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the sixth by striking out Randy Arozarena and getting a flyout from David Peralta.

Jordan Romano replaced Tim Mayza with two on and two outs in the eighth and allowed pinch-hitter Harold Ramirez‘s RBI infield single but avoided further damage by striking out Manuel Margot. Romano finished the game to get his 35th save in 41 chances.

Tampa Bay starter Drew Rasmussen (10-7) gave up one run, three hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five.

The teams combined for 31 runs, with the Rays accounting for 20, in the first two games of the series that were both won by Tampa Bay.

Arozarena got the Rays’ first hit off Manoah with a two-out double in the fourth. He became the first Tampa Bay player and 20th big leaguer to have 40 doubles, 20 homers and 30 stolen bases in a season.

Teoscar Hernandez ended Rasmussen’s night with a double in the seventh. Brooks Raley entered and, after a walk to pinch-hitter Danny Jansen, Merrifield made it 3-0 on his 10th homer of the season.

Merrifield homered twice in Thursday night’s 10-5 loss to the Rays.

Alejandro Kirk opened the second with a single before Rasmussen retired 12 in a row until Merrifield’s leadoff double in the sixth.

Plate umpire Corey Blaser took a hard foul ball by Margot on the mask in the eighth but remained in the game.

HONORING KK

The Rays posted a thank you on the message board for CF Kevin Kiermaier, who is out for the season following left hip surgery. Kiermaier is in the final season of a $53.5 million, six-year contract that includes a club option for 2023 that is expected to be declined.

TEAM AWARDS

Rays ace Shane McClanahan was voted the Don Zimmer MVP award winner by members of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. CF Jose Siri was selected as the outstanding rookie. 3B Yandy Diaz received the Paul C. Smith Champions award as the player who best exemplifies the spirit of true professionalism on and off the field.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: RHP Nate Pearson (lat strain) allowed three runs and three hits over two-thirds of an inning for Triple-A Buffalo.

Rays: 2B Brandon Lowe (lower back) is done for the season.

UP NEXT

McClanahan (12-6), pulled from his start Tuesday in the fifth inning due to neck tightness, will face Blue Jays RHP Ross Stripling (8-4) on Sunday.