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Marlins Loss is Braves Gain

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Rarely do you see a 25 year-old star pitcher traded as part of a cost cutting measure. It's even more unlikely when this same pitcher was on the mound just 2 years ago shutting out the New York Yankees to clinch the organization's second World Series championship.

Well today the unthinkable happened as the Florida Marlins agreed to deal Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to the Boston Red Sox for Red Sox prospects Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, and a player to be named later (possibly P Jesus Delgado). Now I understand the Marlins want to cut costs, but was trading Beckett the only means to achieve that result?

Ironically, I had the opportunity to speak with both Josh Beckett and Hanley Ramirez this season. The interview with Ramirez didn't exactly go as planned. Hanley appeared rushed, flippant, and quite frankly, wanted nothing to do with the interview.

Beckett, on the other hand, was quite the opposite. He exuded confidence and displayed the qualities you want in a leader. He was by no means an easy interview, but he was respectful and went to great lengths to support his teammates.

I'm not saying that Hanley Ramirez won't become a star player, although the chances are certainly less now that he's playing in a pitcher's park in Miami. He's a solid prospect and worth a gamble. But a gamble like Beckett? I just can't see it. If the Marlins objective was to rid themselves of Mike Lowell's contract, there had to be other ways to do that than attach Josh Beckett to the deal.

In any event, the Marlins loss of Beckett (and to a lesser extent Lowell) only weakens Florida's team. And Florida's loss is Atlanta's gain.

My condolences to our friends over at Fish Stripes who have posted a series of very entertaining entries the last few days about the Marlins fire sale. And WE thought it was tough having an $80 million budget!