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Why you sign Josh Beckett, today.

February 8, 2010

The ‘comps’ are flying, everyone is writing about Josh and his worth to the team, his potential value this winter, his health, all the things you hear when someone enters a walk year on a contract.

Here’s why, barring some freakish medical issue which I assume he doesn’t have or there would be bigger problems, you sign Josh now.

The one worry, other than health, you have when signing ANY player to a long term contract is the player themselves. Are they going to keep grinding, working, wanting it?

That’s where this becomes a no brainer. I know Josh as well as anyone knows Josh. There is not a sliver of a chance that you get anything less than his total focus, concentration and effort for every day he’s under contract, no matter what his uniform says.

Josh works from a different perspective than many, it’s why he was so good so young. He pushes himself with an internal bar and set of values that not many kids have. That isn’t going to change, in fact I’d argue that it’s only gotten ‘better’ over the past few years. He knows he’s in the games toughest division, he knows who people consider the best and I promise you he doesn’t ever take the ball, no matter who he is facing, and not believe 100% he’s going to not only win, but dominate.

He’s getting to a stage in his career where the mental work, the prep work, is going to meet and surpass the physical effort. Which in his case is saying something because he’s a kid who does work his ass off and does want to be the best. When he does combine max effort in the mental preparation arena (which is not to say he hasn’t before, but as you age you learn different things about yourself and the game) with his physical preparation, things could get interesting.

I do believe Jon Lester is an ace in the making, he’s going to be a legit #1 very soon, if not this year, the only thing stopping that is his command, when that comes he’s as good as there is, combining that with Josh, with Dice, with Clay and Lackey, there aren’t many deeper or more talented rotations anywhere.

You lock Josh up you lock up the top 3 spots in your rotation (well 4 if you don’t trade Clay) for the next 3-5 years, and each of those spots is occupied by a 1 or a 2. In the AL East you go into each season with a legitimate shot at winning it all with that mix.

Here’s the other thing. Whatever you perceive Josh’s value to be at the end of this deal the one thing you know for sure is that he’ll still be giving you every ounce of everything he has, that’s just who he is. You cannot say the same thing for other guys around the league.

Oh and for what it’s worth noted baseball expert Peter Abraham said that I think the Sox should sign Josh because he ‘tries really hard’. Apologies on my part since I obviously thought that teams only consider a player ‘trying really hard’ when committing 75 or so million, not withstanding his 65-34 regular season record, him basically carrying the team to the 2007 WS title, the fact that he’s only going to be 31, ya Peter my apologies for not having the insight into a players makeup or the teams process like the ‘experts’ over at the Globe.

28 Comments leave one →
  1. polity permalink
    February 8, 2010 2:02 pm

    Curt-

    You are absolutely right about Beckett. Why would we give up on a guy who, in four years with us, has delivered three 200+ inning seasons and won at a .657 clip (65-34)? And, I’m not even talking about the epic 2007 post-season or his willingness to pitch injured in the 2008 playoffs. This is the kind of guy you want to keep in his prime—especially when you gave up a perennial MVP candidate in Hanley Ramirez to get him.

    Ernie Paicopolos
    Editor-In-Chief
    http://www.fenwaynation.com

  2. February 8, 2010 3:14 pm

    Curt, your preaching to the Choir.

    “The game” that made me a believer in Josh’s grit was his 2-0 shutout of the Yanks in the WS. Granted that was several seasons ago but it proved what a tough, no-back-down, type of competitor he is. Recent seasons and performances have only validated that assessment.

    As you know, the Sox are pretty savy when it comes to their business and with decisions regarding player contracts – they do their homework and do it well.

    Obviously, as players age, particularly pitchers and certain skill positions, injuries and the wear and tear factors that lead up to injuries, become a major consideration for any club.

    I really hope that the Yawkey Way spinmasters don’t go overboard in this area when it comes to Josh. I’m sure that with the feedback from other major league organizations and pundits alike regarding the “Lackey” contract contingencies, the Sox may go a little overboard with a “prideful” approach (we know what were talking about & here are the names & stats to prove it!) to the upcoming negotiations. I hope not, such an approach would be rudely shortsighted.

    Sadly, like real estate and securities, professional ball players today have a readily available “comp” market, a Blue Book type of info-base that can be referenced along with decades of post-free agency data to support almost any argument that management plans to make.

    However, no matter what one’s skill levels are, character, grit, competitivness and a will to win is what builds the value chain within a professional athlete. Skills can be “commoditized” all day long and by just about anyone, but it would be a terrible and regrettable mistake if the personal competitive virtues of any professional were discounted, overlooked or purposely ignored.

