Declaring a winner in most trades is easy for two reasons: most prospects don't pan out and the player to be named later is rarely named later.
An ESPN chat with Rob Neyer Friday had me thinking of a trade that should go down as one of the best. For everyone. The 8-player monster that sent Josh Beckett, Guillermo Mota, and Mike Lowell (coming off a season of abject failure while sporting a massive contract) to Boston in exchange for highly-touted prospect Hanley Ramirez and the rest of the Hannah Montana cast.
Note: One of the kids DID pitch a no-hitter, but was sent down and eventually missed a full year with a torn labrum.
Boston benefits in the most obvious way possible.
So they win, right? I'm not convinced. Is it my deeply ingrained hatred of all things crimson hose? Or is it the fact that Hanley Ramirez is the best player in the National League?
Beckett is still young and nasty, and getting out the Florida humidity seems to have ended his blister problems. Mike Lowell is found money. Not found money that stalks you with a cattle gun, ultimately seeing you shot in cold blood but found money that becomes World Series MVP and then tells the Yankees to lick it's balls.
I know what you are thinking: "Best player in the National League? Isn't that like being the coolest guy in your WoW guild?" Perhaps it is, but when you put up numbers like: 154 games .332 29 HR 81 RBI 125 runs 51 steals on a last-place team in a cavernous ballpark with 8000% humidity you are doing something right. Those numbers at the top of the Red Sox already murderous lineup? You could sign a certain rubber-armed junkballer and still win by a touchdown every night.
When Florida wins the 2010 World Series (as is their pattern) this trade will be cemented as one of the all-time greats. Right up until the moment the Marlins flip Hanley Ramirez to the Angels (or big money team X) for a plucky bunch of up-and-comers and Vlady Guerrero's dirty-ass helmet.