Why A Josh Beckett Trade Won’t Reap The Same Rewards As The Nomar Garciaparra Trade

I’ve heard a lot of talk about how a Josh Beckett trade can be the catalyst to spark the Red Sox much the same way that the Nomar Garciaparra trade sparked the 2004 Red Sox.  I hate to rain on everyone’s parade but I’m afraid that ain’t going to happen.

Josh Beckett may have worn out his welcome in Boston but he has too many years and too many dollars left on his contract to net any type of return

First off Nomar Garciaparra was a position player and the lineup was still pretty good without him.  They had Ortiz, Manny, Damon, Millar, Mueller, Nixon, Varitek – basically it was a stacked lineup.  Our current starting rotation is far from stacked.  They have no one in their rotation with an ERA under 4.00 and they have, statistically, the worst starting pitcher in the American League thus far this year in Clay Buchholz.  As a whole, the bullpen’s ERA is a shade over 6.00, the second worst ERA in the league.  The alternatives to Beckett are Aaron Cook, who lasted all of two innings before hitting the disabled list, and Daisuke Matsuzaka, who had Tommy John Surgery less than 11 months ago.  All of the guys in the Sox system with top of the rotation potential (Anthony Ranaudo, Stolmy Pimentel, Matt Barnes) are nowhere close to being ready for the bigs.  The starting pitching depth just isn’t there.

Secondly is the difference there will be in the returns.  In exchange for Nomar, who had only a half of a year remaining on his contract, the Red Sox received Orlando Cabrera who replaced Nomar in the lineup and was very productive in the World Series run and Doug Mientkiewicz who solidified the weak spot of that team, infield defense.  Josh Beckett has 3 years left on his contract at roughly $18 million per season.  Not only will the Red Sox have to take on most, if not all, of the salary themselves but there will be very little return as far as players go.  Even Manny Ramirez netted us Jason Bay, who was instrumental in getting us to the ALCS in 2008, but Manny, like Nomar, only had a half of a year left on his deal.

The Nomar trade netted the Sox significant pieces in Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz

Third is that unlike Nomar Beckett has 10/5 trade veto rights which means that he could steer himself to any situation he wanted which could do one of two things.  A) lessen the bargaining power of the Red Sox if the other team knows that the Sox have few other options and B) he could steer himself to a American League contender and we would essentially be paying him to beat us for the next two and a half seasons.

I guess the only way I can see a Nomar/Manny-less type spark happening is if you believe that Beckett’s attitude is so rotten that it infects the entire clubhouse.  I just don’t buy into stuff like that.  These guys are big boys and they are going to act how they want regardless of who is or isn’t in the clubhouse.  The clubhouse doesn’t seem to have a good atmosphere as a whole right now and I have a hard time believing that it’s because of just one guy.  I’m not advocating not trading Beckett, I’m just saying that if you’re looking for a spark you probably aren’t going to get one by trading him now.  At this point I’d send Middlebrooks down when Youk is healthy and keep him, Lavarnway and Iglesias the hell away from the big club and ride this season out before cleaning house in the off-season.  Build around Pedroia, Lester, and the young guys from there.

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About evonsports
30 year old sports enthusiast and aspiring writer from Boston.

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