Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett just added more controversy surrounding Boston, the last place team in the American League East. He was left out of the starting rotation of a game because manager Bobby Valentine was concerned about tightness in Beckett’s lat muscle. Instead of taking it easy and resting his muscles so he could play again, as Boston fans hoped he would do, Beckett hit the golf course.
“We get 18 off days a year,” Beckett said. “I think we deserve a little time to ourselves.”
He even told reporters that people had no right to question how he spends his time on his off days, sending fans into an uproar.
Missing a Start, Hitting the Links
Normally, playing golf on an off day wouldn’t be an issue worth reporting. However, when a pitcher misses a start because of an injury and is found playing golf the very next day, and his team is struggling, the story took on a life of its own.
Boston needed Beckett during their 17 inning loss to the Orioles on May 6. Instead, Darnell McDonald, an outfielder, did his best but the team was still defeated. In Beckett’s return to rotation on May 10, he lasted just 2.1 innings against the Cleveland Indians, allowing seven runs on seven hits, including a pair of home runs, resulting in an 8-3 loss.
Disgruntled fans booed Beckett and, even after all the uproar, he still insists his golf game did not impact his pitching.
Is Boston Running Out of Patience?
Following the incident, there was a noticeable lack of support coming from the front office or Valentine. For the most part, Valentine did his best to avoid questions concerning Beckett’s off field activities.
“It doesn’t look good, but what a guy does on his off day if he is not putting his career in jeopardy and not putting his team in jeopardy. I’m sure Josh would never do anything to result in those things and that’s what a man does on his free time if you are a pitcher.”
Beckett’s salary, $15.75 million for the 2012 season, is costing the team a pretty penny, but for what payout? Should he avoid injury and make 32 starts, he’ll make slightly less than half a million dollars per outing.
He has two years left on his four year, $68 million deal that kicked in last season. Beckett has the power to veto any potential deal, as he has been in the major leagues 10 years and has spent the last five with the same team.
Can Boston find a trade partner willing to take on Beckett or will they continue to stick with the mercurial righty in hopes that he will find his way back to form? More importantly, how much more of the petulant attitude and subpar performances can the Red Sox stand?