[Update 4:47 pm] It has been confirmed by Sean McAdam that the Dodgers have claimed Josh Beckett and the remaining years and money of his contract. Now the questions remaining to us:
- Is this a prelude to a larger trade, an agreed upon claim?
- Is this simply the Dodgers having interest in Beckett, and Beckett alone? The Dodgers had interest in Beckett before the July 31 deadline, per Ken Rosenthal.
- Will Josh Beckett allow a claim or trade, or will he void it with his 10-and-5 rights?
Well, no one saw this coming. Josh Beckett was supposed to be as close to a sure thing for not being claimed on waivers as possible, given he is owed $31.5 million over 2013 and 2014, and had not pitched well in 2012, or at least, not consistently well. Here comes Sean McAdam with news from a source that will surprise us all, if true:
Unconfirmed and unidentified. This is a "come back later for more" scenario if we've ever seen one.
Did the Dodgers snag Beckett in order to show how serious they are about an Adrian Gonzalez trade? Is that even plausible, timeline-wise, given Gonzalez just got around to them earlier today? Are the Sox just going to let whoever claimed Beckett take him, or were there conversations earlier that guaranteed safety should they go out on a limb and claim Beckett in order to facilitate trade negotiations immediately, rather than wait for Beckett to clear? Is that team the Dodgers, which would allow players to be named later, eschewing the waivers, or is it Texas, come to claim the Beckett they attempted to pry from Boston a month ago? So many questions, but obviously, no answers just yet.
The Dodgers could make a good home for Beckett, even without being part of a Gonzalez trade, as their park is better for pitchers than Fenway, the division less hateful towards moundsmen, and the league itself an easier place to pitch. It would be a place where Beckett could likely earn his keep easily, even at his reduced velocity and effectiveness.
Regardless of whether the Sox want to straight-up back out and let Mystery Team have Beckett, or if there is a deal in the works, Beckett and his 10-and-5 rights get the chance to say no. But, given all the noise that's surrounded Beckett since last September, you would think he would be open to moving to a contender who wants him enough to put a waiver claim on his contract, despite the possibility all they would get back being Beckett.