In the coming weeks, Josh Beckett and his agent (Michael Moye) will meet with Theo Epstein and brass to discuss an extension.
Entering his age 30 year, Beckett has come a long way since being acquired after the 2005 season from the Florida Marlins. (Need I remind you who we gave up for him?)
Beckett has laid to rest his injury concerns, notching a minimum of 200 innings pitched in three of his four seasons in Beantown. He finished second in the Cy voting in 2007, which everyone concedes was a mistake given his superhuman performance in the postseason that year.
He struggled with attrition and injury in 2008, but bounced back in a big way in 2009 sans a bout with the flu in August that handed him a 5.03 ERA and a rough start to the season with a 7.22 ERA in April.
It’s clear that both Beckett and the Red Sox office want the Texan to return. He is one of the better pitchers of the game and shows no signs of slowing down.
What could he command? For one, there’s no question he will get more than A.J. Burnett, who signed a five-year, $82.5 million pact with the Yankees this past offseason — while being two years older.
C.C. Sabathia signed a seven-year, $161 million pact to enter his age 28 season as a member of the Yankees. There’s no way that Beckett sniffs $161 million, let alone $150 million, but I’m here to tell you there’s absolutely no chance Beckett settles for less than $100 million over his total value.
Heck, look at John Lackey. Lackey of the Angels is hitting the free agent market at age 31 — the same age Beckett will after 2010 should he become a free agent. Lackey’s been bandied about as a $100 million pitcher. While it’s likely that he falls just short of that goal, the fact that he’s even close to it should tell you all you need to know about what Beckett will earn.
Earning $12.5 million in his last year, Beckett will likely shoot for a contract around $20 million for six years — a total package of $120 million. I doubt this happens, because the team won’t want to commit to six years although Beckett is one of the rare pitchers you justify for. I think that Boston will try to get him to sign a five-year, $90 million deal ($18 per year) but that also won’t fly.
In the end, I’m calling a six-year, $111 million deal for Captain Kickass.