The Dodgers Need To Dump Josh Beckett
By Scott Andes
I’ve had enough of Josh Beckett. How long are the Dodgers going to continue to go with him? I think we’ve all had it up to here with his poor performances. Enough is enough. At what point do you say this is the end?
I had high hopes for Josh when the Dodgers first acquired him from the Boston Red Sox in the blockbuster trade that netted them Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto. We all heard the stories from the Red Sox fans and writers about his declining velocity, and poor attitude. Now I don’t know about his attitude when he was with the Red Sox, and I haven’t heard of him causing any trouble in the Dodger clubhouse. No, it’s his pitching that is causing all of the problems. He has been a major disappointment, just like the entire team has been thus far.
Sorry Josh, but your time is up-Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
This is Beckett’s 14th major league season, and he has succumbed to many injuries during his long career. This is a guy who was once a World Series MVP. He was once a dominant pitcher, who could reach up to 99 mph on the radar gun with his fastballs. Not anymore. Those days are long behind him. His velocity has dropped down into the 92-94 range. That’s not to say he can’t win with those fastball speeds. Throwing 92-94 is major league quality velocity. However it is a far cry from the 98-100 Beckett used to reach when he first came up to the major leagues.
The story was that Beckett had to learn how to be a finesse pitcher after being a power pitcher since the beginning of his career. Here’s the thing, Beckett not only can still throw at a major league quality velocity, but he’s not a thinking man’s pitcher. He’s not a Ted Lilly. If Beckett has to use smoke and mirrors to get guys out, he’s toast.
So maybe that’s why he’s been so bad this year? I don’t know, but something needs to give. Beckett still has the stuff to miss bats. As a matter of fact he has an 8.0 whiff per nine rate, and has whiffed 41 batters this season against 15 walks. So if Beckett is still missing bats, then what’s the problem?
Well, he’s not keeping the ball down. His pitches often look flat with little movement. Most of the time, he hangs pitches over the plate too much, and they get rocked. This is the major leagues, and major league hitters know how to hit a hanging breaking ball, or a fastball out over the meat of the plate.
Beckett came into tonight’s game winless on the season. He was 0-4 with a 5.13 ERA. (His ERA is now at 5.29 after last night’s 6-2 loss to Washington) He has given up 49 hits in 43 innings this season. However it’s the long balls that have also hurt him. Beckett has allowed eight of them on the season, and has given up 25 earned runs already.
To be fair, I don’t think anyone could have predicted he would be this bad. I mean he was at least somewhat decent last year. In 2012 with the Dodgers, Beckett posted a 2.93 ERA in seven games. Tonight was Beckett’s eighth start of 2013. Last season he had a WHIP of 1.326 with the Dodgers, this season it’s ballooned to 1.488. He’s giving up more hits, and serving up more long balls than he ever has. He had a 5.23 ERA with the Red Sox last season before he was traded. That should have been a red flag.
Could Beckett’s career be in danger?-Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
So last night I was hoping that Beckett could at least give us one, just one quality start. Yet he sucked again. He allowed four runs on three hits in three innings. Yes only two were earned because of an error from Adrian Gonzalez, but that doesn’t matter. He was hit hard again. He did whiff five, but walked two, and suffered yet another loss. He made 68 pitches and threw 40 for strikes. The problem isn’t him missing the plate, the problem is his lack of ability to locate his pitches.
The numbers get even worse if you look closer. Beckett has had constant problems in the first inning. Those first inning deflating runs are so demoralizing as you never give your team a chance to be in the game. Beckett has a 6.23 ERA in the first inning. Left handed batters are hitting .325 against him, and with runners in scoring position, opposing teams are batting .270 off the veteran right hander.
After last night’s game Don Mattingly mentioned that he suffered some kind of groin injury while running to first to cover a throw. Perhaps a hidden injury is partially the cause. Regardless he’s been utterly ineffective this season. Whether that’s from injury, or just his decline, I don’t care. It’s time to make a change.
But if the Dodgers refuse to let go of a guy hitting .087 what makes anyone think they would let go of Josh Beckett? No, of course they won’t. The Dodgers will likely just stall for more time, by placing him on the disabled list, to continue to avoid doing what they know they are going to have to eventually do. I don’t care who replaces him in the rotation. Whether that’s lefty Ted Lilly, or Zach Lee, or some other youngster. This can’t go on any longer.
The 32 year old is due over 30 million dollars over the next two seasons. Sometimes you have to make tough decisions in Baseball and nobody wants to have to let someone go. It isn’t a fun aspect of the game, but a necessary one if you want to field a competitive roster. The time has come for the Dodgers to make a move and eat the rest of his contract. Just do it. The Dodgers need to release Josh Beckett and be done with him. How much rope can this guy be given?
The time has come for Beckett, and the clock is ticking on his Dodger career. The bell tolls for thee Josh.