With the Red Sox more than halfway through spring training, I find myself a little more anxious each day. It’s a yearly occurrence where I find myself constantly thinking baseball in March. This year with the several position battles going on in Red Sox camp I found myself thinking about a specific question. If the Red Sox could get back three active players that they’ve either traded away or let walk via free agency in recent years, who would they be? In this article I will give you the three that I would want back if I were the Red Sox. Feel free to add your opinion or debate me on this.
Hanley Ramirez-Miami Marlins:
Way back in November of 2005 the Red Sox made a trade that is still debated to this day. The Sox traded top prospect Hanley Ramirez along with pitching prospect Anibal Sanchez, Harvey Garcia and Jesus Delgado to the Marlins for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota.
Debating the winner of this trade is a task for another day, but what we can’t debate is Hanley Ramirez became a superstar. In the six seasons that Hanley has played 90 or more games these are his career numbers..
.306 BA, .380 OBP, .886 OPS, 134 HR, 434 RBI, and 216 SB
These numbers also include 2011 when Hanley hit just .243/.333/.379 in 92 games while battling injuries for a big part of the season.
I think the general consensus is that Hanley Ramirez will regain his form in ’12 and I agree with this. His track record and the fact that he’s just entering his prime at age 28 suggest that he can return to the player that made him a Batting Champion, Rookie of the Year, and three time All Star, just to name a few. I can say with confidence that Bobby Valentine would love to spell out Hanley’s name each day on his lineup card.
Justin Masterson-Cleveland Indians:
At the time of the trade in 2009 Masterson had thrown 72 innings for the Sox with an ERA of 4.50 and a 1.35 WHIP. The Red Sox were leading the wildcard and needed a productive catcher, while the Indians’ General Manager Mark Shapiro was trading away his team for the future. The deal made sense for both sides at the time. The Red Sox knew that the groundball inducing righty had potential but it wasn’t clear if he would end up a starter or a reliever.. He ended up a starter and a pretty good one to boot.
In 2011 with the Indians he compiled a 3.21 ERA in 216 IP and was recently named the Opening Day starter for 2012. The best part for the Indians? Masterson is under team control until the end of the 2014 season. Does anyone else think the Red Sox would be happy to have him filling out the fourth spot (maybe even the third) in the rotation this year? Especially since the player they received in V-Mart is long gone.
Adrian Beltre-Texas Rangers:
In January of 2010 the Red Sox made a move for a player coming off of a dismal season with the Mariners that saw him put up a .265/.304/.379 slash line. The deal was 1 year/$10 million with a player option for ’11.
The Sox thought Beltre’s right handed swing had potential to do some damage at Fenway Park, they were right and at $10 million this was an absolute steal.
All Beltre would do in ’10 with Boston is put up a .321/.365/.553 slash line with 28 HR and 102 RBI.
During the 2010 season, Theo Epstein had stated several times that it was a high priority to sign Beltre to a new deal but he never made a substantial offer. The Texas Rangers on the other hand gave him a guaranteed five year/$80 million deal with a vesting option for a sixth year. (depending on his plate appearances in ’14/’15)
Now I realize that’s a lot of money and the Sox have Will Middlebrooks waiting in the wings, but the point of this is just to point out who the Sox would love to have back for the 2012 season. The way that Kevin Youkilis looked most of 2011, I think it’s safe to say that Beltre would be a major upgrade at the hot corner.
(2011 Stats–124 GP, .296/.331/.561 with 32 HR, 105 RBI)
The Red Sox actually haven’t made an abundant number of foolish trades in recent years, as a matter of fact the Han-Ram trade made sense and it’s still debatable who got the best of the deal. The Masterson-Martinez deal made sense at the time as well but now that V-Mart is gone for good and Masterson has turned into an ace under team control for three seasons, it looks more lopsided than ever.
Letting Adrian Beltre walk via free agency was probably best for the future considering the cash it would have taken to sign him and the Sox’ top prospect according to most is third baseman Will Middlebrooks. With Middlebrooks likely to spend 2012 in Pawtucket and uncertainty regarding Youk’s health, Beltre at the hot corner would likely be a substantial upgrade.
Is there somebody I didn’t include that you would want back if you were the Red Sox? Feel free to let us know in the comments section. Posting is painless and easy so let’s talk baseball.