BOSTON, MA: Josh Beckett of the Boston Red Sox watches as a ball hit by Jack Hannahan of the Cleveland Indians leaves the field for a two-run home run in the second inning at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
May 2: Red Sox announce that Josh Beckett won't make his next scheduled start, on the 5th of May, because of a sore latissimus dorsimus maximus muscle.
May 3: Josh Beckett goes golfing. Which is like rolfing, except outdoors. And generally speaking you're not supposed to rolf or golf when you're not feeling well enough to pitch.
May 5: Josh Beckett doesn't make scheduled start. Also May 5, Aaron Cook makes his first start for the Red Sox, gives up seven runs in 37 minutes, and immediately goes on the Disabled List.
May 10: Josh Beckett makes his scheduled start against Indians, gives up seven runs in 37 minutes, and exits the Fenway Park greensward to the loudest chorus of boos since Alex Rodriguez punched Johnny Pesky.*
* You might have missed that, because it happened during the same week the Penn State news broke and Tim Tebow threw a really tight spiral.
He just doesn’t care all that much about his team and he doesn’t want to be here. Simple. How else can it be construed? And that’s why, in a perfect world, the Red Sox would just cut bait.
Something like this, from a Sox perspective: We wanted to give the guy a second chance after last September, we wanted it to work out, Josh has been a big part of our successes since he arrived in Boston. But a line has now been crossed, and we think it’s in our best interest organizationally to move on. Trading – or releasing, this is a 10/5 guy – Josh Beckett for 40 cents on the dollar is a lousy baseball move, but a great organizational move. Thanks for the memories and all that and there’s the door.
That was before Beckett gave up seven runs in 37 minutes, and before the Red Sox fell to 12-19, 7½ games out of first place and well behind every other team in the Eastern American League. One can imagine what the cognoscenti are writing now, right?
I'm not sure the Red Sox won't decide at some point that changing managers wasn't enough; that to change the culture -- which seemed so wonderful until last September -- they might have to change some of the key players, too.
I'm pretty sure that point isn't here yet. Those two Wild Cards mean every team with talent's a contender in May, and the Boston Red Sox still have plenty of talent, especially when Jacoby Ellsbury and Kevin Youkilis are healthy. Jettisoning Josh Beckett, in addition to getting only 40 cents (or maybe 50 cents) on the dollar, would essentially mean giving up on this season, because there's no one to replace him.
Can you see the Red Sox giving up on this season in May? I can't. I can imagine it, because I can imagine a great number of unlikely things. But I can't see it. The season's got nearly five months to go, and Beckett's contract has nearly three seasons to run. Maybe the franchise would be better off, in the long term, without Josh Beckett on the roster. But maybes are cheap and starting pitchers aren't, so it'll take more than 18 holes of golf and a 5.97 ERA to get Josh Beckett out the door.