The future success of the Red Sox was given hope on Sunday, with Jon Lester’s strong pitching performance. It is uncertain whether that includes making the playoffs this year. Regardless, the clubhouse culture issues especially among the pitching staff , absolutely need to be fixed. Josh Beckett seems to be at the epicenter of what is wrong with the atmosphere among the players. However, the odds of finding a trading partner for Beckett are pretty much at slim to none. I was correct in predicting that the most likely team to acquire him this season in a trade was Texas. Both teams talked about trading Beckett, Ellsbury and Shoppach to Texas. However, they could not agree on what Boston would receive. This means there is probably not a simple solution to this must fix problem. Let’s assume Josh keeps pitching badly and wont have any off season trade value. I believe the reason he has had such an awful season this year is he feels guilty for playing such a pivotal role for the fried chicken and beer brigade of last season. He apparently doesn’t have the guts to admit to himself, let alone Boston fans that what he did and encouraged others to do was wrong and hurt his team last September. The question, that will give the management creatures on Yawkey Way migraine headaches, is what to do about Beckett? I believe there is a possible solution to this complicated matter.
Beckett is the alpha dog of the pitching staff. He holds that position because he once was the most talented and successful among them. He epitomizes the modern day selfish, indulgent, and entitled athletes that fans have come to loathe. Perhaps, some of his teammates aspire to be as selfish as he is and that’s why the younger ones look up to him. Hard to say why but the younger pitchers like him and respect him. The only way I can see to remove the negative influence of Beckett other than getting him off the team, is to acquire another pitcher who because of his personality, talent and resume becomes the dominant personality on the pitching staff.
Fortunately, there will be one of these rare types available in free agency. That guy is Jake Peavy. Jake is a bulldog who is hungry to win a championship. He has strong leadership skills and would be a shining example for any young pitcher on how to be a professional and a winner. Put him in the mix with Beckett and Peavy will become the top dog among the pitching staff. Beckett is so not hungry to win a championship it is kind of nauseating. He has admitted his priorities are his family, inferring he has lost his competitive edge. If Jake Peavy saw Josh Beckett mailing it in at any time, there could be a confrontation and it could get ugly. This is just the kind of interaction the young pitchers including Lester need to be around to right the ship that is the Red Sox. Jake is a no nonsense guy who has struggled to get healthy and wants desperately to get that championship ring on his finger. Perhaps there is another guy like him that is available to the Red Sox. If so, they should try to get him if they can’t acquire Peavy. Its hard to say if Peavy would choose the Red Sox over other teams. Free agents have the final call as to where they play. However, money does talk and the Red Sox fans deserve more than they are getting for their money these days.