Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Big Shot

Jackie McMullen did a great job of laying out the warts on the 2011 Red Sox. Can you really die from a thousand paper cuts?

The Red Sox fired Terry Francona (don't reinvent history) because the players tuned him out. Replacing one man is easier than twenty-five. And understanding the complex personalities in twenty-first century baseball won't be solved by a whiz kid.

If you believe that leadership matters, then you'll need a strong manager, and that may depend on what direction ownership goes with the GM. In other words, there's a trickle-down leadership theory. If you get an uber-strong manager, you won't get an inflexible, power-crazed GM, probably something more of a puppet for you know whom.

The team needs to decide what the new 'core' is.

Dustin Pedroia should be named Captain, and the Sox need to get 'hungrier', however you do that. The question is whether they have to clean house or just sanitize a sunshine-free clubhouse.

Can you rehabilitate the clubhouse without getting rid of the greybeards and disaffected? I don't think so, and that means not resigning Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek. Loyalty is a two-way street, and there's no $ in loyalty.

1B - Gonzalez...does he really need attitude adjustment or just more happiness?
2B - Pedroia...the heart and soul of the team
SS -  Will a Lowrie/Iglesias platoon allow a decision to come down?
3B - Youkilis. A terrific player wearing down from injury and a questionable influence (per the MSM).
LF - Crawford will be better. He can't be more mediocre.
CF - Ellsbury. The Anointed One. Will he even think of staying if there's a rift with unspecified players and him?
RF - Open competition between Kalish and Reddick. Are the Sox too left-handed? Doubt the Sox will want to spend here with pitching needs.
C -  Saltalamacchia and Lavarnway - can Lavarnway fit in the DH picture?
DH - Maybe the hardest question of all. Ortiz has remained productive and a face of the franchise...and with a big salary for a DH.
Utility - Aviles played well. He seems like a keeper.

SP - Beckett, Lester, Buchholz
SP4 - Lackey - bad contract, bad attitude, bad guy or misunderstood? If the Sox could trade his bad contract for somebody else's bad contract, then everyone might be less miserable
SP4a - This will probably be a TOP priority of free agency
SP5 - Can Weiland, Doubront, or Alex Wilson step up?
SP6 - Sox clearly have to know that they need far more pitching depth.

Setup - Bard, far from a lost cause
Closer - High priority after managerial issue


  • GM decision
  • Manager
  • DH
  • Closer
  • Starting pitching 
  • Right-field
  • Shortstop
Off-the books:
  • J.D. Drew  14 Million
  • Tim Wakefield  1.5 Million
  • Jason Varitek  2 Million
  • Marco Scutaro 6 Million
  • ? David Ortiz  12.5 million
Salary rising:
  • Gonzalez (a lot)
  • Pedroia (2.5 M)
  • Ellsbury (TBA)
  • Lester  (2 M)

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