In an effort to clear payroll and make room for long-term contract offers to Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera, the Florida Marlins are said to be deep in trade discussions involving Josh Beckett and Carlos Delgado.
The Red Sox are said to be one of the teams negotiating with Florida to get Beckett. As part of the deal, the Sox would have to take on Mike Lowell's bloated contract, which has nearly $18 million remaining over the next two seasons. The Marlins also want shortstop Hanley Ramirez and a young pitcher, either Jon Lester or Anibel Sanchez, in return.
The Sox already balked at taking Lowell as part of the AJ Burnett trade package at July's trade deadline, so it's hard to imagine what would persuade them at this point. Perhaps it's simply the opportunity to get a very talented 25-year-old starting pitcher, which the team could desperately use. Beckett was the 2003 World Series MVP for the Marlins.
A 6'5" righty, Beckett is a four-year arbitration-eligible player who made $2.4 million in 2005. Last season he went 15-8 for the Marlins with a 3.38 ERA, and is 41-34 lifetime with a very respectable 3.46 ERA.
The Rangers are also said to be in the hunt for Beckett and are willing to deal third baseman Hank Blalock.