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Bold trade pays off (cont.)

Posted: Friday October 26, 2007 11:51AM; Updated: Friday October 26, 2007 1:32PM
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Hanley Ramirez
Hanley Ramirez has lived up to the hype as a top prospect with two outstanding seasons in Florida so far.
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There was still the question of Beckett's iffy shoulder. "We were at a standstill,'' Lajoie said. Believe it or not, the team doctor cast the deciding vote. Lajoie remembered that Dr. Thomas Gill, who examined Beckett and was in constant consultation with Marlins doctors, felt that Beckett had "at least two or three'' good years. And that was good enough.

Lajoie identified Shipley as the main negotiator, Lucchino as the "guiding force'' and Gill as the key. Once Gill said OK, the deal was golden.

It was a trade that wound up involving seven players. On Thursday, prior to Game 2, Lowell said that he considered himself a "throw in'' in that trade. That's because the miserly Marlins were just happy to rid themselves of his $8 million-a-year salary. But that doesn't mean Boston was completely displeased.

Lajoie remembered that the Red Sox didn't feel that prospect Andy Marte was ready and that Lowell and Kevin Youkilis, now the first baseman, gave them two viable third-base options. And it didn't hurt that club owner John Henry liked Lowell from when Henry owned the Marlins. On Thursday, Henry recalled that when his GM with the Marlins, Dave Dombrowski, a few years earlier told him he that had a chance to get Lowell from the Yankees for two pitching prospects, Henry told him, "Hey, give 'em three.'' So they did.

The megatrade involving Beckett and the wunderkind Ramirez was finally consummated on Thanksgiving Day 2005. And Lajoie said, "I think both sides were satisfied.'' Florida is happy to have Ramirez, winner of the 2006 NL Rookie of the Year award and one of the best and most exciting young players in the game. And while Sanchez was hurt this year, he still has the stuff to be an ace.

The deal, which may bring another World Series title to Boston, got even better for the Red Sox when they extended Beckett during the 2006 season, as he was in the midst of his early American League struggles. The Red Sox gave him $30 million guaranteed over three years with a $12 million option.

"It's turned out to be great for both sides,'' Epstein said of the trade. "Now we have Josh signed up for a long time, and hopefully he'll make an impact for a long time.''

If they were to revote on that trade, the tally wouldn't be 3-3 anymore but rather a shutout in favor of Lowell and Beckett.

Three signs it may be Boston's year (besides the fact I picked Colorado)

1. Curt Schilling, who "doesn't have very much right now,'' according to one scout, is 3-0 this postseason.

2. J.D. Drew stayed in the game after getting nailed in the ankle by a pitch.

3. The Red Sox are showing zero ill effects from Aaron "Bleeping'' Boone hanging around the park. (Boone is working for CBSsports.com.)

Planets are aligning

In response to new Yankees boss Hank Steinbrenner saying that if the Red Sox had a Nation, then the Yankees have a universe, Henry responded, "As far as I'm concerned, they can have Mars and Pluto. We're going to settle for Red Sox Nation.'' And maybe a second World Series ring in four years.

Around the Series and the Majors

• While Yankees people were speculating that Joe Girardi's alternative managerial offer may be coming from the Dodgers, the evidence is still fairly thin that L.A. is considering a change. "Grady Little is our manager,'' a Dodgers spokesman said. Another person said Little was safe, though that person added the phrase, "for now.''

• Meanwhile, the Yankees appear to be weighing the managerial merits of both Girardi and Don Mattingly and have delayed a final decision for at least a day or two, possibly longer. MLB had told the Yankees that it preferred a managerial announcement not come until after the World Series, and the Yankees seem willing to comply. But it appears that the Yankees genuinely have not made up their minds, so they'll take the extra time to think it over.

• One person familiar with the situation said the Yankees are "very likely'' to exercise Bobby Abreu's $16 million option for 2008. They likely want to wait until just before their deadline to exercise, which is five days after the World Series ends.

• While it was stated in this space on Thursday that there have been several teams win 21 of 22 games (a la the Rockies), the reality is that it hasn't happened much lately -- in fact, only five times in 60 years. According to baseball-reference.com, the last team to do it was the 2002 A's, who won 20 straight. The others were the 1977 Royals, the 1953 Yankees and the 1947 Yankees.

• Red Sox closer extraordinaire Jonathan Papelbon usually has no move to first -- he had never picked off a runner in the big leagues -- and that might be what caused Matt Holliday to stray so far off the bag. Papelbon nailed him by several feet to end the eighth inning after Holliday made it four hits (of Colorado's five). Funny that Papelbon later credited yelling from the bench for picking off Holliday.

• An inning later, Papelbon put a 99-mph exclamation mark on Boston's Game 2 win.

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