Josh Beckett Rumors

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.

Quick Hits: Soriano, Manuel, Galarraga, Angels

Some items from around the majors…

  • The Angels aren't one of the teams reportedly still interested in Rafael Soriano, tweets Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated.  The Yankees are "still trying," in spite of their earlier statements to the contrary.
  • Charlie Manuel's agent tells Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that Manuel and the Phillies have a mutual interest in working out a contract extension before Opening Day.  Manuel has one year left on his current deal, and Salisbury speculates that he's looking for a two-year extension worth roughly $4MM per season.
  • Armando Galarraga is out of options, eligible for arbitration and has probably been squeezed out of the Detroit rotation by Brad Penny, reports Jason Beck of MLB.com.  If Galarraga gets too large of a salary bump in arbitration, the Tigers could choose to trade or just release him before Opening Day.
  • The Angels' quiet offseason has been heavily criticized, but Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com reminds us that the Halos still have a very solid team.
  • If the Twins don't re-sign Jim Thome, Kelly Thesier of MLB.com says the team could return to what it was looking for last winter: a right-handed hitting backup option in the outfield or at first base.  Thesier cites Jorge Cantu and Troy Glaus as possibilities, and we've heard the Padres were considering the same two players.  The Twins could also dip into the rest of the DH market, or look to upgrade their bullpen.
  • There isn't much historial evidence to suggest that Josh Beckett will return to his ace form over the long run, writes John Tomase of the Boston Herald.

Odds & Ends: Brenly, DeJesus, Lackey, Reds

Some links to peruse before Yovani Gallardo locks up with Tim Lincecum later tonight…


Odds & Ends: Santana, Morales, Rangers, Mariners

Links for Thursday, as Omar Vizquel goes deep for the first time this year…


Odds & Ends: Britton, Beckett, Crawford, Blue Jays

Links for Friday…