BOSTON (AP) – The Marlins and Red Sox completed their deal to send ace Josh Beckett and third baseman Mike Lowell to Boston on Thursday night, but not before reliever Guillermo Mota was added to a trade that netted Florida four prospects.

The tentative agreement was reported and confirmed by baseball officials earlier in the week, but it wasn’t finalized until the players passed their physicals. The announcement late Thursday included two new names: Mota is headed to Boston and minor league right-hander Harvey Garcia to the Marlins.

Florida also gets top shortstop prospect Hanley Ramirez along with pitchers Anibal Sanchez and Jesus Delgado.

It is the second time in three years that Boston has traded for a potential ace over Thanksgiving. In 2003, the Red Sox acquired Curt Schilling from the Arizona Diamondbacks and rode him to the World Series title the next summer.

Beckett, 25, is at the other end of his career. But persistent blister problems and late-season shoulder soreness made the physicals more than a formality and delayed completion of the deal for three days.

Red Sox officials did not respond to requests for comment. But Florida general manager Larry Beinfest conceded that the Marlins were forced to purge payroll.

“This trade is difficult, but necessary because of the payroll market correction,” he said in a statement. “Mike and Josh were key players on our 2003 World Series championship team, and they’ll both be missed. We wish them all well in Boston.”

The Marlins received permission from the commissioner’s office to explore a move after the 2007 season because of the failure to get government support for a 38,000-seat stadium next to the Orange Bowl.

Beckett, 25, is eligible for salary arbitration and expected to make between $4 million and $5 million next season. He can become a free agent after the 2007 season. Lowell, 31, won a Gold Glove this year but his offense dropped off and he is owed $9 million for each of the next two seasons.

Mota, 31, was 2-2 with a 4.70 ERA and two saves in 56 games in 2005.

Ramirez, 21, considered Boston’s top prospect, hit .271 with six homers, 52 RBIs and 26 stolen bases at Double-A Portland last season before going 0-for-2 with the Red Sox during a September call-up.

Sanchez went 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA for Class-A Wilmington and 3-5 with a 3.45 ERA at Portland. Delgado was 7-3 with a 3.50 ERA at Class-A Greenville. Garcia, 21, went 3-5 with a 2.01 ERA and six saves at Single-A Greenville.

“Hanley Ramirez has a chance to be an All-Star caliber shortstop, and Anibal Sanchez joins our stable of outstanding, young starting pitchers,” Beinfest said.

“Jesus Delgado has a very bright future in our bullpen. Garcia pitched very well in Greenville last year and is another quality arm in our organization.”


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