Bloody Sox

Red Sox Rants — and other random opinions about sports

Archive for the month “October, 2012”

On board the Farrell hiring

When I contemplated writing this post, it was going to be about my skepticism over the hiring of John Farrell to be the next Red Sox manager. But I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to go into this new era with optimism, looking at the reasons this is a smart move, well done.

First of all, this happened quickly, just over two weeks after Bobby Valentine was fired. What a contrast to the protracted affair the Valentine hiring turned into! Farrell can get to work and help shape his own coaching staff, and prepare with Ben Cherington for the meetings upcoming once the Giants finish off the Tigers in the World Series.

Second, everyone was on board with the process. There was no meddling by ownership in this decision. Ben Cherington got the man he wanted. This should make for a much more effective relationship between the GM and his manager.

Third, while perhaps not the candidate with the most upside, John Farrell is the safest bet. I would have liked to see what Brad Ausmus would do with the opportunity, but there was a lot of risk to hiring a first time manager with no experience. Farrell has experience, and he has experience in Boston.

Fourth, the players seem to be embracing this hire and they are going on record saying so. That’s key. This kind of public buy-in will make it harder for them to complain or loaf later. (Or so I hope.)

Finally, the Sox gave Farrell a three-year contract. That’s important. That is an expression of confidence and commitment, which they did not give Bobby Valentine (who got just a two-year contract). I said at the time of the hiring of Bobby that the short-term contract was a sign of ambivalence which the players would smell. There are going to be no easy fixes for this team, and I suspect it won’t be until after next season that the Sox begin to be relevant again.  Knowing Farrell is here to stay may help speed the process by just a wee bit.

Why today is best day of Red Sox year

Bobby Valentine was officially relieved of his duties as manager of the Boston Red Sox today. This was overdue, as I argued earlier.  I actually have a soft spot for Bobby — he’s a bicycle riding and native of Connecticut afterall. But he was a bad choice to lead this team, even worse than we knew, as we are now finding out. Well, I don’t feel too sorry for him. He made this bed and he’ll be paid $2.5 million next year for doing nothing (John Henry needs to thank Larry Lucchino for this.)

But what also makes today special is that we no longer have to listen/watch/read about this inept squad. Seriously. As constituted in the last few weeks of the season, the Red Sox were absolutely the worst team in the major leagues. There were probably several AAA teams that would have beaten up on them.

Okay, I can understand that the lineup was bad. Too many of their top talents were injured or traded away. That left a pretty skeletal crew of quality players and a bunch of fill-ins. So I can forgive them for not scoring a lot of runs. But what about the pitching staff. The bullpen was pretty healthy — in fact, healthier than they’ve been in a while with the return of Rich Hill and Scott Atchison. The starters still included genuine major leaguers in Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Aaron Cook, Felix Doubront and even Dice-K. And yet this staff regularly got shelled game after game. They averaged 6.6 runs against in their final ten games. The only reason can be that they stopped caring. And that’s too bad, because the position players appeared to be playing hard right to the end.

So, yes, today is the best day of the year, just eeking out the day in late August when Beckett, et. al. were shipped off to the Dodgers.

Ben Cherington is now being given the opportunity to make this into his own team. He has the payroll flexibility to bring in his type of players on his type of contract. And he will be hiring a manager apparently without the interference of Lucchino (let’s wait and see if that’s really how it goes down).

It’s going to be an interesting hot stove season in Red Sox Nation.

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