Remind me why we had to take this guy as a throw-in in the Lowell trade?

August 15th, 2006 → 10:33 am @ // 9 Comments

I know — or I hope I know, anyway — that the Josh Beckett we’ve seen over the last few weeks isn’t the Josh Beckett we’re going to see for the next few years. As I said about a week ago, it looks to me like Beckett needs to work on his maturity (and his need to prove he’s more of a man than the hitters he’s facing) more than anything else. This is a guy with too much talent to implode. And we’d do well to remember how young he is, almost exactly the same age as rookie Jonathan Papelbon. (As a quick aside, please, please don’t start posting comments about how Papelbon would be as good a starter as he is a closer. History is littered with failed starters who became dominant closers. Papelbon might become a very effective starter; his performance this year doesn’t guarantee it.) But as Gordon Edes wrote in today’s Globe, Beckett’s thrown up some really awful numbers: a 5.74 ERA post All-Star break, a 12.00 ERA in his seven losses. That looks like the numbers of someone who isn’t good at getting out of jams.

Some other quick notes from last night: Demarlo Hale made a mistake when he sent Manny home in the eighth. But it wasn’t a flat-out stupid move: the Sox were four runs behind in the eighth, facing a pitcher regularly breaking 100 mph (Wily Mo said the pitch he struck out on was the fastest fastball he’s ever seen), and Tigers center fielder was throwing to third when Hale waved Manny home. It was only an Alex Gonzalez-like play by shortstop Carlos Guillen that got the out. Was it disappointing? Sure. Was it a move worthy of complaints about Hale’s ability or articles dissecting all the criticism? Nope. Hale’s done a great job. He took a risk and it didn’t work out. Let’s move on.

Finally — and I know this is risking a flurry of hate mail — let’s look at what happened last night to the Mets ace. After starting the year with an inflamed big toe and spending two weeks on the DL with an inflamed right hip, Pedro Martinez left last night’s game after a disastrous first inning with a strained right calf. Once again, I’ll remind people that the Red Sox had offered Pedro a three-year contract worth $40 million. Once again, I’ll remind people that the reason the Sox didn’t offer Pedro four years (besides the fact that Pedro never gave the team the chance to match the 11th hour offer by the Mets) was concerns about his durability. And once again, I’ll remind people that Pedro’s track record against NL teams has been markedly different from his performance versus the AL East. I’ve gotten tons of hate mail — more repulsive, hair-tingling, inane vitriol — about the fact that the Sox didn’t keep Pedro and I’ve dared point out why that might have made sense. I’ve gotten more nasty letters directed at Larry Lucchino, Theo Epstein, and the team’s baseball operations crew about this issue than any other. Those letters are confusing emotion with reality. We all miss Pedro. On some level, all baseball fans have a deeply romantic streak; on some level, we all wish our heroes would always stay young and would always retire with the team. And in reality, especially during this era of exploding free-agent salaries, it doesn’t always make sense to do this.


Post Categories: Josh Beckett & Pedro Martinez

9 Comments → “Remind me why we had to take this guy as a throw-in in the Lowell trade?”


  1. Retire_Number_14

    11 years ago

    It’s a fine line that JB walks every time he’s on the mound. It seems he’s got the opposite problem as Jon Lester, with the same results. JL likes to nibble and pick at the corners, and often finds himself in jams by walking batters, has high pitch counts early in games (a slow worker, too, which is bad for the defense), and thusly can’t go past the fifth. JB, on the opposite end of the spectrum, challenges good hitters way too often with fastballs for strikes and the batters are just sitting on Number 1. He gets hit hard, finds himself in jams, has high pitch counts and — big surprise — can’t give the team the innings it needs. They’re both young and growing up during a pennant race, but will need to do so if BRS are to have a chance. This is a big reason the bullpen looks bad: they’re being asked to do too much on a daily basis. Not that Francona has any other option, though. Sox need to string some solid outings together. Big Schill needs a big night.

    And how about Seanez? Looks like Eckersley in the seventh, then BK Kim in the eighth.

    Reply

  2. iokyouok

    11 years ago

    The last point is right on, and the stakes are so high that the players like Damon and Pedro are less prone to making nostalgic decisions. But you gotta wonder if Johnny’s tears in the offseason (which I think were somewhat legit) weren’t for some loss further down the road. I think he was counting on being treated like Pesky, Remy, even when he could no longer throw a baseball… er, you know what I mean. Also, what’s up with this slur?.

