Monday, November 21, 2005


That's how I feel about the proposed/consummated Josh Beckett trade, for a few reasons. I know Josh Beckett is an amazing talent who has more than succeeded at the highest level. I know the Sox need another ace in the rotation. I know there is a chance that neither Hanley Ramirez or Anibel Sanchez reach their "ceilings". But I also know that Josh Beckett is kind of an asshole.

Sure he's 25, and most people are assholes at that age, and sure, several of his assholicious moments have come at the expense of the Yankees (which is nice), and sure, when an asshole is OUR asshole I tend to tolerate them a bit more (this is a lie; I am all things intolerant) - but can you see the fireworks between this kid and Schilling? Is this not the worst-case scenario for the clubhouse, and best-case scenario for Dan Shaughnessy? I don't know, maybe I overrate these things. But I like to see guys pulling for each other, I like a harmonious clubhouse. I think in a town like Boston where you can never get away from the office, it helps to like the people you work with. This is the only town in baseball where the clubhouse is your quiet time.

All the above being said (rather laboriously, but still), I have no trouble at all with the acquisition of Beckett. Rationally, I don't even have a big problem with the price we paid. You always go with the proven commodity, and Beckett is an historical Yankee-killer, although those were the pre-juice-poster-boys Yankees. No matter how you look at it, at 25 years old, with killer stuff, he has a lot to offer this ballclub for years to come. He's an ace.

Here's the thing though: I was so looking forward to watching these kids come up. Tracking Hanley and Sanchez (et alia) through the Sox farm system was(is) tremendous fun; it was like gambling with no downside. Now they're gone, and Lester is the last remaining blue-chip prospect with all-star talent who is close to the bigs. I love Pedroia, he's a gamer and I know he'll be a successful ballplayer, but it's not quite the same with him. He's a fait accompli; some of the romance is missing for me. With the others we had a chance to watch three exciting could be-should be gems blossom, and just possibly catch fire simultaneously - can you imagine what if? And now it's gone, pending physicals. Alas, that's the business, and that's the game. I wish them well, and will soldier on.

OK, ok, realistically I understand that Hanley is most likely the latest in a long string of guys with sports bodies and gas station brains (no offense to the pump jockeys out there; I've done it). What can you do? For whatever reason, some guys never quite "get it". Sanchez, based on what I have read, projects to be a pretty useful major leaguer. But will he be Josh Beckett? I don't know that I'd fly to Vegas on those odds.

So the Sox get better. The Mike Lowell question remains to be answered, and at the price tag, it might have some impact on the Manny question. Since my behavior in these matters is to focus on the underdog aspect of the game, I am hoping they keep him, he comes back to have a monster year, and Youks becomes the greatest first baseman since, er, Kevin Millar. I like to ignore likelihoods.

You see, if I have to have a point, this is it: it's fun to hope for crazy shit.

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