Source: An unidentified team has claimed Josh Beckett on trade waivers. One MLB exec believes it may be Dodgers, but unconfirmed for now.
— Sean McAdam(@Sean_McAdam) August 24, 2012
Per the tweet above from Sean McAdam, Josh Beckett was claimed on waivers by someone with a lot of money to burn, apparently. When I wrote about Beckett’s trade value yesterday, I guessed that that the Red Sox would have to pick up $20 million or so of the remaining $36 million left on his deal. By putting in a waiver claim, the unnamed team is agreeing to take the entire contract, and let Boston off the hook for the remainder of the deal.
This is pretty great news for Boston, assuming that Beckett’s 10-and-5 rights don’t come into play and allow him to block any deal. By virtue of the CBA, Beckett has a blanket no-trade clause, though it is somewhat unclear if those rights can be used to block assignment via waivers. I believe the answer is yes, but am not 100% certain. Either way, I’d imagine the Red Sox will give Beckett whatever he wants to waive those rights and go to a team that actually wants to pay him $36 million for the next 2+ years.
In terms of who the claimant is, speculation focuses on the Dodgers mostly because they quite obviously have a large amount of money and are not afraid to throw it around. They were awarded claims for Cliff Lee, Adrian Gonzalez, and Joe Blanton already, and took the remainder of Hanley Ramirez‘s deal before the trade deadline, so taking on money has clearly not been a discouragement to adding talent. However, with Clayton Kershaw, Chris Capuano, Chad Billingsley, Aaron Harang, and Joe Blanton already in the rotation, it’s not clear that Beckett would be a significant piece for the Dodgers this year, and they almost certainly could have landed a better pitcher in free agency this winter.
We should find out soon who the claiming team is, because it would be a pretty huge shock if Boston pulled him back. Perhaps an even bigger shock than the fact that he got claimed in the first place.
Update: It is the Dodgers. Potential theory – they agreed to take Beckett in an Adrian Gonzalez trade. This will make more sense if Gonzalez ends up in LA.