Thursday, December 10, 2009
Mike Lowell: Nothing But Class
The rumors of a Red Sox trade with the Texas Rangers have been getting hot and heavy over the last 24 hours, and a preliminary deal has been reached between the two clubs.
It would send Mike Lowell and a lot of cash (about $9 million of his $12 million salary) to the Rangers for rookie catcher Max Ramirez. (What, yet another guy named Ramirez?) A lot of things still have to be worked out, like the cash involved in the deal, and the players' physicals.
I can't help but feel sad to see Mike head out of town. He is the dictionary definition of a professional. In November 2005, he "forced" upon the Red Sox with his $9 million contract in the Josh Beckett trade, and he was coming off a really dismal 2005 season. He was reborn in Boston, hitting 75 home runs and batting .295, and he played sterling defense as well, making just six errors in 2006 (and deserved a Gold Glove but didn't get it).
Lowell will forever be remembered for his outstanding 2007 postseason. He hit two HRs and drove in 15 runs, and was awarded the 2007 World Series MVP (pictured), and his home run was a key hit of Game 4.
It was incredibly painful watching him struggle with his hip problems in the 2008 postseason, but he recovered nicely at the plate in 2009. Unfortunately, it really cut into his range at third base. If the trade to Texas happens, Lowell figures to move over to first and DH.
This figures to be the first of what could be a few deals Theo Epstein is working on. Deals involving Adrian Gonzalez or Adrian Beltre could be next. It was apparent that Lowell didn't figure in the Red Sox' future plans, as he's on the other side of 35 and moving him opens up a world of new possibilities for the team as they go forward into the new decade.
Max Ramirez is 25 and has an above-average bat, but isn't known for his defense, and many scouts figure him to be a first base-DH (sounds like Victor Martinez). He his stuck behind Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden in Texas, so a trade to Boston is probably welcomed by him.
The Red Sox also acquired Boof Bonser from Minnesota today as the Winter Meetings are winding down in Texas today. He was 3-7 with an ERA close to 6.00 in 2008 with the Twins and missed all of 2009 with a shoulder injury that needed surgery.
But today I salute Mike Lowell for the four years he played for the Red Sox. He handled himself with nothing but class through all the trade rumors and his resigning after 2007. I look forward to April 20th, when the Texas Rangers come to Fenway for the first time in 2010 and Mike Lowell gets the standing ovations he richly deserves.