    It would be similar to putting kerosene in a Ferrari and expecting to win every competition.

    If the Sox actually practice what their carefully constucted image consultants have created over the past several years (field the best teams, player loyalty, fan friendly, one big happy family, etc.), we can assume that Beckett, barring a catastrophic injury, will be a keeper and finish his career in Boston.

    I hope so, for like you Curt, it’s what makes us love this great game of baseball.

    Hoping the best for Josh……Tommy Jaye

  3. mikeketchen permalink
    February 8, 2010 7:56 pm

    Beckett has a career K/9 over 8 and career BB/9 under 3. In the history of baseball the only other right handers to accomplish this?

    Curt Schilling
    Pedro
    Clemens
    Javier Vazquez
    John Smoltz

    That is why you resign Big Game.

    • February 10, 2010 3:02 pm

      That’s a really interesting stat. Thanks. The name that really surprises me on that list is Javier Vazquez. The Red Sox have always feasted on pitches by Vazquez—so I think that they will hit him up a little bit this year now that he is back with the Bronx Bombers.

  4. 38k010407 permalink
    February 8, 2010 8:34 pm

    I really like the looks of the Red Sox’ starting rotation next season. I think that Beckett has plenty left and the Red Sox should lock him up now. He brings that competitive fire with him to the mound that reflects not only his success, but rubs off on others. Put him together with John Lackey and that’s a pretty good 1-2 punch. Lester is definitely looking like a future ace and will only get better. I really like Buccholz’s stuff and I think that the Red Sox do as well because they have refused to trade him to this point. All this together with a healthy and effective Dice-K, and barring injury, the Red Sox starting rotation could be something special this year.

  5. sdl1 permalink
    February 9, 2010 12:30 pm

    Re-sign Beckett now; damn the cost. Adding Lackey gives us one of the best rotations in the game (and imagine if we’d gotten Chapman; he’s that good) and locking up Beckett will seal that deal.

    If we had done the same with Bay, we’d be in even better shape.

  6. ampoule permalink
    February 9, 2010 6:16 pm

    You’re absolutely correct, Curt. I perceive baseball writers as people who will write anything to sell a newspaper and try to give the impression they’re ‘expert’. And heaven forbid if their ‘chosen victim’ happens to share a different political view.

  7. jruggiero2003 permalink
    February 10, 2010 1:42 pm

    “I do believe Jon Lester is an ace in the making, he’s going to be a legit #1 very soon, if not this year, the only thing stopping that is his command, when that comes he’s as good as there is, combining that with Josh, with Dice, with Clay and Lackey, there aren’t many deeper or more talented rotations anywhere.”

    Hey Curt… have you ever heard of a run on sentence? Here is a helpful hint… if you need to use 8 commas in a sentence, perhaps you should try and turn it into at least two sentences. Better try that before you run for office… Congress won’t like that on the pending bills, and will filibuster your ass!

    • February 10, 2010 7:11 pm

      I look at Lester as a much better version of the younger Andy Pettite. Lester has more velocity on his cut fastball than Pettite had in his prime (which was 91-92mph; Petitte is now an 87-88mph max pitcher).

      I still say it’s a toss-up between the BoSox and the Yanks over who has the more talented rotation in the AL East heading into 2010. Which ever side can stay healthier will have the best chance of overtaking the other team. The Yankees have a better lineup, the BoSox have a better bullpen (at least in terms of depth; I still take Mo to close out a tough game than Pap).

  8. February 10, 2010 3:00 pm

    Given Beckett’s blister problems and what I sometimes think are shoulder issues he’s had in the last year or so (based upon watching his mechanics sometimes appear to act up), I have injury concerns about Beckett. I think the Phillies take the right approach to signing pitchers. Contracts and contract extensions no longer than 3 seasons should be the norm. Beckett at 31 probably has also logged more innings than comparable pitchers at that age because he came up to the major leagues at such a young age and he has thrown so many pressure pitches in postseason ballgames.

    Nevertheless, Curt, I think you are definitely correct about Beckett’s mental makeup and that the Red Sox should be careful not to let him go. I say pay Beckett an above-market rate—but the contract should be limited to 3 years (perhaps with options?). If Beckett insists on a 5 or 6 year deal, I think the Red Sox should move ahead without Beckett and count on Lackey and Clay to pick up the slack. Other free agent options and minor leaguers on the farm would serve as excellent options for the Red Sox.

  9. mcjonesee permalink
    February 10, 2010 3:02 pm

    Schilling likes to pass himself off as a GM-type. In fact, when Schilling was pitching for the Red Sox, I recall reading stories where Tito and/or Theo joked about Schilling being the assistant GM.

