Why Red Sox Need to Trade Josh Beckett Right Now

Paul Francis Sullivan@@sullybaseballChief Writer IMay 21, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 20:  Josh Beckett #19 of the Boston Red Sox throws a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies in a MLB interleague baseball game on May 20, 2012 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Josh Beckett has had his second straight excellent start for the Red Sox with his victory over Philadelphia on Sunday. And despite all of the controversy, beer, chicken and golf games, he has thrown several very good games this season.

Red Sox fans tend to focus on his rotten first start in Detroit and his seven-runs-in-less-than-three-innings debacle after the golf game on May 10th.

His other six starts this year? He has averaged seven innings, 1.6 earned runs, just under six strikeouts and posted a 2.12 ERA.

That is not bad at all. That is exactly what you want from a No. 2 starter. Take away those two bad starts and he is having a terrific season.

And that is exactly why the Red Sox should trade him now. Do not trade him at the deadline or in a few weeks. The Red Sox should trade him before you finish reading this sentence.

Two things are clear about Josh Beckett and his time with the Red Sox: His highs are phenomenal and his lows are horrific.

There are times where Beckett has been a legitimate Cy Young contender and postseason horse for the Red Sox. And there have been times where he looked like he was one bad outing from being designated for assignment.

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Right now despite the golf game and chicken controversy, Beckett looks good. Meanwhile, the Red Sox do not.

About a quarter of the way through the season, the Red Sox have shown exactly what they are: a team of streaks. They will win four and lose four. They will look like world beaters one day and look like Timmy Lupus playing right field the next.

The best hope for Boston is the influx of new blood. The additions of Will Middlebrooks and Frank Doubront, along with the emergence of Daniel Bard as a starter, give the Red Sox some hope moving forward.

But they need more young players to move forward to 2013 and beyond.

BOSTON - OCTOBER 21:  Josh Beckett #19 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates defeating the Cleveland Indians by the score of 11-2 to win the American League Championship Series in seven games at Fenway Park on October 21, 2007 in Boston, Massachusetts.  Lofton
Al Bello/Getty Images

The bullpen needs arms. The corner outfield spots need young legs. And what better trade chip can there be to a contending team than a pitcher with multiple postseason MVPs who's currently throwing the ball well?

Beyond bringing in a young player for Beckett, having his salary off of the books along with Dice-K's contract ending this year could give the Red Sox more money to sign another starter.

His value will never be higher than this particular nanosecond. And the sooner the Red Sox admit three things, the better off they will be.

1. Admit that Josh Beckett's value fluctuates and it is best to deal him when a team thinks they are getting the 2003 World Series and 2007 ALCS MVP and not a guy with a bloated ERA and an attitude.

2. Admit that the combination of Josh Beckett, Bobby Valentine and the Boston media will mean that his time with the Red Sox will not end well. Trade him before the blow-up.

3. Admit that the Red Sox are not winning squat in 2012, but there is a good core for the 2013 team that can be expanded with the haul from a Beckett trade.

It is time to make a positive long-term move. Beckett was brought in to help win a title; he did just that and Fenway fans should always appreciate that.

It's time to move on. The Red Sox are better off making the deal now, because it could get ugly very quickly—and his trade value would be close to nothing.

Most contenders need starting pitching. Give them a call, Red Sox, and get a piece or two for the 2013 pennant stretch.

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