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Breaking down the Beckett deal

Apr 6, 2010, 5:15 PM EDT

With nothin’ but night games and not enough of the season behind us for it to have yet created its own newsy momentum, today is a bit slow. So let’s go back to yesterday and look a bit more closely at the Josh Beckett deal. Pfun Pfacts:

  • The team had asked Beckett to include a medical
    contingency clause
    in his contract that would have, presumably, slashed his salary in the event that he later got hurt, thereby transferring the risk of injury to the player rather than the team. As I wrote back in February, this is the Red Sox’ new m.o.  They did it with John Lackey and J.D. Drew. They tried it with Bay, but he wasn’t having it. The team would have to offer more money to the player for it, but I have this feeling that players like their guaranteed money too much to respond kindly to these offers. Gambling is illegal for ballplayers, after all.
  • Also, Beckett’s initial demand to the Sox had apparently been for Carlos Zambrano money: five years $91.5 million deal with vesting options.  This comes from WEEI’s Rob Bradford. I hope that Bradford used Zambrano’s name first for comparison purposes and not Beckett’s agent for negotiating purposes, because you’re not going to go very far in life trying to get people to do for you what the Cubs did for Zambrano.
  • Finally, the Red Sox are clever: by waiting until after Opening Day to announce the deal, the Red Sox
    avoided having the extension count towards this year’s luxury tax, saving the team around $4 million for those purposes in 2010. Of course, it just pushes the full $16 million of it on to next year, but presumably David Ortiz and Mike Lowell won’t be on the books next year, so the sunlight between the Sox’ payroll and the luxury tax threshold will be much greater. If Ortiz and Lowell are still hanging around at luxury tax-threatening salaries, someone call the cops, because Theo Epstein will have been abducted by the pod people. Or maybe Brian Sabean.

I’m late to the assessment party, but a good deal for the team, I think. Probably a good one for Beckett too given that he could post another 2006 or 2008 kind of season and see his market diminish considerably this offseason.

  1. Eric - Apr 6, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    It occurs to me that if players were to accept pay cuts for getting hurt on the job, they would be a little more tentative to play in pain or hurt. This coming from the organization that got one of the biggest games in the history of playoff history? A game that put a BLOODY SOCK in the hall of fame? I don’t know how I feel about that.

  2. Lee - Apr 6, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    “…because you’re not going to go very far in life trying to get people to do for you what the Cubs did for Zambrano.”
    You’re also not going to go very far in life not saying “is.”

  3. Ryan - Apr 6, 2010 at 6:26 PM

    I agree, but I think your bloody sock example speaks more to Schillings’ make-up more than any random players’ thirst for money.

  4. yankeh8r - Apr 6, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    where would you like “is” inserted? they promise to be gentle.
    captcha: guard mahicans

  5. dp - Apr 6, 2010 at 10:42 PM

    That bloody sock was a bullshit line , just like that sob Schilling.

  6. Andy L - Apr 7, 2010 at 12:22 AM

    He’s making a reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

  7. Joey B - Apr 7, 2010 at 8:38 AM

    “It occurs to me that if players were to accept pay cuts for getting hurt on the job, they would be a little more tentative to play in pain or hurt.”
    1-It’s possible that you want players to be a little tentative when in pain. The warrior code is cool, but as good as it is, there’s probably been a fair amount of damage done by players that will never back down, even though their bodies are sending them a different message.
    2-I think it’s in the back of most players’ minds anyway. Even if the next contract is two years away, do you want to do anything to risk it today?

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