MLB what-if No. 8: 2005 — Josh Beckett to the Texas Rangers
The early to mid-2000s Texas Rangers teams were some of the most balanced offensive units in all of baseball. From Alex Rodriguez to Mark Teixeira, they bolstered a strong lineup that was filled with power hitters and those who specialized in getting on base.
Still, the Rangers failed to make a single postseason appearance because of their abysmal pitching staff. From 2000 to 2005, they finished in the bottom half in team ERA. Their top starter over this time period was Kenny Rogers, who did not resemble an ace-caliber starter.
With the Rangers in dire need of an elite starter, team general manager John Hart looked to finally solve the team’s pitching woes when he joined the Josh Beckett sweepstakes in 2005.
Talks between the Rangers and Marlins began to heat up early on and it seemed inevitable that a deal would transpire. According to ESPN, the Marlins were interested in a deal centered around All-Star Hank Blalock along with either John Danks or Thomas Diamond. The Marlins took it up a notch in negotiations and inquired about the Rangers then top prospect Joaquin Arias. Talks subsequently broke down after Hart asked for another player to be involved, most notably reliever Guillermo Mota.
The Marlins elected to send Beckett to the Red Sox in a move that paid off for both teams. Beckett led the Red Sox to triumph in the team’s 2007 World Series title run after going 4–0 with a 1.20 ERA in the postseason. The Marlins acquired four players in the deal, including future batting champion Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez.
The Rangers’ pitching woes dragged on until they acquired All-Star Cliff Lee from the Seattle Mariners in 2010.
Had this trade occurred, Beckett would have helped push the Rangers into wild-card contention while the Red Sox may have looked elsewhere for a perennial ace.