    Based on what he says about Beckett, I can tell you that Schilling would make a TERRIBLE GM. Any GM (or assistant GM) with half a brain would expect Beckett to earn that extension by showing he’s still an elite pitcher in 2010. As impressive as his resume is, the decision to sign him to an extension is more about what can he do in the future, rather than what he’s done in the past. If the Red Sox were to sign Beckett “now” and he has a sub-par year, that deal doesn’t look good.

    • February 10, 2010 7:09 pm

      What do you think of my comment on Beckett? Do you think he has been battling some shoulder issues the last couple of seasons? Do you think the innings have been catching up to him.

      Let’s say for the sake of argument that Beckett dominates in 2010 like he did in best BoSox season, the World Championship season of 2007. I still would only consider extending him three years—and I think he would be 35 at the end of that deal. Awfully old for a starting pitcher who will have logged 13-14 seasons of experience in the majors and having pitched in multiple postseasons.

  10. mcjonesee permalink
    February 11, 2010 9:02 am

    Should the Red Sox sign Beckett to a three-year extension? That depends on several factors, namely his health and 2010 performance, the performance of other starters, his age, and last but not least how much money he’s wants. Curt Schilling has neglected to see any of these. Not to mention there’s nothing more risky in baseball than signing a pitcher to a long-term contract.

    Curt, you were a great pitcher and the Beckett will never achieve the things you did. You were in your mid 30s when you had the best four-year window of your career. If you could guarantee that Beckett would perform the way you did in your 30s, then I say sign him NOW. However, Curt, neither you nor I nor Theo has a crystal ball. The closest thing to one is Bill James, and whatever he has Theo’s ear more than you do.

    The Beckett/Lowell deal was Theo’s,…er, Lucchino’s best trade (Theo was on hiatus, remember?) because those two players were key performers in helping to produce the 2007 World Series trophy. So if 2010 is indeed Beckett’s last season in Boston, fans should be grateful to both him and Lowell for their contributions while playing for the Red Sox.

    Does any of this make sense?

  11. polity permalink
    February 11, 2010 12:05 pm

    FYI to all—

    You can go here:

    http://www.fenwaynation.com/POLLS.html

    for results of a reader poll on fenwaynation.com regarding what to do with Beckett. Overwhelming support so far for extending him NOW.

    Ernie Paicopolos
    Editor-In-Chief
    fenwaynation.com

  12. eternalsalvation permalink
    February 19, 2010 10:41 am

    A TRUE STORY: I’m not a baseball fan, but I was preaching the gospel at Kenmore Sq. the night of the big turn around in 2004. I just got through praying with a young man who just invited Jesus Christ into his life, then he asked me to pray for the Red Sox. I HAVE NO INTEREST IN BASEBALL, so I said to him, “‘Are you willing to give up all your sins in exchange for a championship? “”He said he would, I was surprised. We prayed again & made it official. The game was in the last innings, maybe 8th or 9th. Just then there was a change in the air, & I knew they were gonna win, If I was a betting man I would of made a fortune but, that would of been a horrible violation of trust against God. The innings seemed to go on forever in that game maybe up to the 16th or 17th. The Red Sox went on to complete the greatest comeback in history(so they tell me)& win 8 straight games in a row. I thought “”it worked, God bless that young man”‘ Prompting Curt to respond, after the series, “Now that was definitely from God!” When you give up ALL your sins, it’s really hard for God to say know to you!

  13. originalmattyice permalink
    February 20, 2010 2:42 pm

    Alright guys enough with this becket mania. First off are we seriously going to kid ourselves that ownership is going to dish out 175millionish between beckett and lackey for the next 4 yrs or so;no! The once free spending bo sox are turning cheap rite before our eyes, well actually that’s false they havw never really spent the dough. Exhibit a:jonny damon. How wud damon have looked last yr as our dh? Pretty damn good. Look it what they are doing w papelbon for god sake. The only way sox extend a top line player is if they bend over and take one from theo, via yook,pedroia,lester. Becket will not follow in their footsteps because he already took a hometown discount before, let’s face it becket is going to walk and there is nothing we can do about. Sorry for the disapointment…the iceman

  14. superjax permalink
    February 21, 2010 1:08 pm

    Wow eternalsalvation,
    what an incredible and inspiring true story! I have to admit though it leaves me feeling a little disappointed personally. You see, that very same night you and that young man prayed for a Sox victory ans championship and made their win official with God, I had just sacrificed a live chicken and made a pact involving my soul with the Devil to assure the very same outcome. I’m still ecstatic at the Sox’ triumph, but had I known you and your buddy were sealing the deal anyway, I could’ve spared that chicken and kept my eternal soul. Damn!

