Josh Beckett Rumors

Cherington On Beckett, Ellsbury, Deadline Moves

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington appeared on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan radio show this morning to discuss his club, and WEEI.com's Jerry Spar has the partial transcript…

  • Cherington said he still believes his team is in playoff contention and can raise their level of play, though he admitted, "it's an unusual position for us to be in. That's the truth. Our approach at the deadline most every year that I've been here in the front office has been pretty clear. We're trying to improve the team. This deadline is going to take more of a nuanced approach, but we're certainly still focused on 2012 and doing everything we can to win as many games as we can this year."
  • The Red Sox are talking to other teams about starting pitching, though Cherington sounded doubtful given the "seller's market" for available top arms.
  • Josh Beckett has not been asked about waiving his 10-5 rights, nor have the Sox discussed dealing Beckett with another team.  "Taking Josh Beckett off this team is not necessarily improving things," Cherington said. "We need to add, we need to improve the rotation, if anything — improve internally or add to the rotation. I think we're sort of stuck in neutral if we start taking guys out of the rotation who are good major league pitchers."   
  • The team hasn't talked to Jacoby Ellsbury about a contract extension, echoing what Ellsbury's agent Scott Boras said last month.  Ellsbury will be a free agent after the 2013 season and it's hard to gauge what an extension for the center fielder would look like, given his injury-plagued 2010 and 2012 seasons sandwiched around a stellar 2011 campaign.  Cherington said other teams have inquired about Ellsbury though the Sox have no interest in trading him.
  • Cherington said it makes little sense to move struggling veterans as the Sox wouldn't be able to recoup proper value in a trade.  "The secondary point, the last thing a GM ever wants to do is sell low," Cherington said. "If we are ever going to consider trading a player, doing it at a time when a guy isn't performing doesn't help your cause."  Cherington admitted the Sox have made such sell-low trades before, possibly in reference to the Kevin Youkilis deal.

AL East Notes: Davis, Yankees, Beckett, Escobar

The Angels are talking to the Rays about Wade Davis and other available pitchers, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. James Shields has drawn interest from Los Angeles, but Davis might represent an alternative for the Angels’ bullpen or rotation. Here are the latest notes from the AL East…

  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post can’t imagine the Yankees trading for Mark Reynolds or Chone Figgins even with Alex Rodriguez on the disabled list. However, an AL executive said there’s “zero chance” Eric Chavez can replace Rodriguez on a daily basis without breaking down. The Yankees are expected to consider available third basemen in the coming week.
  • The Red Sox have fielded some exploratory inquiries on Josh Beckett, but the calls amount to preliminary check-ins at this point, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. There’s “nothing close” regarding a potential deal, according to Bradford. Beckett, who can veto any trade with his ten and five rights, does not interest the Rangers.
  • Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar remains a possible option for the A’s, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. However, the shortstop says he likes playing in Toronto and doesn’t want to be traded, according to Slusser.

Rosenthal On Red Sox, Blue Jays, Greinke, A’s

We hear a lot of talk about buyers and sellers this time of year, but as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports points out in his latest column, some teams will do neither this summer and other teams will do both. Here are Rosenthal’s latest notes with less than four weeks to go before July 31st:

  • The Red Sox could be positioned to trade an outfielder this month if their rehabbing players return as expected. Boston figures to pursue starting depth in trades; the Red Sox aren’t considering trades involving Josh Beckett.
  • The Yankees will probably not sign Josh Hamilton or Cole Hamels this offseason, since they aim to avoid the MLB luxury tax by 2014 and that means cutting back on extravagant free agent signings.
  • Under GM Frank Wren the Braves won more games while spending less money than every team but the Rays from 2009-11, Rosenthal notes. 
  • If the Blue Jays trade players on the brink of free agency such as Edwin Encarnacion and Kelly Johnson, they’d look to acquire players who can help them win next year. And if the Blue Jays don’t like what other teams are offering, they’ll keep their potential free agents. Toronto’s not likely to overpay in a “go for it” trade, Rosenthal writes.
  • The Blue Jays aren’t trading Colby Rasmus, who has become more driven, according to a team official. 
  • Rosenthal suggests the Athletics could look to acquire players midseason if they stay in the playoff mix. Bartolo Colon is the player the A’s are most likely to trade, Rosenthal writes.
  • The Mets are actively seeking relief help, but it’s highly doubtful they’d trade for Huston Street, who publicly criticized Mets bench coach Bob Geren last year. The Mets, who insist they won’t trade top prospects, are likely to wait until the end of the month before making any trades.
  • The Cardinals wouldn’t be willing to meet the Brewers’ asking price for Zack Greinke, Rosenthal notes. St. Louis is more likely to pursue a mid-rotation starter.
  • The Diamondbacks believe they need a third baseman more than a starting pitcher.


