Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Hey There, Good Looking

We interrupt this winter-long slumber to gape at the Sox' recent headline-grabbing effort.

For a team without a GM, the Sox sure pulled off a dandy deal yesterday, grabbing 25 year-old stud righthander Josh Beckett from the Marlins for stud prospects Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez, and a lower-level arm. The Sox also got 3b Mike Lowell in the deal. Manny Ramirez and Bill Mueller, that bell tolls for thee.

My first reaction when I heard about the deal borders on heresy, but here goes: I see Beckett as Pedro Lite. For the second time in 8 years, the Sox have swung a deal for a young, potentially dominant power arm entering the prime of his career. I have no illusions that Josh Beckett will ever be Pedro Martinez, but he doesn't have to be. He just has to be Josh Beckett plus 40-50 more innings every year, and he doesn't have the Messiah pressure that was placed upon Pedro from Day 1 in Boston. Beckett's proven he has the makeup to withstand big game heat, pitching gems in the NLCS and World Series in 2002 - neutering the Yankees in the latter on short rest, no less. All he has to prove now is that he can eat a few more innings during the regular season, and with Curt Schilling as mentor for at least 1 year, I'd place odds on his ability to do just that.

While it places me squarely in the minority, I'm a little bit excited about Mike Lowell, too. The erstwhile slugger put the p.u. in putrid last season, but his dead-pull stroke in combo with Fenway's inviting left-field environs may be just the ticket to his redemption. Couple that with his reputation for hard work, and the Sox may be able to catch lightning in a bottle next year. And if not, we'll have someone to replace Kevin Millar as the object of the Nation's scorn.

Finally, a bit of good news in an off-season of discontent. And for what it's worth, I'm still waiting for Theo to walk back in that door, and I will until they drag some stiff up to a podium to announce his hiring. Please Lord let it not be Jim Bowden.

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