  15. eternalsalvation permalink
    February 23, 2010 7:38 pm

    O.K Mr. Super Jax sir, don’t believe me then…p.s. the devil has no power over God & what little dismal bit he barely has is only mercifully granted to him by God to show you he exists etc. Look up exorcism on you tube, UNLESS YOU’RE CHICKEN?

    • thedoctorx permalink
      March 11, 2010 10:28 pm

      There are not devils, no gods, son.

      You fool yourself with parlor tricks. You actually believe in a being that will IGNORE the cries of suffering children BUT grant a ball game victory? How sad.

      Every child dying of cancer demonstrates you follow a fairy tale. You have that right, of course–as does Kurt–but neither can expect others to share in such.

      For those confused, one can respect a man’s accomplishments and some of his opinions. That one supports some of Kurt’s political views does not mean one must adhere to ALL of them. That one is thankful for his contributions to the Red Sox and fans does not mean one has to agree with ANY of his other opinions–though one certainly can.

      –J.D.

      –J.D.

      • thedoctorx permalink
        March 11, 2010 10:29 pm

        . . . and one of these days I will realize he spells his name “Curt.”

        –J.D.

  16. eternalsalvation permalink
    February 25, 2010 11:20 am

    An open letter to Curt Schilling:
    Dear Curt,
    Please run for governor. We have 4 sub par candidates. Cahill & Baker will divide the vote guaranteeing Patricks victory, UNLESS a big name w/lots popularity can run, hint hint. All four candidates are social liberal extremists & fiscally clueless. We need serious help here or else we are doomed.
    your friend, Eternal Salvation.

  17. eternalsalvation permalink
    March 14, 2010 10:11 am

    Suffering is a part of life. Pain was in the world b 4 u were born, “”thedoctorx”‘. Jesus suffered on the cross, His Heavenly father knew all about it. U r simply wrong on this one. Suffering is redemptive, it makes up for sins. Sin is the reason we have suffering. NOW, THAT IS A FAIR & JUST GOD, & intelligent too! Jesus asked a 3yr old girl 25yrs ago if she wanted to suffer for others, she said yes! Ever hear of little Audrey Santos from Worcester? …Mother Mary asked 3 children to suffer for the, “‘conversion of sinners”” 2yrs later 70,000 atheists etc got converted in 1 day; Google search Fatima 1917. …Cancer is a terrible disease, made worse from mans radiation treatment. God has nothing to do w/ that choice of radiation… Try again Doc. The reason we have suffering is because some, selfishly, don’t want to give up their sins. The reason why we were able to win in 2004 was because 1 man promised God he would give up ALL his sins, SINS, I said sins! That’s what the 2004 victory was about, not baseball. The reason you don’t WANT to submit to God is because of your sins. I CAN’T RESPECT THAT. Curt Heroically fought a lot of pain & suffering to win the game for us, yet you cry like a baby about “”suffering”‘ I don’t hear Curt whining about suffering, why is he a believer if their is so much suffering in the world. Thank God for men like Curt as for u …tisk,tisk

    • eternalsalvation permalink
      March 14, 2010 10:13 am

      p.s. cry me a river

      • thedoctorx permalink
        April 5, 2010 7:26 pm

        Your lack of empathy noted, son.

        –J.D.

    • thedoctorx permalink
      April 5, 2010 7:24 pm

      Actually it is not, and cannot justify evil by declaring it exists.

      He did not suffer, particularly in comparison to children who suffer.

      I am well aware of the disaster that is the exploitation of Aubrey.

      You are a sad, sick person who worships an evil fairy tale, son.

      Nothing happened at Fatima. Apparently you have not researched it. Unfortunately, reality is not shaped by your willful ignorance of it.

      So you actually think a child, born with a terminal cancer is “selfish?” How disgusting you are. You write like an abuse victim trying to apologize for your abuser.

      Grow up.

  18. thedoctorx permalink
    April 5, 2010 7:25 pm

    On a lighter note, good signing!

    –J.D.

  19. pepe7popo4 permalink
    May 8, 2010 8:34 pm

    Yeah, how is that signing looking today? So much for Beckett not “losing focus.” LMAO.

  20. ohnoimonfire1 permalink
    October 26, 2010 2:52 pm

    Schill:

    Now that Farrell is a Blue Jay, put yourself back in a Sox jersey and be Bostons best pitching coach ever!

    BTW: Great stories on ESPNs 30 for 30: 4 Days in October.

    -Jeff

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