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The Lowell Trade

Boston is strapped for roster spots but has a packs of cash. Texas has a need for the latter in the worst way. Naturally both teams have come together and helped each other out by agreeing to swap Mike Lowell and Max Ramirez.

Boston has the hots for Adrian Beltre and in the pursuit of a happy clubhouse, ship Lowell away, so that ego flares and cliques never have the chance to form over whom should be the starting third baseman in the light of leadership and loyalty (see the case of Varitek 2009 in how that could be an issue). Lowell turns 36 soon, and even while battling injury issues, he’s been extremely solid with the bat. One still needs to regress his wOBA moving forward and adjust for the fact that he’s moving out of Doubles Central – not that Arlington is a no long fly zone either – but if Lowell is restricted to mostly DH work then lower that projected total even more. Assuming he plays, he should be at worst a league average hitter, and the Rangers are apparently getting him at a greatly reduced rate for one season.

To do so, they give up catcher Maximiliano Ramirez, who struggled this season with wrist injuries. He recently turned 25 and there are questions about his defense. Still, in the past the guy has hit, hit, and hit some more. He’s struggled in Triple-A because of this year, but his career Double-A line is .354/.450/.646 in 289 plate appearances. In high-A he had a .923 OPS through 480 plate appearances. Keep in mind he’s playing in some pretty hitter-friendly parks, but with George Kottaras elsewhere and the Green Monster still standing in left, Ramirez could prove to be a nifty player for Boston and after evidently finding himself out of the mix in Texas despite their catcher situation looking a bit murky.

There are some issues with Ramirez and making contact – like quite a few other Texas sluggers – but this comes down to Boston acquiring six-years versus Texas getting one. Neither is a sure thing, and if the reports of Boston paying 75% of the salary are true, then Texas is paying for roughly a win. Clearly Jon Daniels is focused on making a run in 2010, the question is whether Rich Harden and Lowell can stay healthy enough to contribute.

Given that this is really Lowell for Ramirez and Beltre, I think you have to give the edge to Boston. Although maybe the wrists are bigger cause for concern than we know.