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Beckett...s Move to Red Sox Highlights a Huge Week for MLB Trades

By Yong-yi Zhu

You know that the baseball offseason has fully taken shape when the first of the huge trades make the papers. This past weekend, there was no trade larger than the move of young pitcher Josh Beckett to the Boston Red Sox. But on top of that, Carlos Delgado, Jim Thome and B.J. Ryan all swapped teams in one of the busiest trading weeks of the baseball season.

Obviously, the most talked about trade is the move of pitcher Josh Beckett, third basemen Mike Lowell and pitcher Guillermo Mota to Boston for four highly-rated prospects sent to the Marlins. The deal is pretty sweet for Boston considering they needed some starting pitching to solidify their rotation. Now, the Sox have one of the best young arms in the majors. As a World Series MVP, Beckett will help Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling in the post-season next year.

It will take a bit of massaging to find the right place for Mike Lowell, but he can always convert and become an outfielder or work as backup at third base. The real gem of the trade might just be Guillermo Mota. Good middle relief pitching is not cheap, with the market for relievers suddenly heating up. Mota can be solid setup for Keith Foulke, and his price tag is not going to come close to that of B.J. Ryan or Billy Wagner.

Another major trade involved the Marlins’ Carlos Delgado and the Mets. The Marlins shipped Delgado north to New York for two prospects and first baseman Mike Jacobs.

The Mets are trying to stock up like last year, trying their hardest to get big names into town. Mets’ GM Omar Minaya is smart — he knows that at the end of the day, he doesn’t need to necessarily win. He just needs to put a product on the field that people will be excited to come and see. That’s why they got Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran, and that’s why they are getting Carlos Delgado. They are going to be more competitive this year, but the NL East is still the Braves’ division to lose.

Jim Thome also switched teams and moved out of the NL East. He was traded from the Phillies to the White Sox for Aaron Roward. This is a huge addition for the World Champions. With Thome, health has been a bit of a concern. Now, the White Sox can stick him at the designated hitter position to avoid all of that. He can avoid the dangers of playing first base and just concentrate on hitting home run after home run. If they keep the majority of their core from last year, the White Sox are going to contend again.

Pitcher B.J. Ryan was the hottest commodity on the market for free agency. His contract for five years, $47 million dollars with the Toronto Blue Jays proves how much relievers are valued these days. Is he being overpaid? Probably. But they need to start making some moves to improving that team. The $47 million being paid to him means that every single free agent will be getting higher contracts. For example, Johnny Damon and Rafael Furcal will pretty much be guaranteed nice large sums of money for a long period of time because of the B.J. Ryan deal, but it might take some time for these guys to get signed. Manny Ramirez is also waiting to cash in.