After Josh Beckett got shellacked by the Indians last night he faced the press. Not surprisingly, the press asked him about the golf-between-starts-despite-maybe-having-a-bad-back thing. Beckett politely — but defensively — told the press to mind its own business when it comes to his free time:
“I spend my off days the way I want to spend them,” he said. “My off day is my off day. We get 18 off days a year. I think we deserve a little bit of time to ourselves.”
Then, when asked about the Fenway fans booing him off the field, he brought the honesty:
“It was directed at me,” Beckett said. “I pitched like sh**. That’s what happens. Smart fans.”
And while this will no doubt bring forth five days of people criticizing Beckett’s golf habits, the fans don’t boo and this isn’t a big deal if Beckett simply pitches well. That’s the problem here. Not “the perception problem,” as John Tomase puts it in this Boston Herald article. Just as no one would have given a rip about beer and chicken if the Sox hadn’t sucked on the field last September, no one cares about the golf if Beckett gets outs.
In other words, what fixes “perception problems” is not pitching like sh**.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.