Is This The End Of Josh Beckett?


Looks like I might be wrong on this one. The Dodgers contract to Paul Maholm is being reported as a 1.5 million dollar major league deal. It was first rumored to be a minor league deal when it originally broke. I guess I should have waited for the news to become official. I know better than that, but I’m not afraid to take a little crow on this one.

As far as the cost is concerned, it’s nothing to the Dodgers. 1.5 million is chump change. The price is not a problem. What this may signal to us, is the end of Josh Beckett’s arm. Or is it? The team has been unusually tight-lipped about the veteran right handers status in the last few months. The club has only stated that he will be ready to go by spring training. I assumed that that would be the case.

Of course I know and you all know how serious Beckett’s injury is. The thoracic outlet syndrome that he was suffering from is the same injury that ended Chris Carpenter’s career. He had to retire. That could be what Beckett is facing right now.

Josh Beckett-Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers wouldn’t have signed Maholm if they were at all confident about Josh Beckett’s health. I’m wondering if both pitchers are healthy, then how would they fit them onto the roster? They moved some chairs around, shifting Scott Elbert to the 60-day DL, but how would they fit them both onto the active 25-man roster. Spots are severely limited right now.

The way I see it, this could go down in three different ways. Outcome 1, would be the most likely scenario.

Outcome -1 Beckett’s arm is toast, and Maholm takes over the number five spot indefinitely.

This outcome is the most likely. It won’t be pretty, but I guess I could live with it. I still don’t think Maholm is very good, or even much better than the Bronson Arroyos on the market, but he’s cheap, and normally pretty versatile. Fife looks to be the better option in my opinion.

Outcome -2 Both pitchers are healthy, and one is stashed in the bullpen with the other taking over the starting role.

Less likely, but still in the realm of possibility. We still don’t know how Beckett’s arm will hold up, but it very well could hold up through spring training, and into April or May. Would we be looking at a Memorial day DL stint? Something like this could happen.

Outcome -3 Beckett’s arm falls apart in spring training, and he doesn’t make it back to the mound until May or June, or even after the all-star break. In that case, you know the club will use Maholm, instead of the wiser choice in Stephen Fife. 

I guess we’ll see how all of this unfolds as spring training progresses, so it will be most interesting.

Don’t forget that reports are indicating that Chad Billinglsey’s bullpen sessions have been very good, and he appears to be ahead of schedule. He’s coming back at some point this season. The club also has guys like Stephen Fife, Matt Magill, and top prospect Zach Lee, whom could all be brought into the fold at some point if needed.

The club is stockpiling arms again, and there is nothing wrong with that. Hard to believe that Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang, and Ted Lilly are all gone. The fifth starter is going to be either Paul Maholm, or Josh Beckett. The fifth starter spot normally sees a lot of turnaround from year to year.

Maholm may just be in line for Beckett’s spot-Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The question is, if both pitchers are healthy, who’s the better pitcher? I think the answer to that is obvious. I don’t think that Mahlolm is terrible, but let’s not be surprised when he turns out to be frustratingly mediocre. When healthy, Beckett is the better pitcher. Even though he’s older and has a ton of mileage on his arm, he’s still the better pitcher. Even if there’s still an ounce of mojo left in his used up arm, I would rather go with him than Maholm.

Personally I would rather go with Fife than with any of these guys. The Dodgers have their emergency worse comes to worse pitcher, but they have better internal options to choose from. Either way it appears that the hourglass of time may have run out on Josh Beckett. I can’t wait to see what happens next.