.... To Stop Whining About the Josh Beckett Trade:
Not to take anything away from Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez, clearly great young players who should contribute to the Florida Marlins for years to come, but a lot of this harping about the Josh Beckett trade in light of Sanchez's no-hitter has been really silly.
I don't begrudge Yankee fans their potshots. They're likely facing another embarrassing first-round playoff exit and for the first time since 2002 have a team that's clearly better than Boston's, so it's all a little new and scary and unfamiliar-yet-all-too-familiar for them. No, it's comments like one we had on the Sox game thread the other night, and the article by Edes in Thursday's Globe that get my goat.
This Edes paragraph was especially irritating:
[I]n the aftermath of last night's no-hitter thrown by Anibal Sanchez ... Epstein is in a position to deflect demands to know what the Sox were possibly thinking when they made that deal
If you're a Red Sox fan, and you've done little more than perked your ears up when these two players' names were mentioned on BBTN, then you already knew before the no-hitter that they've had fine years. You also likely supported the Beckett trade when it was made.
So stop, please stop, whining about the trade just because Sanchez threw a no-hitter. If you need reasons, though, here they are:
- Who Do You Love? Hee-Sop Coi or J.T. Snow? Because one of those guys would be hitting around .250 and playing first base right now. Kevin Youkilis, while adequate, would not be playing Gold Glove defense at third, and the Sox' lone offensive spark of the past two weeks would still be in Florida.
- Rami-wreck: Edgar Renteria in Boston: .276/.335/.385 8 HR, 70 RBI, 30 errors. Hanley Ramirez in Florida: .281/.347/.456 13 HR, 49 RBI, 20 errors. Aside from the big power boost, Ramirez has gotten on base at roughly the same rate as Renteria -- and committed errors at roughly the same rate, as well. Sox fans booed Renteria out of town in 2005. Now they act like Hanley would be the second coming of Ozzie Smith. Maybe he will be, but it's a bit soon, isn't it?
- Nipped in the Bud. Last rookie major-league pitcher to throw a no-no? Bud Smith, in 2001. It was one of six wins Smith recorded that year. He also recorded a victory in the NLDS against Arizona, throwing five innings and giving up just a single run. He won exactly one more game as a major-league pitcher. So let's all chill a bit. We just don't know how things will turn out.
- NL = Nothing but Lightweights: After a month of bemoaning how much playing the National League made the Red Sox look better than they actually were -- and most of a season criticizing the front office for not realizing Josh Beckett might not be as much of an ace in the AL as he was in the NL -- why are Sox fans so quick to forget that Anibal Sanchez is benefiting from the reverse effect, particularly on his first time through the league? (Call it BAS -- Bronson Arroyo Syndrome)
- Beck-ing for Some Credit: Is Josh Beckett really that bad? Curt Schilling has 18 quality starts out of 29 games. Beckett has 17 of 29, or 59 percent, percentage points behind Derek Lowe, Chris Carpenter, Tom Glavine and Barry Zito and percentage points ahead of Kenny Rogers, Jeremy Bonderman and Chien-Ming Wang. Also of note: Josh Beckett has zero wins in non-quality starts, meaning that all 14 of his wins have been excellent. The only AL pitchers with zero "cheap wins" and more victories than Beckett? Zito, Wang and Santana.
Likewise, Beckett has pitched games with just as much -- or at least close to as much -- dominance as Sanchez's no-hitter. Sanchez allowed zero hits and walked four. Beckett in July allowed four hits and walked none in one fewer inning. In June, he allowed just three hits with no walks in eight innings, although one of the hits was a two-run homer. So Beckett isn't bad -- he's inconsistent. His wins are incredible -- he has a 2.21 ERA in 101.2 innings over 14 wins. His losses are abominable -- a 9.08 ERA in 74.1 innings over 10 losses and five no decisions (which includes two quality-start losses).
It's clearly too soon to declare a "winner" or "loser" for this trade. The Sox are better in 2006 for having made it. Will they be better in 2007 and beyond? I look at Beckett's numbers and see too much potential to throw him in the street with Coco Crisp, another favorite and unjust whipping boy. I still believe in this trade, and I still believe in Josh Beckett. And so should you.
Edited to correct Bud Smith as the last rookie pitcher to throw a no-hitter.