Another mediocre Josh Beckett start, another round of calls to trade the struggling and oft-disappointing starter.
At least for now, however, it seems Red Sox fans will be forced to endure more outings from the brash Texan, as Rob Bradford says that the team is not close to dealing their longest tenured pitcher. While Bradford's source acknowledges that the Sox have received calls asking about Beckett's availability, they are passed off as "little more than exercises in kicking the tires."
While I don't expect this to be the most popular opinion in the world, in my mind this is a good thing.
The reasoning is largely the same as that behind Jon Lester, which is that selling Beckett now would be selling Beckett at a low point. That being said, it's not exactly the same situation by any means.
For one thing, there is a much better chance that 28-year-old Jon Lester rebounds than the 32-year-old Josh Beckett. Lester's peripherals also tell a better story, though Beckett's are not terrible in their own right.
At the same time, other teams know that, and the return on Beckett is likely to be rather lower than any the Sox might expect for Lester. They'd almost certainly have to eat some or even most of Beckett's contract, while Lester would likely be taken off their hands completely unless the Sox were interested in getting some really prime talent compensation by offering up cash in return.
But maybe the most compelling reason for me is one that I know shouldn't really be considered--one born of superstition rather than reason. Because what we have right now was predictable: it's even-year Beckett. It's a pattern that has lasted for Beckett's entire career. One year great, the next less impressive. His career ERA rises and falls with remarkable consistency if with varying intensity, and 20121 was set to be a down year. It's a phenomenon we all know about, most joke about, but probably put more weight into than we'd really like to admit.
There can be explanations for it, likely psychological as much as anything. Bad years breeds criticism breeds motivation breeds results breed complacency, or something like that. There's plenty of psychoanalysis to be done, plenty of statistical analysis showing that the every-other-year phenomenon is based on luck, or simply a random coincidence, or for any number of reasons not predictive of future results.
But, call me crazy, I'm going to buy into it. Beckett probably won't be a sub-3.00 ERA guy next year like he was in 2011, but I believe 2013 Beckett will be a good Beckett. An odd-year Beckett. And the time to trade him is after an odd year, not before.