The news that Mike Lowell was being traded came as a surprise to no one. With his increasing age and injury issues, the Red Sox need to move in a different direction, but that doesn’t make the decision any easier. Mike is a fan favorite and has left an indelible mark on the city of Boston and Red Sox fans. After coming over from the Marlins as a ‘throw in’ to the Josh Beckett deal, he has surpassed all expectations and become one of the most well-liked guys in the clubhouse.
Mike’s impact off the field has been even more powerful than his contributions at his corner infield spot. Lowell’s ability to speak both English and Spanish and his willingness to be a loyal teammate have allowed him to bridge gaps between other players. There isn’t a single person who has played for the Sox over Lowell’s tenure that has said a negative word about him, and this isn’t by accident. Lowell’s professionalism is admired by young rookies and elder statesmen alike and even with his soft-spoken demeanor, he garners respect. It will be difficult next year without Lowell in the Red Sox clubhouse, but it was the right business decision for Theo and the gang.
In 2008 and 2009, Lowell played in 113 and 116 games respectively, the lowest totals since 1999, his first full year in the big leagues. The Red Sox have had the luxury over that span of time to move Kevin Youkilis to 3rd when Lowell was not playing and not lose a step, but as much as Youkilis is a consummate teammate and says it doesn’t bother him, it is difficult to expect a player to switch positions daily depending on other player’s health problems. Assuming the Sox can bring in a 3rd or 1st baseman to replace him, which I have to believe is the case, this was a great move to bring in a young catching prospect Max Ramirez.
Because of the timing of this deal, Theo has to have a preliminary deal to bring in either Adrian (3B Beltre or 1B Gonzalez), otherwise the Lowell deal could prove to leave a huge hole on the infield. The likelihood of bringing Gonzalez to Boston seems to be decreasing (thank you Jed Hoyer), but there is increased speculation the the Red Sox are going hard after Adrian Beltre. Only time will tell, but in order to justify to the fans the trading of Mike Lowell, Theo better make a big move or he is going to lose support from Red Sox faithful.