Wednesday, December 07, 2011

5 Reasons why the Red Sox should trade Josh Beckett NOW

I thought the Red Sox should have dealt Josh Beckett after his All Star season in 2009. He had one year left on his contract, was affordable and was probably at peak value. Instead the Red Sox signed him to an extension.

Well here I am 2 years later and I am more than saying the Red Sox would be smart to trade him. I am saying the MUST trade him.

There are 5 factors of the current baseball climate that make a Josh Beckett trade imperative and forward thinking for the Red Sox.


I wrote at the beginning of the season that, like the Star Trek films, Beckett is good every other year.

2007, 2009 and 2011 he was an All Star.
2006, 2008 and 2010 he was underwhelming.

So 2012 looks like he is due for a sub par season. And if his 5.48 ERA in September was any indication, he might have a head start on a bad year. If he is going to lose with a high ERA, I'd rather it be with another team.


C. J. Wilson is the most sought after free agent pitcher on the market right now. He was born the same year as Josh Beckett (1980) and he has 2 good seasons as a starting pitcher under his belt. Beckett has 3 All Star seasons with the Red Sox to go along with some good years in Florida.

Wilson has a spotty playoff record while Beckett has a World Series MVP and an ALCS MVP on his mantle.

I've been saying that C. J. Wilson is a contract disaster waiting to happen. But the need for starting pitching and the terrible crop of current pitchers will mean that SOMEONE will pay him over $100 million over the next six years.

Or they can pay Josh Beckett $45 million over the next three years. A team that loses (wins?) the C. J. Wilson derby after he signs elsewhere can get a cheaper shorter term contract with a pitcher the same age with a better career and a much sharper post season record.

Sounds like a good move to me.


I don't think the Red Sox are winning the 2012 pennant. They lack depth in the rotation, in the bullpen, on the bench and even in the lineup.

Besides Lester, who can be trusted in the rotation? Buchholz is too much of a health risk to be counted on. The bullpen is a no man's land. The corner outfield spots, catcher and shortstop are a mystery and there is little firepower off the bench. The Red Sox need to address some of those problems and a trade for a younger player (or hopefully younger players) would help solve some problems. If the Sox can swing a deal and get a corner outfielder of the future or a good young reliever that can be a factor for the next bunch of years, then it is a deal worth making.


We all know this is true. Beckett isn't exactly Mr. Cute and Cuddly and he was an ornery dude with a lovable lug like Terry Francona running the team. Now he will be in the clubhouse with the Know-It-All who trashed Beckett down the stretch on ESPN.

How can this end well?
How will they coexist?
The answer is they won't. And on the heels of the great collapse of 2011 and Valentine putting his thumb print on the club, it is probably best not to do an experiment and put them in the same clubhouse.

Oh it would be entertaining. But I prefer peace and winning.


If there is one thing the modern history of the Red Sox has shown us, it is Boston is quick to let stars rot on someone else's watch. Nomar, Pedro, Mo, Damon, Mueller, Millar, Lowe and Manny all had their "grumbling and limping" seasons on someone else's dime. No doubt we will add Papelbon to that list.

It means the Red Sox are not exactly a sentimental team. But the Sox should make the deal with Beckett while our memories of him are still positive.

He owes Red Sox fans nothing. He was brought in to be the brash bad ass ace that was missing from Fenway after Pedro Martinez left. He rewarded us Sox fans with a memorable 2007 regular season and a totally dominating post season. He went 4-0 with a complete game shutout, the ALCS MVP and probably would have won the World Series MVP if he had a second start.

He did what he was supposed to do.
He secured that second championship, the won that showed 2004 was not a fluke.
Let's remember THAT Josh Beckett instead of the player who will inevitably breakdown soon.

As a Red Sox fan I can't possibly thank Josh Beckett enough. But it is time to move on.

I have a feeling all of these reasons will fall on deaf ears.
But dealing him makes sense.

Trust me.
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  1. The Red Sox would never punt the season at this point. If there's no decent starting pitching on the market, no immediate solutions in the farm system to replace him, and clearly there's no surplus roster depth w/r/t starting pitching...that basically adds up to a rebuilding year.

    And if you're going to do that, you might as well dump some of your other valuable pieces. Let's say Youk and Lester to start. While having a poor finish to the season won't help either of their market value, they've got team-friendly contracts and their performance history should yield some good prospects...

    But that's never going to happen...

    But really, you'd sell low on Beckett basically because of a random distribution of yearly stats, a weak pitching market that's sure to not yield anything that will help the Sox compete this year, hypothetical manager relationship problems, and the fact that they can't turn back time and undo the contract extension?

    If so, what would you expect in return for a team taking on Beckett for 17mil x 3?

  2. Anonymous3:28 PM

    While your argument does make a lot of sense, it doesn't make sense to trade Beckett right now simply because it's not yet time to punt 2012 and 2013, which this would essentially be doing. They wouldn't get enough value in return for him to make a deal worth it without eating a lot of money in the process, and I'd rather take at least one more year of Beckett, or at least wait until July when a desperate contender is willing to overpay (happens all the time) before even thinking about exploring the trade market for him.

    However, your reasoning about very likely conflict between Beckett and Valentine is sound. I'm a little terrified as a Red Sox fan to see how his ego will interact with the others on the team. I think the Red Sox should keep him, but your point about him being good every other year is not without proof. But just from a value perspective it makes more sense to hope he breaks his every other year pattern.

  3. I am 100% ready to punt 2012.
    The Red Sox are a third place team each of the last three years and need at least 7 pitchers and 2 hitters before they become legit contenders again

    I think it will take 2 years.
    Pedroia, Youk, Lester, Ellsbury and Gonzalez will all still be good players in 2 years.

    Will Beckett?

  4. In 2 years:
    Pedroia will be on his final year of his contract (with an option the following year)
    Youk will be a free agent
    Lester is on a team option
    Ellsbury will be a free agent
    Gonzalez is still under contract

    So in 2 years, you'd barely have one shot at it with this current roster (at best). If you think it takes 2 years before they're contenders with the current line up, then you're putting a lot of faith in the fact that these guys will be able to pull it off in time.

    And if you think you need 7 pitchers and 2 hitters before that can be done, the only way possible to do that would be trading a lot more than Beckett.

    I think Beckett, at this point in time, is best to stay on the team. Especially since you've already mentioned that the free agent market is so thin. There's no way the Sox are going to get anything of value with someone picking up his 3 x17mil right now. And there's no one better available to fill the spot in the rotation.

    And if he's gonna go because you believe the team isn't ready to content, then you'll have to send a lot more guys packing along with him to make it worth your while.

  5. One-year punts don't really work because the prospects you're getting have to be at two years away from being productive. Otherwise, the other team would just keep them.

    So if you're going to punt and blow up the team, you might as well blow up the whole team and set your sights on 2014 or 2015. That means trading Youk, Beckett, Lester, Marco, maybe even Ellsbury and Bard. Half-measure re-stocking worked in the early 2000s for the A's because every other team was stupid. So I'm not in favor of trading just Beckett because that's throwing in the towel for 2012 and 2013 with a minimal return. And I don't really like whole-team blow-up fire sales either, as the number of times that really works out is like zero.