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Report: Sox unwilling to offer Beckett more than four years

03.27.10 at 9:56 pm ET

According to ESPN.com, the Red Sox won’t offer pitcher Josh Beckett a contract extension of more than four years. The report, which cited a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations, suggested that the Red Sox have concerns about Beckett’s shoulder that have led them to cap their offer at four years. While the Sox signed John Lackey to a five-year, $82.5 million deal this offseason, the club’s chief health concern was with Lackey’s elbow, rather than his shoulder.

Lackey owns a career record of 102-71 with a 3.81 ERA. A.J. Burnett owned a career 87-76 mark with a 3.81 ERA when he signed his five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Yankees prior to the 2009 season. Beckett, meanwhile, has a career 106-68 mark with a 3.79 ERA, making it natural to expect that he would be in line for a contract along the lines of his current and former teammates.

But as WEEI.com reported in February, Beckett’s shoulder presented different concerns than Lackey’s elbow issues, making it possible that his contract situation could be viewed as different than that of Burnett and Lackey. Beckett was told in 2000 that he would need surgery on the labrum in his right shoulder, but was reassessed by Dr. James Andrews, who helped him on a non-surgical path that has kept Beckett’s arm healthy for the past decade. Most recently, Beckett passed his insurance physical this spring.

The Red Sox and Beckett have declined comment on discussions about a contract extension for the pitcher this offseason, beyond making clear that both parties are interested in continuing the relationship beyond the 2010 season. Beckett, who turns 30 on May 15, is set to earn $12.1 million in 2010, the option season on a three-year, $30 million deal he signed with the Sox in 2006.

Read More: a.j. burnett, contract extension, john lackey, Josh Beckett
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