When Josh Beckett takes the mound Tuesday night against the Mariners he is likely to still hear the lingering effects of an insulted Red Sox Nation. Afterall, Beckett wasn’t exactly dealing in his last start, failing to make it out of the third inning and left the game to a shower of boos that not even Johnny Damon received.
All the drama surrounding Beckett has led to many fans requesting that he be traded far, far away from this city, this organization and this clubhouse. But any attempt to move Beckett won’t be as easy as it sounds.
Nick Cafardo recently stated in his Sunday Baseball column that one American League GM said he could see a market developing for Beckett but only if the Red Sox would be willing to eat more than half of his annual salary.
Beckett is earning $15.75M this season and still has two years remaining after this one and given his lack of production this year, it’s hard to believe any team would take on that lump sum of money for a starter who is showing his best year’s may be behind him.
Even then, Beckett qualifies for the 10/5 rule stating that he can nix a deal if it’s to a team that he doesn’t approve of based on having 10 years of service and 5 with the same team. This alone could be a deal breaker.
He does have an impressive resume in the postseason, a career 7-3 record, 3.07 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. Even more impressive is his two World Series appearances, pitching in three games, going 2-1 with a 1.16 ERA and a WHIP of 0.857. Based on these numbers it’s fathomable to think that a contending team would be willing to take a chance on Beckett’s performance, but only if the financials line up as Cafardo mentions.
The other strike against Beckett that doesn’t favor the Red Sox is the recent public ridiculing of him, something that stems from last September. The chicken and beer scandal that rocked the Sox organization and led to the horrific collapse in the final month of the season was thrown on Beckett’s shoulders. He was tattooed as the ring leader that led to the Sox missing the postseason in an ugly fashion. Recently it’s been ‘Golf Gate’ that has Beckett as public enemy number and when the former World Series MVP shows a barrage of arrogance in his press conference, what team would want to take on that ego?
If what we hear from the media is correct then Beckett is not exactly the best guy in the clubhouse, a cancer if you will. That is something that the interested GM’s will have to decide if the potential reward is worth the guaranteed risk.
When it comes down to it, I don’t see the Sox moving Beckett with the main reason being his salary. Carl Crawford could be a target to unload to a potential buyer, namely the Los Angeles Dodgers and even then the Sox might have to eat some of his salary. Getting out of Crawford’s 7-year deal (5 years remaining after this one) will relieve the Sox greater than getting out of Beckett’s final two.
The other thing to consider is that if Beckett can turn it around, provide quality starts for the Red Sox and if they’re in contention by the trading deadline, then dealing him away for what would likely be prospects would be management’s way of throwing in the towel. If in fact this club is out of the postseason by July 31, his name is surely to come up with some team’s likely to show interest but again only if the financial side makes up for the ego they’d be acquiring.