Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Josh Beckett: Philanthropist?

(A lot of Yankees so far this week. Enjoy a Red Sox post that DV prepared before leaving for vacation.)

It is probably good that I'm on vacation, because I feel like I will probably get crushed for this conspiracy theory.

But all winter last year we heard about how Josh Beckett's salary benchmark STARTED at the amount of money John Lackey got. Not sure why that was the case, but it was the general consensus that a player who had been much less consistent was going to make at least as much money as Lackey, provided he had a good season.

Well, he didn't. I'd still argue that 2006 was his worst, but this one is in the same category. He has not been on the field much, but when he has been on the field, he was almost as disastrous as he was in '06. Bad luck?

It probably was just bad luck. From everything Beckett has done regarding contracts, he seems like the kind of player who would rather get the crap finished quickly and get back to competing. He's never come within a year of free agency. This is probably why. Either that or he's risk-averse, willing to take less money just in case he had a year like this year in a contract year.

The real conspiracy theory is, though, does Josh Beckett know something about his health that the Red Sox don't know? Is his back issue a chronic problem that's not getting any better? For many pitchers it has been, historically. Does he have a bad rotator cuff? Elbow? Is Josh Beckett anticipating a career-derailing injury? It would make taking the money a year quicker in a bad economy make a bit more sense. I'm not a full believer in this, but I know a few people who do believe this theory.

It's already been well-established that the competence of the Red Sox' medical staff is dubious at best. Forget 46 - think about Jason Bay's contract situation, Mike Lowell's trade situation, and think back to Curt Schilling's 2008 season he didn't play due to injury. Consider the following two situations:

1. Beckett really is injured, the medical team misses it, and the player makes a ton of money.

2. Beckett really is not injured, the medical staff would have said he is this winter, and the player can't sign anywhere because the Red Sox' medical team has initials at the end of their names.

So let's not write this all off as a player taking a hometown discount. The Josh Beckett signing-in-advance seems to be a calculated - and smart - business decision. Beckett is risk-averse. If you had his injury history, wouldn't you be, too?


Anonymous said...


Most of this year I thought that something was wrong with Beckett physically. Not that I expected him to be the 2007 Josh Beckett, but I did expect something along the lines of what we saw in 2009, when he was a good pitcher. Not great, but good. This year was obviously an abomination and it is very disconcerting for the Sox going forward.

The really disturbing part is that he's probably healthy. As Peter Abraham pointed out, Beckett was hitting 95-96 last night. You don't do that if you're hurt. When Schilling and Pedro were hurt, you noticed it right away--they were throwing fastballs in the mid to high 80's. Beckett? He's still bombing away. We may have to come to the conclusion that Beckett just sucked. Either he isn't as motivated as he once was or his skills have drastically eroded. Whatever it is, he and Lackey both need to turn it around next year or we'll be seeing another 89 win team on the outside of the playoff picture.

--the Gunn

Anonymous said...


I just re-read your last post a little more carefully. I'm glad you referenced the term "winning time." This is just another reason why I don't like Lebron James. The first time I heard the term "winning time" was about 1992 when Magic Johnson was doing color for NBA on NBC. Now, I'm not positive that Magic coined the term (though it's likely he did), but we know Lebron didn't. And yet, he says it like he invented it. Just another example that Lebron's personality is contrived and at his core, he's disingenuous.

I thought you'd enjoy that little piece of venom.

--the Gunn