    Reply

  3. greperry

    11 years ago

    This question is admittedly coming from some ignorance. But here goes. Could some of the pitching problems come from ineffective pitching coaching. In other words, does Al Nipper get some of the blame here? And obversely, can we expect improvement soon with the return of dave Wallace?

    Reply

  4. Ogie Oglethorpe

    11 years ago

    I hope this isn’t the Beckett that we will be seeing going forward either. He needs to be less reliant on his fastball and use his curve to set up the fastball. It just seems that batters will not offer at anything but his heater.

    The only thing I have to say about Hale is that I forgot he is actually a member of the coaching staff. That tells you something.

    I don’t need to see Pedro breaking down in a Red Sox uniform. I prefer to remember him striking out 17 Yankees in the Bronx. I wish the guy the best but even he knew that he was not able to be effective in the AL anymore. I’m convinced that he had no intention of coming back. Damon could be going through the same thing a couple of years from now. I’m still convinced that letting JD go was a sound decision. If you don’t believe me compare his stats vs. Youkilis’ for this season. Youk is doing at least as good of a job as Damon at a fraction of the price. Granted that he has spent some time batting 5th recently.

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  5. djarm18

    11 years ago

    Seth, you’re right on about Pedro, it just seems we would rather not believe it because JB has not erased his memory. But I really do not miss the buzz that surrounded Pedro. It was exciting but his starts against the Yanks were nerve racking- always with the drama!

    >>And we’d do well to remember how young he is, almost exactly the same age as rookie Jonathan Papelbon.

    Reply

  6. djarm18

    11 years ago

    …And we’d do well to remember how young he is, almost exactly the same age as rookie Jonathan Papelbon…

    I do not agree with you here. What happened to Josh Becket, winner of game 6 at Yankee Stadium, blah blah? He’s now as green as Paplebon? From what I read here, I am assuming Becket is shaking off pitches and trying to overpower everybody. Is it too late in the season for somebody to approach him and make some adjustments?

    And is there any truth to the notion ‘Tek is going to call pitches from the bench when he can return to the team? It sounds absurd, but brilliantly whimsical. If the game were only that easy.

    Reply

  7. Nordberg

    11 years ago

    Beckett, I think, needs to grow up. Not saying that as an insult. Professional hitters will eat you up if you’re not on. It’s time for him to take that next step to stay ahead of them.

    Second, it’s time for the Boston media to stop giving him a free pass. The honeymoon is over. He deserved much more heat over last night’s loss than Hale.

    Third, I want to remind you, Seth, that I backed you on the Pedro stuff early on. You were right, and now the evidence clearly shows that the Sox were right not to resign him.

    Reply

  8. zoowah

    11 years ago

    Maybe if Curt sits down and gives him The Talk.
    Maybe if Curt and Roger sit down and give him The Talk.
    Maybe if Curt and Roger and The Can sit down and give him the Talk.

    I miss The Can.

    http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2005/05/17/rusty_can_says_hes_returnable/

    Reply

  9. Mr. Furious

    11 years ago

    I grew up a Sox fan, but have lived in Michigan for the last five years. I’ve sort of adopted the Tigers as a second team and after watching this team struggle (suck) for years, it is rewarding to see it all come together for them. Particularly watching the young pitchers mature. I had Bonderman and Robertson on my fantasy squad two years ago and I would argue they were pitching better then than Beckett is now.

    Beckett has been in the majors how long? All three of the Tigers young studs (Verlander, Bonderman and Robertson) are younger than Beckett and pitching with much more maturity. I place this blame squarely on Beckett and his outsized ego, and Tito and Nipper for not yanking his ass off the mound after shaking off calls only to serve one up.

    And Javy Lopex should be nailed to the bench when Beckett starts. Every little bit helps.

    And Schilling? Get off you ass and give this kid the talk you claim Clemens gave you, already.

    All of that said, I entered this series hoping to split the difference with my “two” teams. Tigers needed the win last night, and I didn’t mind seeing Beckett lose. Sox need the next two. And Beckett could learn a few things watching Tigers video—their youngsters know how to pitch (Zumaya excepted—he’s Beckett with a few more mph).

    Reply

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