Originally created 11/23/05

2 former GreenJackets part of the deal

BOSTON - Shopping for a premier pitcher, the Boston Red Sox put together a deal to acquire Florida ace Josh Beckett and didn't even need a general manager to do it.

The Red Sox and Marlins reached a preliminary agreement Monday night on a trade that would send Beckett and third baseman Mike Lowell to Boston for three prospects.

Florida would get touted shortstop Hanley Ramirez and minor league pitchers Anibal Sanchez and Jesus Delgado in the deal, which was pending physicals, according to a baseball official who requested anonymity because the trade was yet to be finalized.

Ramirez and Delgado are former Augusta GreenJackets' players.

The Red Sox are still searching for a new GM after Theo Epstein's departure at the end of October - but that hasn't stopped them from doing business.

Beckett was the MVP of Florida's 2003 World Series win over the New York Yankees and went 15-8 with a 3.38 ERA last season, when he had problems with his shoulder and recurring blisters on his right middle finger.

A three-time All-Star, Lowell slumped to .236 with eight homers and 58 RBI with the Marlins last season but won his first Gold Glove. He averaged 24 homers and 94 RBI in each of the previous five years.

The Marlins called a news conference for Tuesday afternoon, but said the subject would be the team's pursuit of a new stadium, and general manager Larry Beinfest would not be available.

Red Sox president Larry Lucchino and assistant general manager Jed Hoyer declined to comment on a possible deal in e-mail responses to The Associated Press on Monday night. Hoyer remains in his position three weeks after Epstein's contract expired.

COURTING WAGNER: The Mets want Billy Wagner to come to New York, and the bullpen ace sounds as if he likes their sales pitch.

After two days of meetings with the pitcher and his wife, Sarah, the Mets were set to offer Wagner a contract Tuesday as they try to improve one of their biggest weaknesses from last season.

"They're not just trying to put a competitive team on the field, they're going to put a winning team on this field," Wagner said.

Wagner was 4-3 with 38 saves and a 1.51 ERA last season for Philadelphia, which wants to re-sign him.


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