Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Beckett Has Been Dealing With TOS For Awhile?

Daniel Bard  recently underwent surgery for decompression of his nerve by removing a rib. I think that’s the process in a nutshell. Needless to say, it’s a pretty significant surgery, one that doesn’t have much of a success rate. If you haven’t figured it out, Bard was going through the famous Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Yep. The same Thoracic Outlet Syndrome that plagued Josh Beckett last season.

This is mildly interesting mainly because they were both Red Sox. They were both Red Sox in that historical collapse of 2011, and laughable 2012 season Boston endured. And they were both awful baseball players playing for the Red Sox throughout the span of September 2011 and All of 2012. It’s pretty interesting to see the similarities. But more on that, Gammons introduces something that I haven’t heard from at all.

In Arizona last spring, Beckett confided that before he was traded to the Dodgers on Aug. 25, 2012, he had almost no feel in his pitching hand. Bard did not have feel problems to that extent, but does remember some issues with his shoulder and the way he gripped the ball.

Hmm. That’s sure a significant problem. No feeling in your pitching hand most of or all of 2012, and definitely 2013? That’s troubling for me to know that he was under this much scrutiny and hate when he couldn’t even feel his pitching hand.

The most stunning of all of this was his 2012 stats with the Dodgers. Understanding that he was dealing with the effects of TOS, we actually see him put up 0.5 WAR in 43.0 innings pitched with the Dodgers. He had a 2.93 ERA with a 3.74 xFIP. Now we all know what followed that in 2013, but now it’s somewhat understandable considering the situation he was dealing with. I don’t know how much the Dodgers can count on Beckett, but maybe the narrative that Beckett is selfish, and isn’t a team player, and only likes to play golf, and eat chicken is a bit off.

Being an athlete in today’s game when under the scrutiny of the internet and twitter can be difficult. But maybe it’s time we eased off on Beckett. One thing is for sure, if the Dodgers don’t sign Bronson Arroyo, Josh Beckett could very well be the #5 starter coming out of Spring Training. Considering how hard he’s worked to get back out there, and now the problems he faced are gone *hopefully*, and even looking at his nice 8.52 K/9 innings last season, maybe he’s due for a bounce back season. I’ve softened my stance on Beckett and am definitely rooting for him going forward.

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  • GoBoSo

    I’m usually with Gammons 100%, but not here.

    Fans react to the entertain-izing of sports. Meaning, in this case, the media was trashing Beckett as much as the fans, if not more, especially Boston talk radio hosts.

    Fans are not responsible for uncovering the truth. Fans in fact are encouraged by the all-knowing media to swallow whatever the reporters and talk show hosts throw into the feeding bowl.

    And “throw” is the operative concept.

    So Gammons let us down. Gammons is the sports journalist who stands at the top of my personal all time list of sports media types (and yes, including everyone, from all venues) as the most respectable voice in sports.

    And here he is chiding the fans for not showing enough love???

    Come on, Mr. Gammons, where were you in 2011 and 2012? It’s your job to know this stuff, to have given Beckett the benefit of the doubt and sung his virtue from the rooftops.

    It’s not a disgrace how the fans treated Beckett. It’s a disgrace how the media treated Beckett. But the media Never chides itself.

    And it’s NOT your job to chide fans for not knowing enough to cut Becket some slack when you yourself didn’t know enough. You respect EVERYONE, Mr. Gammons. But you don’t take the lead when it’s needed.

    No, Mr. Gammons, you weren’t on the kick Beckett band wagon, but neither do I recall hearing you or reading anything you wrote encouraging fans to consider that there might be a lot more to it than met the eye.

    And all Becket himself ever did was glare.

    Sorry, Peter, you’re still my number one all time baseball guy, but this time you’re singing the wrong tune.

    • Adrian Garcia

      tThanks for the read, I personally think the narrative versus Beckett was always a bit unfair. But you make excellent points on Gammons, the media, and the fans.

      Of course, Beckett never did anything to help himself so I can’t really blame anyone for not warming up to him or defending him when the Chicken and Beer saga hit. I understand why Boston fans would be and are upset at Beckett, because he performed poorly.

      I think I was just speaking to how difficult it is being a sports athlete today. He certainly would have gotten the “soft” label thrown onto him had he came forward with his thoracic outlet syndrome and faced the surgery the year after the worst September collapse ever, at the same time, the way he approached it by pitching through it, he was seen as not caring. It was just a tough situation to be in, and one that athletes have to deal with, and quite frankly should deal with.

      But you have a great take on this, thanks for the comment, glad I could help with this bit of news.

      • GoBoSo

        Adrian, you have an unusually mature perspective, not only for a high school student, but for a sports writer in general.

        Beckett and John Lackey were the two most prominent fall guys for that 2011 Sox collapse, which was really caused by a lack of pitching depth to fill the 4 and 5 holes, which burned out the bullpen. It wasn’t really the player’s fault. It was the front office’s fault, which is why you saw Theo out end Ben C in, and why the Sox won last year — as they might have been one of the deepest teams in history.

        For us fans, 2011 was a collapse that was just impossible to get right with. I personally was rooting against the Sox at the end of the season, not wanting them to make the playoffs knowing they had turned into something significantly less than a legit playoff team, and wanting a team in there with a better chance of beating the Yankees. So there was anger in my emotion, and as good a ride as 2004 was, 2011 was bad. And we were looking for people to blame. Even Lester took some heat as one of the chicken and beer guys.

        Boston is a tough place to play. And incredibly challenging when things turn out worse then anticipated.

        Have you considered that Beckett is the only player who took some major heat for Sox-2011 who hasn’t yet redeemed himself? In Boston, Lackey had a really great 2013, although he didn’t get great run support and his record doesn’t attest to that fact as well as it might, and Lester had a great year, and had a stellar post season run. And in LA, Gonzalez and Crawford had solid years, and I though it was great to see Crawford pound the ball so well in the playoffs.

        So hopefully Beckett will recover and get his chance to smile at the camera again.
        Look, you’re a bright kid. A quick study, I’m sure. So I have to suggest that Peter Gammons is the best there is. And I also wanted to say that there’s a relatively new voice in Boston named Alex Speier who deserves the attention of serious wannabees. No one writes more with more intellectual depth then Speier, and he’s a former Harvard debate team captain no less. Check him out. You’ll be inspired. He’s easy to find. I’d post a link but SI seems to like to delete posts when they contain links to other websites. Anyway, find great writers, Adrian, and then become one. You’re already pretty amazing, so it’s important to consider where your ceiling might be one day…

        Good luck to you. I’ll be watching…

        • Adrian Garcia

          Alex Speier was impressive, his article about David Ortiz was informative. He’s a great writer, and I did find myself inspired by the way, the guy can write. I imagine his passion for the Red Sox along with the Harvard experience helps him out immensely. Thank you for the read, and it was quite flattering to hear some of the things you had to say. Thank you!