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Source: Red Sox discussing Josh Beckett with Rangers, among others

07.30.12 at 2:50 am ET
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According to a major league source, the Red Sox and Rangers have had discussions about a potential deal that would send pitcher Josh Beckett to Texas. However, it is unclear at this time how much momentum the talks have gained. For now, no deal appears imminent.

According to the source, the Red Sox are engaged with other teams as well, with Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports having reported (via twitter) that the Braves were one such team. Passan also reported that the Dodgers and Red Sox have not talked at this point, but that Los Angeles could have interest in the right-hander.

As of late last week, the Rangers and Red Sox were not discussing Beckett, and the Red Sox were only fielding calls on the starter rather than engaging actively in any talks related to him. However, with Zack Greinke (previously a target of the Rangers) off the market after being traded to the Angels and the starting pitching market taking shape, the two teams have engaged in talks.

It is believed that the Red Sox would have to absorb most of Beckett’s contract if a deal were to take place. The teams have discussed varying levels of players as potential return on the 32-year-old.

On Friday, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington told WEEI.com that Beckett remains a valued contributor in his team’s rotation and that the team — which is still focused on a potential playoff run — would not improve by getting rid of him.

“We’€™ve had a lot of good teams here with rotations made up of guys whose performances look a lot like Josh Beckett’€™s this year. His performance is not our problem. We’€™re not playing as well as we need to as a team,” Cherington said. “We’€™re trying to improve our pitching. He’€™s been an effective starting pitcher in the American League East this year. However you want to look at it, that’€™s what he’€™s been. We’€™re not doing anything to help us if we take that off the table. We’€™re trying to improve things.

“You’€™ve got to take the win-loss record with a grain of salt,” added Cherington, referring to the right-hander’s 5-9 record (a mark achieved in spite of the fact that he leads the Sox in quality start percentage, having delivered such outings 59 percent of the time). “He’€™s generally given us a chance to win when he’€™s gone out there. That’€™s what we’€™re looking for.”

Beckett is in the second year of a four-year, $68 million contract, with roughly $37 million remaining on his deal. As a player with 10/5 rights (10 years of major league service time, five with the same club), Beckett has the right to veto any trade. On Friday, the pitcher told WEEI.com that the club had not talked with him about the teams to which he would consider a trade.

If the Sox told the pitcher that they wanted to trade him, Beckett said that he would not dismiss the idea, even though he indicated his preference to stay where he is.

‘€œAbsolutely,’€ Beckett said of his desire to stay in Boston. ‘€œBut if people don’€™t want you, you don’€™t want to be there. Obviously I have some things where it would be very difficult for them to trade me if I didn’€™t want to be traded. But you have to think realistically. If you’€™re not wanted somewhere, why stay there? Know what I mean? It kind of makes it a little more difficult. But [Cherington] assured me during spring training that he wants me here, so as far as I’€™m concerned, it’€™s just made-up fodder.’€

Asked whether he still got the sense that the organization wants him to remain with the Sox, Beckett said that he had no reason to believe otherwise.

‘€œ[Cherington] hasn’€™t said anything different with me,’€ Beckett said. ‘€œI was assured [during spring training] that they wanted me here. He hasn’€™t come to me and said that he doesn’€™t. Neither has John Henry or Larry Lucchino. So, as I said, as far as I’€™m concerned, I think it’€™s probably just made up by somebody.’€

Beckett’€™s preference, he said, is to remain in Boston at least through the life of his deal, though he also said that he would listen if the Sox told him that they wanted to deal him.

‘€œObviously I would use my 10/5 right to make sure it’€™s the right situation,’€ Beckett said. ‘€œBut like I said, if somebody says they’€™re going to trade you, that usually means they don’€™t want you. I think that’€™s where you’€™d have to think about your situation and their situation. Nobody wants to be somewhere where they’€™re not wanted. That’€™s just an uncomfortable deal. Then you’€™re walking by people, they’€™re ducking their heads. It’€™s just uncomfortable. That wouldn’€™t be a good situation for me.’€

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