Former Red Sox starter and 2007 World Series champion Josh Beckett has fallen on hard times of late. Since his stellar 2007 postseason, Beckett has been a shadow of his former self. As late as July 2011, the 33-year old was still pitching at an elite level; but the September “chicken and beer” fiasco forever tarnished his reputation in Boston as a diva who believed he was above the rules.
Beckett was shipped to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the summer of 2012 as part of the multi-player deal that included Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. Red Sox fans were relieved at the time that such enormous contracts could be moved so easily; not to mention the young talent that Boston received in return. Since his arrival in L.A., Beckett has posted a 2-8 record and 4.07 ERA in 15 starts.
Clearly the Dodgers did not get the talent they had hoped for, as the velocity that was I ce present has lessened and the ever-present injury issues with Beckett have resurfaced on the west coast.
With all that said, the recent news reported by the Los Angeles Times that Beckett is contemplating retirement due to lingering numbness in his pitching hand has to make a true baseball fan take a step back. While Beckett became a polarizing figure at the end of his Boston tenure, few could wish a player who was such a dependable postseason pitcher to have his career cut short in this manner. In four playoff seasons, Beckett has registered a 7-3 record with a 3.07 ERA in 13 starts: including a 2-1 record and 1.16 ERA in three World Series stars. His postseason accolades include MVP awards in the 2003 World Series and 2007 ALCS.
The numbness in Beckett’s right hand has been a problem for the past five weeks; and intensified when the righty began to rehab from a groin injury. An MRI was done and results will be reviewed on Monday. If the situation is not correctable, the end of Beckett’s career may be near. In the modern era of sports medicine, the current issues is not an immediate indication that his condition cannot be corrected. If the numbness subsides, Beckett still has time to make a meaningful contribution to a team who’s spending suggests they are in “World Series or Bust” mentality. If Beckett is not able to return, fans should look over his entire career; especially his postseason dominance and remember what a top notch pitcher he once was.