In Peter Gammons latest piece, he explores the trickle-down effect that the extension signed by Johan Santana will have on other pitchers. While the article focuses on pitchers closer to free agency (ie. C.C. Sabathia), there was one surprising quote from an unnamed Red Sox official:
We’d better enjoy Josh Beckett the next three years. Because we won’t be able to sign him after his deal is up after 2010.
Beckett, who finished second in the Cy Young voting this past season, will be 28 on Opening Day and is scheduled to make $9.5MM this season, $10.5MM next season, and has a $12MM team option for 2010. While Beckett will certainly command top-dollar on the open market, it is hard to imagine he would seek a deal in the same range as Santana or Barry Zito, even with inflation factored in. Both Santana ($137.5MM) and Zito ($126MM) are lefties and signed their deals prior to their age 29 season. Beckett, a righty will be 31 when he begins his next deal. Still it is interesting to note that the Red Sox may have already resigned to the idea of not retaining the services of their ace past 2010.