In a story that seemed to receive very little attention back in July, Peter Gammons reported a deal for Jacob deGrom in 2012 that never materialized. Then Red Sox’ GM, Ben Cherington, apparently almost wrested deGrom away from the New York Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson. The kicker? It appears it would have been a one-for-one deal, with the Sox sending Kelly Shoppach packing for Flushing.
Jacob deGrom for Kelly Shoppach?!? Are you kidding me?!? Oh man, that would’ve been awesome. The Sox did, in fact, send Shoppach to the Mets in August of that year, but not for the tall, right-handed fireballer. Nope, they got Pedro Beato instead, who was a player to be named later in the trade.
Beato was of minimal return value for the Sox – he only pitched 17.2 innings between 2012-13. In fact, even as a huge Sox fan myself, I’m not sure I remember him pitching in Boston. I remember the name. Then again, it was the end of the 2012 season, so maybe all I remember is a surge of loathing for Bobby Valentine and chicken…and beer. Oh, and Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and Daisuke Matsuzaka sending me to the doctor for a Lipitor prescription. Merciful gods, that pitching staff looks worse on paper than the first half of the 2015 Sox staff. Beckett was 5-11 with a 5.23 ERA; Lester was a 9-14 jalopy with a 4.82 ERA and Dice-K was just awful. I don’t need to repeat his numbers, it’s too traumatic. So, there was a lot else on a Sox fan’s mind that might cloud the memory of Beato.
Now, let’s not forget that, since the Sox originally drafted and signed Shoppach, they did get some trade value out of him earlier in his tenure. Lest memory fade due to the mass consumption of chicken and beer (and whiskey), Shoppach was a big part of the deal with the Cleveland Indians in 2006 that brought Coco Crisp, David Riske, and Josh Bard to Boston. I guess Theo Epstein was forced to include Guillermo Mota in that trade.
So, back to this deal that never was. It’s kind of difficult to spend too many imagination calories on it. However, it is fun to think of the difference that could’ve made for the 2015 Sox’ rotation. Would they have had such a collectively deleterious first half? Would Rick Porcello have been better protected by being slotted in as the fourth or fifth starter? Would The Justin Masterson Experience have been a show in Pawtucket, not Boston? Would the bullpen have been used more sparingly, thus protecting guys like Matt Barnes from the embarrassment of ERA-destroying, psyche-crumbling mop-up duties?
Okay, maybe I did spend more imagination calories than I wanted to, but it’s a slow afternoon at work.