Bloody Sox

Red Sox Rants — and other random opinions about sports

Archive for the month “December, 2008”

Commitment to mediocrity

[This is not a commentary on the Red Sox, but is directed at the Dallas Cowboys.]

So, even after that abysmal performance on Sunday against the Eagles in what was a MUST win game, Jerry Jones is going to keep Wade Phillips on as his head coach. Oh, but there will be some changes made:

“We know things must improve. The only way is to change things,” Phillips said. “To get to the standard we want, I don’t see any other way.”

Phillips said he and Jones already “talked man to man” about what went wrong and what needs to be done about it. All he’s decided so far is that he needs a plan; he’s only started putting it together. However, he expects both coordinators and all the star players to return.

This hardly needs comment, but I will say this anyway:  Wade Phillips has been an NFL coach for over 30 years, if he hasn’t figured it out yet, HE ISN”T GOING TO!  Seriously, who can respect this man? Certainly not the players. Maybe Jerry Jones respects him, but I don’t think he really respects any coaches. Remember when he famously claimed he could coach the Cowboys after Jimmy Johnson quit? Hmmm.

There is a reason Wade Phillips has never won a playoff game. A football coach instills grit in his team, so that when they get to big games, they have the toughness and the meanness it takes to win. This team is so far from being tough that I suspect they’d be run off the field by an angry field hockey squad.

But the head coach is not this team’s most serious problem. The main problem with the Cowboys is JERRY JONES and his spawn. They don’t know anything about talent evaluation,* nor how to build team chemistry. The first step to restoring the Dallas Cowboys to respectability is for the Jones family to remove itself from football operations and to hire a genuine football man to be the general manager — Scott Pioli maybe? But that is not going to happen, because Jerry Jones has a titanic ego, and he thinks he is a genius. The truth, however, is Jerry Jones is now the second coming of Al Davis. That should take the starch out of any Cowboy fan.

*Recall that in 2001, Jerry Jones made Quincy Carter his quarterback of the future — then spent big bucks to sign free-agent washouts Drew Henson and Chad Hutchinson in a desperate attempt to find a real quarterback of the future.

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Yanks buy another one.

Yes, it would be nice to have a bat like Mark Teixeira’s in the Sox lineup, but not for that kind of money. Seriously, paying someone that much to PLAY baseball in this economy really is obscene. Yankee fans, I’m sure, will be glad to get a player of Teixeira’s caliber, but deep down they know that all the Yankees are doing is buying talent. There’s no skill in that. There’s no reason for Cashman or Steinbrenner or Girardi to feel like they’ve accomplished anything…. assuming, of course, that the Yankees do win something with this mega-millionaire lineup. But there is no guarantee of that. The Yankees have bought lots of talent in the past decade and it has done them little good.

So these are the two scenarios:

  1. The Yankees don’t win it all, in which case they become poster children for over-hyped, over-paid duds; or
  2. They do win it all, in which case everyone shrugs and says, well that’s what all the money in the world can buy you. It’s kind of like an Illinois senate seat.

I mean, poor Joe Girardi. His team could win 120 games next season and he still wouldn’t be named manager of the year.

As for how the Sox handled this, it is easy to say they blew it, but that is the small way to look at this. John Henry and company were willing to pay this guy more money than they ever paid anyone. All it seemed to me that they wanted in return was a player who WANTED to play for them. Is that too much to expect? Instead, Teixeira proved that all he has ever cared about is the money. If I were JH, I wouldn’t want that guy on my team playing on the right side of the infield with Dustin Pedroia. Nope. No way.

Teixeira or not Teixeira, that is the question.

Last night, Red Sox owner John Henry said his team was out of the running for the privilege of paying Mark Teixeira obscene amounts of money to play first base at Fenway Park. I don’t really believe this, but I do believe the Red Sox were announcing to agent Scott Boras and his client that there was a limit to how much the Sox were willing to spend for one player. And thank goodness. Yes, this is a business and it is a free market, sort of. But is there really any excuse for paying Teixeira so MUCH MORE money than, say, Dustin Pedroia? If the reports are true that the Sox have offered Teixeira an eight-year deal worth, on average, $23 million per year, that would give him a salary roughly three times that of Pedroia, and four or five times what the Sox are paying Kevin Youkilis. To me that is not the way to build a team — not with that much disparity between one player and the others.

By all accounts, Teixeira is a good team mate and a hard nosed player, but right now he looks mostly like a money grubber. If he does sign with the Sox, he better put up big numbers, because he will become despised all along Yawkey Way.

No, I say the Sox should take a pass on this guy and do some work to find the undiscovered gem — as they did with David Ortiz. Heck, they had one right under their own noses two years ago. Carlos Pena was briefly a Red Sox in 2006, and he has hit 77 home runs and knocked in 223 runs in the past two seasons for Tampa Bay. He’s no Teixeira average-wise, but he would have been a cheap and productive alternative at first base — my point being, there are other guys who play this game pretty well, and you don’t have to pay them Scott Boras’ extortionist figures.

Which isn’t to say, I won’t be rooting for Teixeira if the Sox DO land him.

Jim Rice, Hall of Famer?

So Jim Rice is on the Hall of Fame ballot for the 15th and final time. Is Jim Rice truly Hall worthy?

I’m of two minds about this. If I were a baseball purest — and sometimes I am — I would say, no. As good a player as Jim Rice was, he does not deserve to be honored among baseball’s all-time greats. He just wasn’t that good.

But then I look at the list of players in the Hall of Fame and I think, Jim Rice was as good or better than a lot of those players. I think when it comes down to it, you need to ask if you were building a team from baseball rosters from 1975 to 1985, who would you rather have than Jim Rice?

  • Wade Boggs is in the Hall of Fame, and rightly so, but who would you choose for your team — Rice or Boggs?
  • Gary Carter is in the Hall of Fame, but who would you choose for your team — Rice or Carter?
  • Reggie Jackson is in the Hall of Fame, but who would you choose for your team — Rice or Jackson?
  • Paul Molitor is in the Hall of Fame, but who would you choose for your team — Rice or Molitor?
  • Eddie Murray is in the Hall of Fame, but who would you choose for your team — Rice or Murray?
  • Tony Perez is in the Hall of Fame, but who would you choose for your team — Rice or Perez?

Some of those players had more years that they were productive, but none of those players was as dominant as Rice in his prime, and I don’t believe anyone would choose those players in their prime over Rice in his.

I also think that consideration should be given to the fact that Rice played 16 years with the same team. In this day and age of free agency, having warn just one uniform during a distinguished career should count for something.

So, should Jim Rice be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame? Damn right!

Pedroia’s big deal

Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox have agreed to a long-term contract that will keep the stumpy second bagger with Boston through at least 2014, with a club option in 2015. If the Sox exercise the option, the contract is worth $51 million or so. That’s good news, but it makes me wonder why the Sox haven’t yet done a deal with Kevin Youkilis. Is it that Youk is holding out to become a free agent, when he’ll earn oodles, or are the Sox not as sold on him for the long haul? Interesting.

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