5 Reasons the Boston Red Sox Shouldn't Get Rid of Josh Beckett

Oliver ThomasContributor IAugust 12, 2012

5 Reasons the Boston Red Sox Shouldn't Get Rid of Josh Beckett

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    Boston Red Sox starter Josh Beckett has pitched miserably this season, but forcing him out of town would not be a wise decision.

    Yes, Beckett's 4.97 ERA and 5-9 record have certainly hurt the Red Sox's playoff hopes. Although, his tribulations go further than balls and strikes.

    Since last September, the right-hander has been booed off the mound. He's gotten heat for golfing after a skipped start. And it's hard to forget about the infamous beer and chicken scandal.

    He's lost popularity with the Fenway faithful, but what exactly would the Red Sox gain by shipping the Texas hurler out of town?

    As it turns out, not much.

    Here is why Boston shouldn't get rid of Beckett.

The Contractual Bind

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    Frustrated Red Sox fans have been echoing the "Just cut Josh Beckett!" sentiment for some time now. Yet in major league baseball, that idea is not as simple as it sounds.

    If he was cut loose, the organization would have to eat his contract.

    According to Spotrac.com, Beckett is earning $17 million this season between his base salary and signing bonus. That number won't be budging in 2013 or 2014, either. In fact, the Sox won't have their expensive starter off the books until 2015.

    Another unfavorable option for Boston is waivers.

    If the Sox placed Beckett on waivers and no team claimed his services, the Red Sox would be back where they started. The club could hold onto him, try to trade him post-deadline, or send him to the minors—which he'd likely refuse. The latter options are unrealistic at this point due to his poor performance and lucrative contract.

    With his stock plummeting, moving Beckett is just not a cost-effective maneuver.

A Glaring Void in the Rotation

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    One factor in the Josh Beckett saga to keep an eye on is the lack of depth around him in the starting rotation.

    Tiring rookie Felix Doubront won't be making his next start, reports Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. Doubront has hit a wall in his first full major league season, failing to pitch beyond 6.1 innings since June 13.

    In addition, the injury-marred Daisuke Matsuzaka is on the disabled list and Daniel Bard is trying to gather himself out of the bullpen in Triple-A Pawtucket.

    On August 10, the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham offered his thoughts on the depleted rotation:

    With Felix Doubront beaten up and Franklin Morales probably facing limitations at some point, Matsuzaka is going to pitch for the Red Sox again. So you have that to look forward to.

    The Red Sox need all the arms they can get. Letting go of Beckett wouldn't fix that.

Beckett Has Been Here Before

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    Josh Beckett is in a serious slump, but that trend won't necessarily continue in 2013.

    In his debut season with the Red Sox back in 2006, Beckett notched a 5.01 ERA while allowing a career-high in walks and home runs. He followed that up with a 20-win season with a 3.27 ERA and his first All-Star nomination in 2007.

    In 2010, Beckett's 5.78 ERA was his worst ever. He got back on track a year later with a staggering 2.89 ERA and another All-Star appearance.

    The 32-year-old has been able to correct his mechanics before. Why couldn't he do it again for the next go-around?

A Stint on the Disabled List Could Be All Beckett Needs

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    If the Red Sox make a move with Josh Beckett, it should be to the disabled list. It may not be a bold move, but it's a rational one due to his deteriorating performance.

    According to ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald, No. 19 has been bothered by back spasms of late:

    Beckett was removed from his previous start due to back spasms, and then he was skipped in the rotation. Given his results Wednesday, it wouldn't be a surprise if he landed on the disabled list. However, he denied that the back is an issue.

    Even after allowing eight runs against the Texas Rangers last week, Beckett refused to blame his back. At the end of the day, he is a stiff competitor who wants to play. He just doesn't have it right now and must refocus.

    If placed on the 15-day DL, Beckett's spot in the rotation would be up for grabs. At this point, letting another guy step in would be best for all parties involved.

    Whether or not the Red Sox have other pitchers of Beckett's caliber remains to be seen. But the front office won't know until they give someone an opportunity.

The Playoff Picture Is Forming Without the Red Sox

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    Right now, the Red Sox are a sub-.500 team sitting fourth in the American League East standings. Regardless of whether Josh Beckett is in Boston or not, a guy who pitches every fifth day won't single-handedly change the rest of the season.

    The Sox are 11 games behind the division-leading New York Yankees and 5.5 games out of a wild-card spot. If the ball club doesn't gain significant ground within the next 10 contests, their playoff hopes will be pretty well shot.

    On the ball club's current 40-man roster, there are six men on the disabled list. The injured notables include third baseman Will Middlebrooks, designated hitter David Ortiz and relief pitcher Scott Atchison. Without their help, Boston's crack at making the playoffs isn't promising.

    With 46 games remaining, Beckett has roughly nine starts left on the schedule. His impact from here on out is minimal at best, and the chance to sell at the July 31 trade deadline has already come and gone.

    As sad as it may be, it could be time to start looking toward next year.