The Red Sox just signed right-handed ace Josh Beckett to a $68 million four-year contract extension for the years 2011-2014.
Certainly, Beckett can’t have a lot of complaints with a contract that sets him up for life (he’ll make $80 million between now and the end of 2014, not including play-off money, endorsements, etc) absent unspeakable profligacy. Meanwhile, the Red Sox have to feel pretty good about holding on to Beckett through 2014 for a little less than they had to pay Jon Lackey this past off-season or the Yankees paid A. J. Burnett the off-season before.
There are no guarantees, and Beckett has had some minor arm issues the last few seasons. However, he’s generally been healthy enough to pitch his 200 innings a year, and he hasn’t been heavily overworked either.
It’s a good time for teams to be locking up their best youngish players with long-term deals, because of the currently depressed player salary market. Times seem tough right now, but even with a slow national recovery predicted by many, I fully expect that the U.S. economy will be booming again by the Summer of 2012, based on the history of the country’s economic cycles since the end of the Great Depression.
If that’s the case, the long-term deals (four or more years) that the top players are getting now will seem like a bargain in 2013 and 2014.
It remains to be seen, of course. Beckett could blow out his arm long before 2014, and the increased cost of raw materials, particularly oil, could drag out the American recovery longer than expected. However, knowing what I know now, I think the Red Sox made the right move locking Beckett up now at this price.