Beckett must go, now! Too late to “clear the air”–so, let’s make a deal


Josh Beckett must be traded now, or else the Red Sox will not make it to the World Series for the next three years.

It’s too late for a “clear the air” talk with Beckett and Valentine; the stench has already permeated the clubhouse ventilation system.  How about a ticket to Detroit?

Even if he manages another 15-10 record, Beckett will be a lurking, petulant presence in the clubhouse; perhaps whispering sour nothings to a Schilling, who, as a rookie media member, is looking for an “insider” story.

Schilling is convinced that Valentine is the worst possible fit for this team in this market and is eager for proof; now, sadly,  his sock is bloody from biting so hard on his foot.  He has the “inside” track on his media colleagues, because he was a Red Sox clubhouse insider for so long; people assume the current players will tell him what’s really going on.

As a newbie of the Fifth Estate, Schilling needs to understand that he is responsible to report the facts to the public, not become part of the story and use his “reporter” role as a means to act out a personal vendetta.  Also, sniping from his truck by cell phone to sports radio talk shows does not qualify for a PRESS pass.  Professional members of the media clearly delineate a factual story from an opinion or op/ed piece; they write it and sign their name.

The new Wild Card rubric allows less margin for error and distracting the manager and the players with a sub-text of sabotage will, inexorably, result in yet another tragic end for the Sox. Valentine, who criticized Beckett’s mechanics, in his role as an ESPN analyst and laid down the law about drinking on the job cannot spend time trying to assuage Beckett’s tender ego.

True, Beckett must approve any trade, but, if he is miserable in Boston, he may welcome a new start. He made it clear that he was hurt by Valentine’s ESPN criticism, he appeared to be the ring leader in the “Pitchers of Beer” scandal, and he is assumed to be the guy who leaked the “we can’t stand Valentine” gossip to Curt Schilling. Perhaps none of these assumptions are valid, but the perception lingers like a fecal fog over the municipal sewage plant on Deer Island in Boston harbor.  The barges have discharged, it’s too late to clear the air.

Given a chance for a fresh start, Beckett may be glad to move on. Beckett has played  “frat bad boy” in the past:

"“Josh Beckett’s habit of hanging around the clubhouse during games is nothing new according to former Florida Marlins manager Jack McKeon."

McKeon told the Palm Beach Post today [sic] that he locked the clubhouse door in 2003 to keep Beckett and Brad Penny from escaping the dugout during games. He even resorted to issuing bathroom passes.

“In between innings they’d go to the clubhouse to get a drink or hang out,’’ McKeon recalled.


Even if he repeats his 2011 stats, 13-7, or he matches his 11-year average, 15-10, we saw last September how a petulant personality can turn a clubhouse into a sheltered workshop for the misanthropic, laconic, feckless, spoiled, and passive-aggressive adolescents, where the team’s attitude determines its altitude in the standings.

If Beckett has “a problem” with Valentine, he will, perhaps even unconsciously, undermine Valentine and the team too. Beckett is 31 years-old and under contract through 2014; Valentine is in the first year of his 2-year deal.

If the current melodrama continues apace, will Beckett simply pout and sulk and roll his eyes, or become a passive-aggressive DL-regular with intermittent vague thumb pain, back pain, or arm pain, for the next two years? If he discovers he can “fire” his manager by under-performing, what will avail for 2015, when he is 34, and negotiating a new contract?

Regardless of who started this malignant morass, it is in the best interest of the Red Sox team and Josh Beckett to find a way for him to move on to a new team and a manager, who might make him feel special; give him “star privileges” [maybe an “eat, drink, and be merry” in the clubhouse during games clause] and maybe even squander a precious roster slot to provide Josh with a personal catcher.

Although some less understanding organization might try to ship him home to Texas to become a Houston Astro, his trade-veto clause requires a deal with a serious contender; one that is willing to deal a young lefty starter, or two.

Let’s try Detroit. The Tigers are almost universal favorites to take the AL Central pennant; they have a personable, veteran, “players’ ” manager [Jim Leyland]; a positive team attitude with the addition of Fielder The Prince, and Josh won’t need to learn the NL hitters again.

What do the Tigers have to offer in trade for a veteran starter under contract until 2014, who could about cinch their pennant in 2012, 2013 and 2014?

A: Two young pitchers who could both move into the Sox rotation: Drew Smyly and Jacob Turner, and more.

Smyly is currently the #5 starter behind Porcello, and Turner is a future All-Star, who could easily become the Sox #1 rotation guy by 2013 and make Sox fans forget L’affair de Josh a’ Beckett.

We will submit our proof shortly, but consider this rotation for 2012:

"1. Lester, LHP        [28] 2. Buchholz, RHP [28] 3. Smyly, LHP         [23] 4. Bard, RHP           [27] 5. Turner, RHP       [20]"

With well-regarded Michael Bowden out of options with the Sox and likely to be lost, why not send him to the Tigers and take back LHP Andy Oliver, who admittedly has control issues, but would be of comparable potential value?

"Q: Would you trade Beckett?  Q: Who would you want in return?"

And, finally, here is the promised proof:

Drew Smyly
Rank: #10 on MLB LHP list; 6′ 3″, Weight: 190; ETA: 2012;22

“At the start of the 2011 season, lefty prospects in the Tigers’ system like Andy Oliver and Casey Crosby got more of the attention, but it was Smyly who outperformed both of them. In his first full season, Smyly made it to Double-A and led the system in ERA while finishing third in strikeouts, more than enough to earn him’s nod for the organization’s Pitcher of the Year. Smyly fits the mold of a command and control college lefty with four pitches — fastball, cutter, curve and changeup — all usable offerings. If the breaking ball and offspeed stuff continue to improve, it shouldn’t be long before he’s ready to help out in Detroit.” []

Jacob Turner

Rank: #10 on MLB RHP list; ETA: 2011; RHP; 20

“The Tigers will be aggressive with their young starters, so it’s not surprising Turner reached the Class A Advanced Florida State League in his first full season. He’s got the stuff, a feel for pitching and the mound presence to keep moving quickly. Once just a hard thrower, he’s much more of a pitcher now, having made significant progress with his secondary stuff. With improved command, he could hit Detroit with Rick Porcello-like haste. Other Lists: Top 50 Prospects (#7) | Top 10 Tigers Prospects (#1)” []


“I sincerely believe that Jacob Turner is the most likely pitcher in baseball to turn into the next Roy Halladay. Don’t confuse that statement with “I think he will be the next Roy Halladay.” No, he doesn’t have a good chance of that, really. But nobody does–to reach that level is a ludicrously optimistic outcome for even the best of prospects. But chances are someone in the current prospect group will end up as a Halladay sort of pitcher, and if I had to pick one guy to do that, it would be Turner.
But I really see a lot of similarities with Turner and Halladay. Turner is 6’5″ 215 and still filling out; Halladay is 6’6″ 230. Both have clean deliveries and traditional high arm slots.”

[Nathaniel Stoltz, S2S, Seedlings2Stars website; SEE complete analysis here:]

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