Josh Beckett 01:38, 23 July 2008 . . PhreddieH...

Josh Beckett 01:38, 23 July 2008 . . PhreddieH3 . . 1,943×2,936 (2.01 MB) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the Boston Red Sox had their historic collapse in September 2011, not making the playoffs, pitcher Josh Beckett, the ace of the team’s rotation, was one of the big reasons why. Beckett gave up six runs in each of his last two starts of the season. If the Red Sox had won even one of those games, they would have made the postseason.

Beckett’s Many Issues

Poor pitching down the stretch wasn’t the only issue with Beckett. There was a lot of finger-pointing going on regarding Boston’s choke, and Beckett was perceived as the poster boy for it – given that he was accused of being the ringleader of bad behavior by the Red Sox’s pitching staff. Reportedly, the team’s starters, led by Beckett, ate fried chicken and drank beer during games, which communicated a blasé, lackadaisical attitude. For his part, Beckett never specifically denied the accusations, or specifically apologized for his role in contributing to a lazy clubhouse atmosphere. However, he did complain about “snitches” who revealed this information to the press. Lovely.

How Beckett Has Performed This Season

This season, Beckett got off to a poor start for the last-place Red Sox, giving up seven runs in his first game – it was such a bad start, his ERA at press time is still over 4.00, despite pitching much better since that game. He also got in trouble for an apparent lack of commitment to his game. He missed a start in early May due to a sore lat muscle after throwing 126 pitches in an April start against the Chicago White Sox. Yet he was able to somehow have enough strength in his arm to play a round of golf two days before the start he missed.  In addition, he did not volunteer to pitch in the 17-inning game his team had three days later against the Baltimore Orioles, where the team had to use position player Darnell McDonald in order to pitch. Strong enough for golf, but not for baseball? Really?

Needless to say, Red Sox fans and the Boston media – both of whom are known for their toughness on players – were questioning not just his judgment, but his dedication to the game. Given how Beckett continues to not just be the poster boy for bad behavior on the Red Sox, but that neither he nor the team is covering themselves in glory this year, one has to wonder if the team will part ways with Beckett at some point. While he may have won 20 games in 2007 and led them to a World Series championship, his leadership and attitude in recent years has left a lot to be desired. Granted, at press time Beckett had won two of his last three starts, and gotten a no-decision on the other start. But he is not exactly a beloved Red Sox these days.

So it is possible that if Boston continues to struggle, they might trade Beckett at some point, just to clean house and foment a new attitude. However, he makes $15,750,000 a year through 2014, so the Sox may have to pick up some of his salary in order to do so.

Should You Choose Beckett for Your Fantasy Baseball Team?

As for fantasy baseball purposes, what does all this mean for Beckett? If he is traded, it could have an effect on his fantasy value. There is also always the possibility, however slim, he could potentially be suspended for golfing or some other future shenanigans. For the most part, though, fantasy baseball fans should look at Beckett based on his pitching, not his personality. And while he has not pitched as poorly overall this year as his current ERA indicates, he has not really been the ace that he has been expected to be, either. So proceed with caution when it comes to potentially picking up Beckett.

FantasyGuru is a blog writer for sites like DraftStreet, a prominent fantasy sports website.