If the Red Sox truly believe that they are a postseason club and can compete for a Wild Card this season then something must be done with Josh Beckett. Start after start that number 19 makes, he continues to put the Red Sox behind the eight ball and in some cases, Wednesday specifically, Beckett put his club behind before an out was even recorded. Making a move with Beckett has become mandatory if this club has any chance to contend for a birth in October baseball. Let’s take a look at some of those options.
The most popular move amongst Red Sox fans is to simply make Beckett go away. Preferably a trade that would see something, anything with a heartbeat come back the other way, just make Beckett disappear from Boston. This is unlikely to happen during the month of August via the waiver wire given a number of reasons. The most obvious being his performance this season. In his last eleven starts Beckett has just one win against five losses. Remember the whole golf gate issue that Beckett was brave enough to share with the media? He had a nice little two week break after that and even that proved to be disastrous. Beckett has made seven starts since his two week layoff and to put it mildly, he’s stunk. A 1-2 record with an ERA of 5.32 is simply awful when you consider this is a guy that was supposed to be the so called “ace” of the Red Sox staff. Which team would want to take on a liability on the mound every fifth day as they get set for a stretch run of their own? Not very many.
The other major strike against Beckett is his salary. Should the Red Sox find a suitor that would be willing to take a chance on Josh and his ego, the Sox would surely have to eat most, if not all of his remaining salary. Just over $34MM is owed to the Texas native, something that will handcuff the Red Sox if they try and move him now or in the offseason. Cherington may have to agree to eat all of the remaining salary and then even kick a prospect or two. Steve Peterson a staff writer here at BSI fears that the Sox would have to include a pot sweetener like Pedro “the flash” Ciriaco to try and entice another club to take Beckett.
Given his salary and his poor performance the Red Sox appear to be stuck with Beckett. But that doesn’t mean he has to continue to torture Red Sox fans every fifth night by starting his regular scheduled games. This is where the realistic options come in to play.
Some main stream media members feel that Beckett may be injured, this begging for the truth to come out and allow the Red Sox to place him on the 15-day DL. Maybe it’s his thumb or his lat that required a two-week break that included a golf game. Maybe his shoulder and pitching arm is tired. If he is in fact hurt in any shape or form then put him on the DL and leave him there for the remainder of the season. He’s not helping this team by going out and throwing meatballs for five innings plus, thus wearing down the already tired bullpen. During Wednesday’s game, Bobby Valentine had only three available relievers that could pitch on that day thanks to a potential six-man rotation that would include Beckett. A DL stint would allow another reliever to be recalled and provide some much needed rest to the Sox pen.
Should Beckett not be battling an injury then he needs to be sentenced to the bullpen and allow Franklin Morales to take his starts for the remainder of the season. Use him as long relief when the game is out of reach and allow Morales to stay in the rotation. Even Aaron Cook can deliver decent outings every second start or so and he at least gives the Sox a chance to win in some of the games he starts. That’s a lot more than what can be said for Beckett.
Of course moving Beckett to the bullpen is all but guaranteed to produce fireworks with the former World Series MVP, but at this point do Red Sox fans really give a damn if he’s a little peeved over his role on this team? We are the fans that spend our hard earned money to watch this club and that includes Beckett. Only to have the right to boo him off the field rather than cheer him for pitching a gem of a game. That latter just doesn’t happen anymore making Beckett’s opinion all but null and void with Red Sox fans. Sure he’d be an expensive bullpen pitcher but the Red Sox are now at the eleventh hour and crucial times call for crucial measures.
It’s really quite simple when you look at the final 50 games of the Red Sox schedule. They need to go 35-15 to have a realistic chance at a Wild Card and while it’s not impossible, having Beckett pitch seven of those games won’t do any good and will only further cement this club’s fate of another long, dreadful October as spectators.
Remove Josh Beckett from the rotation by any mean’s possible and allow those that want to play in Boston a chance to succeed and help this club win.