ARLINGTON, Texas — Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell helped the Red Sox win the 2007 World Series, a very good return for Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez.
But in the minds of a lot of Red Sox fans, Ramirez is The One Who Got Away.
Now can the Red Sox get him back?
The Marlins have told teams that Ramirez is available, but not as a salary dump. They’re expecting quality prospects in return. Ramirez is only 28 and is signed through the 2014 season, after all.
Let’s check out whether the deal is worth it:
• Ramirez is a career .300 hitter with an .873 OPS. He is playing third base for the Marlins but would move to shortstop for the Red Sox. An infield of Ramirez, Will Middlebrooks, Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia sounds pretty good.
• But Ramirez is hitting .245/.328/.405 over the last two seasons, 776 plate appearances. That is not an insignificant sample size. He’s young enough that a turnaround is certainly possible. But there is ample evidence to suggest that his All-Star days are over. Ramirez has not received any MVP votes since 2009.
• This is not a trade just to help a flawed 2012 team that may be beyond help. Ramirez would be around for at least two seasons after that. That’s a plus.
• Ramirez is owed $15.5 million for 2013 and $16 million for 2014. Given the vast incentives for teams to stay under the luxury tax threshold in the new collective bargaining agreement, do the Red Sox want to add that kind of payroll?
• Obtaining Ramirez is basically giving up on Jose Iglesias, whether he is included in the trade or not. The Red Sox invested a lot of time and money in the defensive wizard from Cuba. He is finally starting to show some offensive consistency in Triple A Pawtucket and could be their shortstop in 2013 at a price much lower than Ramirez.
• The Red Sox need starting pitching, not offense. Their money should be spent on pitching.
• Again, have you seen their starting pitching? Their starters have a 4.89 ERA this season. Ramirez doesn’t help that.
• Getting star players in their late 20s/early 30s has not exactly worked like a charm lately for the Red Sox. Witness John Lackey, Carl Crawford and even Gonzalez.
• Ramirez has developed a reputation for selfish behavior in recent years. Perhaps that would change under the guidance of players like Gonzalez and David Ortiz. But not necessarily. Given their fragile chemistry and the atmosphere in Boston, do the Sox want another diva?
• The single best path to success is developing your own players. Now that the Red Sox have started to re-stock their system, do they want to deal some of those off?
Trading for a star player sounds great. Big headlines, packed press conferences, handshakes all around. But the Red Sox need a plan to win games, not headlines.
As always, a trade can’t be judged until you see which players are involved. But going after Ramirez seems like more of the same for the Sox. Recent history suggests that doesn’t work.
What’s your call?