Valentine: Sox Not Looking To Deal Or Acquire Pitcher

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said that he is not aware of any trade talks involving either the acquisition or trading of a pitcher, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com.  Major league sources also dismissed the idea that Boston would consider trading Josh Beckett in the wake of his golfing controversy.

I’m sure that Ben’s looking at every conceivable way of improving our team, but I haven’t been in on any trade conversations about pitching, either coming or going,” said the manager.

Speier writes that Beckett's value would be virtually non-existent and points out that he has given the team more quality outings than any other pitcher so far this year.  Beckett, 31, is set to earn $15.75MM each year through 2014.

Valentine also said that no real consideration was given to the idea of sending the struggling Clay Buchholz to the minors.  Had Boston made that move, they would have exposed the pitcher to optional waivers.


Quick Hits: Red Sox, Garza, Bartlett

The Mets play the 8,000th game in the history of their franchise tonight, and they're still looking for their first ever no-hitter. Here are some links to read before Johan Santana takes on Mark Buehrle and the Marlins in Miami…

  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington says the team's medical staff doesn't believe Josh Beckett was putting himself at risk by golfing with stiffness in his lat muscle, Alex Speier of WEEI.com writes. Cherington does acknowledge that perception matters when it comes to the team's level of commitment.
  • Lines of communication are open between Matt Garza and the Cubs, Jon Heyman of CSBSports.com reports. The Cubs will try to extend Garza, who's under team control through 2013. Heyman suggests a five-year, $80MM deal could work for both sides.
  • Some people expect the Padres to release Jason Bartlett, Heyman tweets. The 32-year-old has a .433 OPS in 88 plate appearances and he doesn't appear to figure into the Padres' long-term plans.

AL East Notes: Ortiz, Cherington, Swisher, Rays

The Red Sox' reputation may have been damaged in recent weeks, but Shi Davidi of Rogers Sportsnet writes that Boston isn't going to suddenly stop being a major force in the AL East.  Some other notes from around the division….

  • David Ortiz wouldn't be a fit with the Yankees, writes Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.  Ortiz called the Yankee organization "a great situation" earlier today, but Feinsand points out that Ortiz wouldn't be willing to come to New York only as a part-time designated hitter.  The Yankees still need to give some DH at-bats to Alex Rodriguez and Jesus Montero, so Ortiz wouldn't be able to play every day.
  • Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd, who worked with incoming Red Sox GM Ben Cherington in Cleveland, praised Cherington's humility and experience to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
  • Josh Beckett may not be a popular figure in Boston right now, but Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe thinks the Red Sox would be foolish to trade the right-hander given the club's need for pitching.
  • Mike Axisa of the River Ave Blues blog thinks that Nick Swisher's $10.25MM option for next season is an obvious pickup for the Yankees, even if New York picks up the option with the intent of trading Swisher elsewhere.
  • The Rays want to add a big hitter this winter, but won't do so at the expense of their core of pitching and defense, reports MLB.com's Bill Chastain.  "If you add offense, more than likely you're detracting from the defense," said Andrew Friedman.  "So we're not going to do things where it's a net neutral move, or even to where we take a step back."
  • Rays owner Stuart Sternberg has been open about how critical a new stadium is to his franchise's future in the Tampa Bay area, but Fangraphs' Alex Remington gives several reasons why the Rays won't be leaving Tampa and/or Tropicana Field anytime soon.
  • Joe Jordan, formerly the Orioles' director of amateur scouting, talks to MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski about his seven years in Baltimore.  Jordan was hired yesterday as the Phillies' new director of player development.
  • Unsurprisingly, the Orioles are holding off on any coaching and front office staffing decisions until their new head of baseball operations is hired, reports Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun.

