Josh Beckett on last days in Boston: 'It just got way too personal for me'

Rob Bradford
August 23, 2013 - 5:15 am

When the Red Sox play the Dodgers this weekend, Josh Beckett won't be in uniform, as he continues to recover from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. But he's sure to be a prime topic of conversation, as the megatrade of one year ago is revisited. Beckett was sent to Los Angeles along with Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto in a salary-dumping move by the Red Sox that also landed them some top prospects (most notably pitchers Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa). The last days in Boston were rough for Beckett, as he became the focus of criticism for the team's poor play and alleged lack of dedication along with discord in the clubhouse. Beckett said he's thankful that his teammates continued to support him (he said he remains in frequent contact with a number of Red Sox), and he called reports that teammates turned on him "completely fabricated." However, he said the criticism from outside the clubhouse made it easier for him to accept a trade. "It just got way too personal for me," Beckett said. "It wasn't just like, 'Hey, you suck on the baseball field.' It was now, 'Hey, you're a bad person.' It was getting personal. It wasn't even about baseball anymore. It was definitely time to make a change. I think everybody from the front office to the players recognized that, we've moved on and now here I am." Added Beckett: "I think it almost ended up being like a pity party in the clubhouse. Nobody wants to hear [expletive] like that. Nobody wants to hear the personal stuff. Everybody in the clubhouse can deal with if someone has a bad game then you can deal with that somebody is going to get picked on. But when the team wins and you're still hearing about it, it's going to too far. It was starting to affect the other guys. I don't want to be that guy. And it wasn't just about baseball anymore." By the team general manager Ben Cherington got in touch with him about the potential deal with the Dodgers, Beckett said he had reached his breaking point in Boston. "Once that stuff starts going down that road it doesn't stop. It picks up steam," Beckett said. "We've seen it before. David [Ortiz] has probably seen it more than anybody. It doesn't stop. It just picks up steam and snowballs. That's how it is. It's just the way it is there. Once it starts going down that road, it just isn't going to stop. I don't know if I was naive at the beginning thinking maybe it would stop, but it never does. It hasn't happened one time. "I knew it wouldn't [change]. I knew it would change as soon as Ben called me to say he had a deal with the Dodgers, and I said, 'Sign me up.' I had already talked to my wife about it knowing some of that stuff was going on having talked to Ben about it. Holly and I had already talked, we went about our way, sold our place in Boston and here we are." Read more about Beckett's thoughts on the trade here as the one-year anniversary approaches.