Before spring training, Red Sox SP Josh Beckett was regarded as one of the top free agents on the market this winter. But just before the season began, Beckett and the Red Sox came to terms on a 4 year/$68 million dollar deal. While no one could blame Beckett for agreeing to the deal, some people around baseball believed that Beckett left upwards of $30 million on the table by agreeing to sign with the Red Sox.
Given how poorly Beckett has pitched this season and the fact that he has been on the DL, I'm sure Beckett is thrilled with his contract, yes?
Beckett said the idea of what might have been if he didn't ink that four-year, $68 million contract extension hasn't entered his psyche. That, he explains, is simply not how he operates.
"I haven't really sat down and thought about what if I was in the middle of things. I wasn't like that in the middle of my other contract. I'm not a fisherman when it comes to that stuff," he explained prior to the Red Sox' 11-0 loss to the Indians at Progressive Field. "I'm on this path. I want to help this team win. I want to win this team right now. That's what I have to do every day when I come in, remain positive. How can I make my presence felt without being an idiot. I just have to get my pom poms out and root these guys on.
"When I sign something I'm going to honor it. I'm not one of those guys who says, 'I need this,' or 'I need that.' You know what? I'm happy. I wouldn't have signed if I wasn't."
But by agreeing to the deal when Beckett did, the prospects of worrying about financial ramifications of missing time due to such an injury as the one he currently is fending off aren't on anybody's radar.
Now, people are talking about a pitcher simply trying to get back on the mound and help his team. The words "potential free agent" aren't affixed to any sentences regarding Beckett's current lot in life, and, whether Beckett is cognizant of it or not, jettisons a potential huge distraction for all parties involved.
It's interesting to consider just how much has changed for Beckett since the season began. At one time, he was thought of as a potential $90-$100 million dollar free agent. When he signed the deal with the Red Sox, it was thought of as a very team friendly deal that provided him with a level of security while giving up his free agency. And now, man, it's hard to even imagine that the Red Sox would have given Beckett the 4 year/$68 million dollar deal if they saw how he pitched through the first two months. For their sake, let's hope Beckett's struggles are injury related and nothing further.
If Josh Beckett, in his current form, hit the open market this winter, I'd have a tough time believing that he would come anywhere close to the deal he got a few months back. Even if Beckett came back strong and pitched well for the Sox down the stretch, there's no doubt in my mind that his performance so far this season would scare some teams away. New questions would have been raised: was Beckett's performance directly related to injuries? Is Beckett now an injury risk? And so on and so forth...
Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and right now it looks like Beckett made a stellar decision by agreeing to terms with the Red Sox.