Quick Hits: Moyer, Beckett, Weaver

Four years ago today, the Dodgers claimed Esteban Loaiza off waivers from the Athletics, taking on over $8MM and getting very little from the pitcher in return.  I'm sure Billy Beane and Ned Colletti still chuckle about the transaction.  Today's links:

  • Jamie Moyer, 49 in November, will continue his rehab from Tommy John surgery at the Phillies' Spring Training home in Clearwater, Florida.  MLB.com's Todd Zolecki explains that Moyer remains a free agent, but his former team honored his request to use their facilities and expertise.  We all look forward to seeing Moyer's 81 mile per hour heater in the Majors once again, perhaps next year.
  • Josh Beckett is a family man now, the Red Sox righty explained to WEEI's Rob Bradford.  Beckett anticipates a series of one-year deals once his current contract expires after the 2014 season, and plans to disappear without fanfare when it's time to retire.
  • Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times has contract details for Jered Weaver's new deal with the Angels.  The contract has a full no-trade clause, a $1MM signing bonus, and salaries of $14MM for 2012, $16MM each for '13 and '14, $18MM for '15, and $20MM for '16.
  • Baseball America's Jim Callis looks at the 2005 draft for each of the 30 teams, ranking the Red Sox first and the Cubs last.

Josh Beckett’s Extension One Year Later

When Josh Beckett makes his first start of the season tomorrow, exactly one year will have passed since the Red Sox locked him up for $68MM over four years. Now Boston's fourth starter, Beckett is trying to recover from what was arguably the worst season of his ten-year career.

Beckett

Poor performance and poor health turned Beckett from one of the most dependable starters in the league to one of the most perplexing. A lower back injury sent him to the disabled list and limited him to 21 starts, his lowest total since 2002. When he did pitch, the results weren't pretty. Of the 140 MLB pitchers who threw 100 innings last year, Beckett ranked 137th with a 5.78 ERA. 

Beckett would have been a free agent after last year if the Red Sox hadn't locked him up and it's easy to see why GM Theo Epstein and the Red Sox front office wanted to keep him in Boston. He was among American League leaders in a number of categories including strikeouts per nine innings (8.4 K/9), walks per nine innings (2.3 BB/9) and innings (212 1/3) in 2009 and was coming off of a season filled with personal bests. Plus, Beckett had a standout postseason record and was one of two pitchers in baseball to record at least 150 strikeouts every season from 2003-09.

His free agent stock would have tumbled after the 2010 season and he would have been lucky to sign for half of what Boston committed to him last April. Though interested teams would have liked Beckett's 93.5 mph fastball, 45.8% ground ball rate and typically strong strikeout and walk numbers (8.2 K/9, 3.2 BB/9), he would have represented a risky investment given his back injury and lackluster results.

Beckett has bounced back from disappointing seasons to prove doubters wrong before. He followed up his discouraging Boston debut with 20 wins and a second place finish in the 2007 Cy Young voting. And at 30 years of age, he is certainly not old. 

The extension kicks in this year (and will pay Beckett $15.75MM annually through 2014), so it's too early to label it a bust or a success. But one year after its completion, the contract looks like a definite overpay and the Red Sox are hoping Beckett rebounds once again.

Photo courtesy Icon SMI.


Red Sox Notes: Buchholz, Beckett, Wakefield

The Red Sox beat the Cardinals in Florida today even though they allowed seven runs. Here are the latest updates on the BoSox, with an emphasis on the team's pitching staff…


Quick Hits: Hall, Young, Feliz, Burnett, Buck

Links for Wednesday night..

  • Longtime major leaguer Juan Castro told MLB.com's Ken Gurnick that he never considered retirement at any point this winter.  The 38-year-old is trying to hook on with the Dodgers in 2011 for what would be his fourth stint with the club.
  • Earlier today, Yankees GM Brian Cashman told versatile Astros veteran Bill Hall that the club was "this close" to signing him, tweets Jack Curry of the YES Network.
  • A source close to the Rockies told Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated that the Rangers sought a "very good player" for Michael Young, but didn't elaborate on who that player might be.
  • Some in the Rangers front office feel that Neftali Feliz could develop into the type of starter that would otherwise cost a bundle in a trade, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.
  • Yankees fans have been hard on A.J. Burnett, who is set to earn $16.5MM annually through 2013.  However, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that Burnett's career numbers are not all that different from Boston's Josh Beckett.
  • Outfielder Travis Buck views his arrival in the Indians locker room as a fresh start, writes MLB.com's Jordan Bastian.