Boston Red Sox: Josh Beckett or Hanley Ramirez?

Vince RichardsCorrespondent IFebruary 13, 2008

In 2005 the Boston Red Sox and Florida Marlins completed a trade which sent SS Hanley Ramirez, P Anibal Sanchez, and P Jesus Delgado to Florida for SP Josh Beckett, 3B Mike Lowell, and RP Guillermo Mota.

Was this trade beneficial on the Red Sox’ part, or did it favor the Marlins instead?

There is no doubt about it, without Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell the Red Sox would have not won the World Series.

Lowell, the World Series MVP, had a career year hitting 21 HR's, 120 RBI's, and had hit above .300 for the first time in his 9 season career. In the 2007 playoffs, Lowell came through again driving in 15 runs and hitting .353.

In terms of pitching, Josh Beckett was the hero of the 2007 World Champion Red Sox. He led the MLB with 20 wins and struck out 194 batters. Like Lowell, Beckett’s performance excelled in the postseason going a perfect 4-0, with a 1.20 ERA and striking out 8.75 per game. With all his success in the regular season, he threw a complete game shut out in his first postseason appearance with the Sox.

We all watched as the Sox excelled through the regular season, keeping the division lead almost all year, then dominating in the playoffs, but would this be possible if the 2005 trade had not happened? 

The number one prospect for the Red Sox at the time of the trade was indeed Hanley Ramirez, who broke out last year with 29 HR's, 81 RBI's, a .332 BA, and also stole 51 bases for the Marlins. Ramirez will arguably be ranked the top shortstop in the NL at the beginning of the 2008 season, competing with Troy Tulowitzki and Jimmy Rollins.

If the trade was not processed, you would have to think of who would take Beckett and Lowell's spot in the lineup. Most likely Hanley Ramirez would be at SS or 3B along with Julio Lugo and Bucholz or Lester would be in the starting rotation. Maybe Jonathan Papelbon would have to be a starter, leaving a big hole in the closer position for the Red Sox. 

The Red Sox would be solid contenders this season if they didn’t have Lowell and Beckett, because last year Ramirez would have been better than he was on Florida, and Bucholz and Lester would be developed.

Hanley Ramirez is only 24, whereas Mike Lowell turns 34 in 11 days. The difference in age could have helped the Red Sox in the long run, but the fact of the matter is they would not have been so successful last season if they didn’t have Lowell and Beckett, who carried them through the playoffs.