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Monday, July 04, 2011


George: Anyway, as I was lying in the puddle, I think I may have found a way for us to get Bonds and Griffey, and we wouldn't have to give up that much.

Currently, the Red Sox have one glaring hole - right-field. Even though the Local Nine lead the world in most offensive categories, the trade winds are swirling to replace J.D. Drew, even more so than usual. But according to Peter Gammons on WEEI, the Red Sox are not getting Carlos Beltran or Michael Cuddyer. He asserts that the Sox can not take on any more money. Theo Esptein disputed that notion recently, although this winter he did state that the acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez played a key role in giving the club the financial flexibility to sign Carl Crawford. With this in mind, any potential acquisition will likely get more scrutiny from ownership since it will be above the budget.

The other asset usually a part of a deadline deal is minor league prospects. The Red Sox are not rich in this area either. The Olde Towne Team had three players make Baseball America's top 100 prospect list this winter - Jose Iglesias, Anthony Ranaudo, and Drake Britton. Of the three, only Ranaudo is living up to expectations. The Sox have prospects to trade but no asset another team will covet. The Olde Towne Team can not pull off another three prospect trade for an All-Star as they did this winter.

The Red Sox will need to find a unique situation to pull off a impact deal later this month. And the previously mentioned, Beltran provides that type of opportunity.

The Mets right-fielder has a number of clauses in his contract that push a trade to the Red Sox. First, Beltran can not be offered arbitration after the 2011 season. Hence, the Mets will not get any compensation when the former All-Star departs this winter as a free agent. The team from Queens needs to trade Beltran this season to get anything in return.

Beltran also has a no-trade clause. He can dictate which team will gain his services for the stretch run. If we assume the Scott Boras client wants to play for a team with a good shot at winning a World Series, then the Yankees, Phillies and Red Sox will top the list. The Mets will want to deal with the Red Sox rather than assisting one of their rivals. Sandy Alderson is calling Epstein first and often.

Finally, $5.5 million of Beltran's $18.5 million 2011 salary will be paid after this year. The outfielder will be paid roughly $3.2 million each year from 2012-2018. Without going all CPA in this space, the Mets can send the money necessary to keep the Red Sox under the luxury tax threshold in 2011. In exchange, John W. Henry can pick up a part of Beltran's deferred compensation.

Under the current rules, the future payments made by the Red Sox to Beltran will count against the cap the year they are paid (MLB may not even have a luxury tax in 2012 and beyond with a new CBA). The Red Sox can avoid paying additional, if any, luxury tax with the assistance from the Mets.

With the money even, the Red Sox and Mets can use last year's Lance Berkman trade as a starting point for the appropriate prospect(s) going to Queens for the right-fielder. Since the dollars will be even, the Mets should get less than the three star prospect (Mark Melancon) and low level minor leaguer (Jimmy Paredes) that the Astros received, as $4 million was sent to the Bronx. Assuming the market for Beltran is as limited like for Berkman in 2010, then the Sox can afford to move that type of prospect(s).

The Red Sox can get Carlos Beltran or I could be crazy like Costanza. Regardless, the outfielder's contract allows for Yawkey Way and the Mets to get creative and work out a deal. Epstein and Alderson can get this done.

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