If Larry LucchiNero sees his shadow, do we have six more weeks of baseball ‘winter’ of discontent? The Sox President, CEO, and Personnel uber-czar emerged from the Yawkey Way bunker to announce the Red Sox would restructure, that they are working hard, and yes, he did take a hit for the team.
Nobody can say the Red Sox haven’t acted this offseason, with the ‘disrespect’ of former GM, Brookline homeboy Theo Epstein, renovation of the 406 Club (people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?), relocation of Edgar Renteria, and shopping spree in Florida.
So, let’s ask the key questions for 2006. The answers are more obvious than you think.
Will Red Sox Nation forgive the ‘Overlord’ for dispatching neo-icon Theo? He Who Must No Longer Be Named quickly pointed out that ticket sales already exceeded those following that Championship Season. Money talks.
Who’s in charge? With Alexander Haig nowhere in sight, there’s no doubt that ‘Dirty Larry’ has consolidated his power, dispensing consulting tasks to the serfs occupying the basement. Jim Beattie? Who’s zooming whom?
Is Manny coming or going? The inevitable breakdown of baseball’s total control evolved to free agency and now ‘hide and go seek’ your own deal. The Sox have 57 million reasons to make Manny stay, and Manny’s alternatives largely include ‘pounding sand’, holding his breath, and stamping his feet. Is the Ramirez household going to forfeit 57 million bucks? Manny might be Manny, but he’s not crazy. Will Manny be back? I doubt it. Will the Sox get equal value for a first ballot Hall of Famer in his prime? Almost certainly not.
What would Johnny Damon do? Damon has the leverage of being ‘free’, but as they say in Detroit, “if you want economy, you’ll have to pay for it.” You might be the best looking car on the block, but if the shoppers aren’t buying, then you have to lower your sights. JD won’t go hungry, he won’t get Jody Reeded, and I doubt that Gold-in-Locks will be shaving for Gotham next year.
Who’s catching Wakefield? You’d think Wakefield’s knuckler was bird flu, the way people talk about it. This is a problem, just smaller than the Federal deficit, or the Overlord’s ego.
Who plays shortstop? Tejada, si? I don’t think the Orioles are in a hurry to make the Sox’ headache their headache. There must be a law saying the Red Sox must overpay for players at every position. That would explain why Kevin Youkilis rides the pine, why Alex Cora isn’t even considered a viable replacement, and Dustin Pedroia’s injured hand moved him from prospect to suspect. Maybe if Scott Boras can assemble some more reading material for the Sox, they’ll be able to find a suitable and expensive replacement.Sure it’s easier to ask questions than to deliver answers. But ‘who do you trust, baby?’, Theo or The Man Who Would Be King?