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Sox Mota-vated

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff  November 24, 2005 11:12 PM

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It's a done deal. And now it's a seven-player trade.

The Red Sox and Marlins Thursday night officially announced the trade in which the Sox will acquire pitcher Josh Beckett and third baseman Mike Lowell, but not before Marlins reliever Guillermo Mota was added to the deal along with another minor leaguer coming from the Red Sox, right-hander Harvey Garcia.

In addition to Garcia and right-handed prospect Jesus Delgado, the Marlins also get two of the Red Sox top ranked prospects, highly regarded shortstop Hanley Ramirez and up and coming right-handed pitcher Anibal Sanchez.

Beckett had a career-high 15 wins to go with 8 losses with a 3.38 ERA in 29 starts last season while having some problems with his shoulder and recurring blisters on his right middle finger.

The Globe's Chris Snow wrote on Thursday that Beckett "underwent two MRIs last month and visited noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews, who diagnosed Beckett with tendinitis. Beckett told Florida reporters that the diagnosis met his expectations. If he'd been more severely hurt, Beckett reasoned, he wouldn't have been able to maintain his velocity as he had. The Marlins official said Beckett was throwing 97 miles per hour in his final start, when he shut out the Braves for seven innings."

According to the Florida Sun-Sentinel, when Beckett was asked if he was glad to be leaving the gutted Marlins, he replied "Yes and no. I'm still going to miss a lot of people. They were always so great to me through the bad times the good times. The ownership there has always been a class act to me... It's an exciting time. I think everybody goes through this once or twice in their career. I was kind of shocked when my name started coming up. To go to Boston to play... I remember as a kid I had a Boston hat and I live in Texas."

During the 2003 postseason, the then 23-year-old Beckett pitched complete-game shutouts in Game 5 of the NLCS vs. the Cubs and again against the Yankees, on three days rest, in a clinching Game 6 of the World Series where he was the MVP. In 103 career starts over four-plus seasons, the Marlins right-hander is 41-34 with a 3.46 ERA.

National league Gold Glove winner Mike Lowell is expected to be the Red Sox starting third baseman next season. A .272 career hitter, Lowell hit only .236 with 8 homers and 58 RBIs in 150 games in 2005 after averaging 25 homers and 95 RBIs for five seasons prior. He was an All-Star in 2002, '03, and '04, and is guaranteed $9 million each of the next two seasons.

The 32-year-old Mota was 2-2 with a 4.70 ERA last season and had 60 strikeouts in 67 innings of relief with the Marlins. He started the 2005 season as the Marlins closer but landed on the disabled list in early May when an MRI revealed an inflamed right shoulder as former Red Sox reliever Todd Jones took over the closer role. On Sept. 22, Mota underwent another MRI exam, which revealed inflammation in the shoulder again.

Mota has played seven seasons in the big leagues, breaking in with the Expos in 1999 before being traded to the Dodgers in 2002. In 2003 with LA, he was 6-3 as a reliever with a 1.97 ERA in 76 games and struck out 99 in 105 innings.

During the 2004 season, Mota was traded from the Dodgers to the Marlins along with outfielder Juan Encarnacion and catcher Paul Lo Duca. The 6-foot-4 Dominican born right-hander has a career ERA of 3.61. He made $2.6 million in 2005 and is eligible for arbitration this offseason. He can be a free agent after the 2006 season.

The 21-year-old Ramirez had been touted as the Red Sox shortstop of the future with a solid bat, excellent range, and a strong arm. Ramirez had been ranked the No. 1 prospect in the Red Sox organization twice by Baseball America but he had a somewhat disappointing season at Double-A Portland in 2005, especially in the power department. Ramirez hit just six homers with 52 RBI while batting .271 for the Sea Dogs.

Anibal Sanchez, one of the highest ranked pitchers in the Sox organization, went 3-5 with a 3.45 ERA in Double-A Portland last season but struck out 63 while walking only 16 in 57 1/3 innings with the Sea Dogs. At Single-A Wilmington, the 21-year-old Sanchez went 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA, striking out 95 in 78 2/3 innings.

Red Sox prospect Harvey Garcia, 21, went 3-5 with six saves and a 2.01 ERA (10 ER/44.2 IP) in 32 relief appearances for Bostonís Greenville affiliate, his first full season in Single-A and his first campaign pitching exclusively in relief. A mid-season South Atlantic League All-Star, the 6-foot-2, 170-pound right-hander finished the year with 54 strikeouts and just 18 walks in 44.2 innings, an average of 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings. Prior to 2005, Garcia made 39 of his first 51 professional appearances as a starter in the Marlins (2001-02) and Red Sox organizations.

Jesus Delgado, 21, went 7-3 with two saves and a 3.50 ERA (28 ER/72.0 IP) in 33 relief appearances last season for Single-A Greenville. Signed by the Red Sox as a non-drafted free agent in February of 2001, the Venezuelan right-hander struck out 69 batters in 72.0 innings and held South Atlantic League hitters to a .215 batting average.

The trade had been reported and confirmed by a number of baseball sources earlier in the week, but it wasn't officially announced until the players passed their physicals, with the condition of Beckett's shoulder being of primary importance to the Red Sox.

Florida general manager Larry Beinfest told The Associated Press that the Marlins were forced to purge payroll.

"This trade is difficult, but necessary because of the payroll market correction," he said. "Mike and Josh were key players on our 2003 World Series championship team, and they'll both be missed. We wish them all well in Boston."

"Hanley Ramirez has a chance to be an All-Star caliber shortstop, and Anibal Sanchez joins our stable of outstanding, young starting pitchers," Beinfest said. "Jesus Delgado has a very bright future in our bullpen. Garcia pitched very well in Greenville last year and is another quality arm in our organization."

The Red Sox expect further information to be available Friday afternoon when the team expects to hold conference calls with the players involved and Red Sox officials.

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