It's Amazing What a Little Journalistic Integrity Can Do
Two takes on the Beckett trade and what to expect from him.
One is by Ken Davidoff of Newsday who actually looks at statistics and history.
The other is by Larry Luccino's personal shill Dan Shaughnessy, who ignores statistics and declares Beckett the second coming of Clemens. So much so that the Sox should give him Clemens' unoffically retired #21.
I will let you pick out which is which.
There will be a new sheriff in town when the Red Sox hit Fort Myers in February. He's a big, strong Texan, he grew up worshipping Clemens, and he's already beaten the Yankees in the World Series. He's even a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association. Beckett is 21-worthy, no doubt about it.
Fortunately for Red Sox fans, Boston had the cash and the prospects to land Beckett, a 25-year-old stud righty. An heir to Clemens.
There he is, ladies and gentlemen, your new stopper. The torch has been passed from Clemens to Pedro to Schilling to Beckett. Time to pass along No. 21 now.
And now the other guy:
Maybe this is just the Thanksgiving gastronomic hangover talking, but common sense says Beckett is anything but a guarantee to become Boston's next ace. Surely, if even a half-wit like myself can take note of some simple realities, then Red Sox president/evil genius Larry Lucchino and his committee of non-general managers can do the same.
1. Personal history. Beckett has four full major-league seasons on his resume, and not once has he reached 30 games started or 200 innings pitched. Surely you've heard by now of his nine - nine! - disabled-list visits the past four years.
It's true that Beckett set career highs in starts (29), innings (178 2/3), victories (15) and strikeouts (166) in 2005. It's also true that he had shoulder problems in August and September. There are guys who miss time and guys who don't, and Beckett, so far, very much falls into the former category.
2. National League to American League transition. Clement and Randy Johnson were the 2005 transfers who had their ERAs shoot up and their strikeouts plummet thanks to the designated hitter, and Carl Pavano found the AL so intimidating that he entered the witness-protection program. Previous victims include Kevin Brown and Javier Vazquez. Shoot, Beckett's road ERA was 4.31, compared with 2.47 at cozy Dolphins Stadium.
3. The notion of "getting younger." So many teams fall into the trap of wanting to add youth to their starting rotations, and it has been an especially prevalent issue among the Yankees and Red Sox.
Young outsiders simply have not done well when catapulted into this high-pressure environment. Think of Clement, Vazquez, Jeff Weaver and, yes, the man who thought the term "All-Star break" meant the entire second half, Pavano.
Oh yes. Let's not forget that Shaughnessy laughed at the Yankees overpaying for a ".500 pitcher from Florida" last year.
posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 11:57 PM