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Opinion: What About Beckett?

Written by Bradley Baskir

As the July 31st trade deadline rapidly approaches, many teams, the Cardinals included, will be looking to upgrade their roster to improve their chances of making a deep run into October.  From the get-go, the Cardinals starting rotation has been decimated by injuries, with front-line starters Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia missing significant chunks of the season, the former being put on the shelf for the entire season. Given how crucial starting pitching is in September and on into the playoffs, the Cardinals have to be on the prowl for an impact arm to join Adam Wainwright and Kyle Lohse atop the rotation. Names like Cole Hamels and Zach Greinke have been thrown around in trade scenarios, but any rational fan would understand that the price to pay for either will be quite steep and the Cardinals would have to engage in a taxing bidding war with the other handful of teams interested in those two. So who else? Why not 2-time World Series Champion and Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett. Beckett has easily worn out his welcome in Boston after the “Friend Chicken and Beer” debacle last September and consistent inconsistency this season. Nevertheless, at times, Beckett has shown flashes of greatness this season, but it’s clear that a mutual break-up is in the cards in Beantown. Over his last 7 seasons (2006-2012) in interleague play against National League teams, Beckett’s numbers are remarkably dominating and a welcome sign for any potential NL front office:

Starts W-L Innings Hits Walks Earned Runs K’s ERA WHIP
19 12-4 136.1 111 22 37 111 2.44 .98

As evidenced above, Beckett has had tremendous success against National League opponents during his Red Sox career. A trade may light a fire under Beckett’s belly and shatter his apparent air of invincibility and arrogance he’s recently picked up. Yes, Beckett is due $34 million over the next 2 seasons, but the Red Sox would appear to be willing to eat a lot of the money just to unload Beckett and move forward with a younger core. The Cardinals can probably acquire Beckett for a B-string minor league prospect, a small price to pay for a starting pitcher with a championship pedigree, looking for a change of scenery. So Cardinals fans, don’t get your panties in a bunch and delude yourselves into thinking Hamels or Greinke make practical sense for the hometown team. Josh Beckett could be the missing piece that the Cardinals need to sure up that rotation and make another spectacular run to glory.