News started to trickle out yesterday that Red Sox starter Josh Beckett might be on the market. Apparently, the Red Sox are listening on the 32-year old, but not actively shopping him. The usual suspects (Braves, Rangers, and Dodgers) have all called to express interest in Beckett.
Beckett's career in Boston has been erratic (to say the least), and he hasn't thrown 200 innings in a year since 2009. The injury prone Beckett has never struck out 200 hitters in a season (even in his younger years, or when he was throwing 200 innings for the Sox). Despite a 4.57 ERA this year, he's not pitching any worse than he did last year, when his ERA was 2.89. His FIP last year was 3.57, while this year, it's 3.52. Much like in 2010, Beckett is getting screwed with a sub-70% strand rate this season,
One major warning flag for the Red Sox is Beckett's velocity, which has dropped of this year to an average of 91.7 mph, when it's never been below 93mph over the course of his career. With Beckett due to make $34 million over the 2013 and 2014 seasons, it would make sense for Boston to try to extract some value out of him, especially if the drop in velocity is the sign of a more serious problem. Beckett being one of the better arms left on the trade market also helps his value a good bit as well.
But at the same time, Boston's rotation is already in shambles with Beckett in the fold. Daisuke Matusuzaka has been terribls in his return from Tommy John surgery, is hurt *again*, and will be a free agent after the year. Jon Lester has taken a major step back this year, due in part to the same strand rate issues that have plagued Beckett. Daniel Bard's conversion to a starter was a complete failure. Clay Buchholz missed a month, but his last three starts back have been good. Trading Beckett would be akin to waving a white flag this year in a tight AL Wild Card race, and it would essentially seal Aaron Cook into the rotation for the rest of the year for the Red Sox, a fate I wouldn't wish upon anyone.
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