Taking the Red Sox away from these FAILURES: PT. 3: Blame the General Manager

We ask for a THIRD time: Who kidnapped our Red Sox?

Hand me my Red Sox souvenir Giant Foam Finger, yet AGAIN!

ALL of the above! And it’s time for the Citizens of Red Sox Nation to take their team back!

As we said in Pt. 1: Blame the Owner and Pt. 2: Blame the Owner, Sox fans need to pull together and adopt the Green Bay Packers plan, where the fans own the team, or else we are stuck with a disinterested owner, an ego maniac CEO, who thinks he knows more about baseball than the GM, and a GM who takes out his resentment of the CEO on the manager, who was hired by the CEO.

This post was originally intended to briefly say that everyone from the owner to the manager is responsible for the near death of a proud franchise, but it became apparent that there was not enough room in a single article for all the blame.

Thus, we will use a series format with 6 posts:

1-4 will point the finger at the [1]Owner, [2]CEO, [3] GM, and [4] Manager.

5 will offer a plan to take the team back [think Green Bay Packers]

6 will blame a few players and suggest “deep drill” surgery for the patient. [think trades and prospects]



Ben Cherington seems to be the kind of person you would love to have as a neighbor and President of your Homeowner’s Association.  But, was his promotion a great management decision?

Is the position of General Manager of the Boston Red Sox appropriate for “on-the-job-training”?

Despite the Happy Horseshit front put on by owner John Henry in his email to the media, Cherington is trapped in a four-character Kabuki dance, where he plays the “Monkey in The Middle” between CEO Lucchino and his good pal Valentine, the field manager.  The fourth player is the owner, who has made it clear that the CEO runs the team and has free rein to run roughshod over any subordinate on the corporate flow chart.

While the owner watches his Euro soccer team on satellite TV and contemplates the optimum time to sell the Sox for $1.3 Billion [doubling his investment], Larry huddles with Bobby, and Ben frets in his office, waiting for them to shoot off another toe, so he can tell the media, with a smirk,  “Gee whiz, that’s too bad…”

CEO Lucchino frames Cherington as a risk-averse wimp and implies that Ben could have acted more forcefully with trades.


“We have talked frequently about boldness, that you’ve got to know when to be bold…”

When any boss says he has “talked frequently” about an issue with a subordinate, the subtext is clear:  “I have to keep reminding him to be more bold, since he hasn’t done it yet.”

Lucchino waited until the last few days of the trade deadline to raise false expectations that Gentle Ben was finally going to grow a pair and do his job.

Ben was inelegantly sand-bagged when Larry Lucchino said general manager Ben Cherington is ‘empowered’ to make a big deal to improve the team before the July 31 trading deadline.

Lucchino, in an interview on WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan Show, was asked if it was possible the team would make a “bold move” following the news on Wednesday that the Miami Marlins had inquired about outfielder Carl Crawford.

“Yes, I do, I think that Ben feels empowered to do it, I think he’s got the capacity to do it,” Lucchino said. “We have talked frequently about boldness, that you’ve got to know when to be bold and know when to be somewhat more conservative and methodical, but this is a club that’s been built on bold moves over the years, going way back to the Nomar Garciaparra trade as but one example.”


Ahem: “…when the team traded Nomar Garciaparra, Lucchino complained about Garciapara’s alleged lack of dedication.”


If Lucchino is as smart about baseball as he believes, he must know, as do all sentient members of the Red Sox Nation, that the chances that any GM would be able to unload Crawford or Beckett were as likely as Larry rehiring Theo or Tito.

When Cherington did nothing at the trade deadline to significantly shore up Valentine’s team with a rotation starter, he said, “It’s our job to stay disciplined and try to make good decisions.”

Translation:  “I did not give up any top-tier prospects.”

It is impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of GM Cherington without knowing if the “management plan” was to be a Buyer or a Seller team.  Although it may be apparent to the casual observer that there will be no “October” baseball for the Red Sox in 2012, the Fenway Brain Truss [Henry. Lucchino, Cherington] chose denial as a strategy.

If they had decided to “go for it” this season, they would have made a rotation starter, or two, a first priority.  There was no discernible coordinated “plan” or decisive purpose behind the trades that were made.  At best, by default, the results implied a willingness to rebuild from within, as no vital prospects were dealt.

An owner, a CEO, and a GM of a major team in MLB get into a car.  The GM is driving and the car is in Park.  The Owner says “Go Forward,” the CEO says “Back Up” and the confused GM, feeling “empowered,” confidently moves from Park to Neutral.

“If we’re all going somewhere let’s get there soon
Oh this song’s got no title just words and a tune.”

[Elton John, “This Song has no Title”]

“Now comes before this Court of Public Opinion…a petition to…”



A few summarized highlights include, quote:

1) Re-signed Marco Scutaro as his “first order of business”, only to trade him to create cap space on a team with a $180 million payroll where this fictitious cap space doesn’t even exist.

2) Insisted on converting Daniel Bard to a starting pitcher.

3) He didn’t allow Valentine the opportunity to choose his own coaching staff.

4) Refused to penalize [Beckett, Lester, and Lackey].

5) Traded Josh Reddick [for an injury prone reliever, who promptly went on the DL]. Reddick has more home runs than the entire Red Sox outfield combined. [Bailey]  $3.9 million to rehab his thumb.

7) Signing Kelly Shoppach to a contract (after a 2011 season of: 39 hits in 221 at-bats for a stellar .176 batting average and .607 OPS, 23 runs, 11 home runs, 22 RBI) and leaving Ryan Lavarnway to rot in the minors.
8) NOT trading one of the three completely self-absorbed (and currently terrible) starting pitchers in our rotation (Beckett, Lester, Buchholz) for a front of the line starter is absurd.

9) The Kevin Youkilis trade was a disaster. Are we supposed to believe that sending Youkilis to the White Sox, then paying him $5 million to play against us, then getting back a guy who was designated for assignment and a pitcher who will never pitch for the Red Sox, was a good deal?? Pathetic.

[end quotes from petition.]

And, yes, Ben also gets the blame for signing Beckett, who acted like a busted High School Freshman, when he was called out for eating chicken, drinking beer, and playing video games DURING games; he brought that adolescent rebellion attitude back this season and has either consciously or unconsciously failed, and passive-aggressively [assorted minor injuries] totally tanked.  He and his comrade in the Pitchers of Beer Club, Jon Lester, the former ace and the erstwhile #2,The Josher, are the primary reason that team is out of the playoffs:  Beckett [5-9, 4.54] and Lester [5-10, 5.36].

BTW, the “snitch” who went “upstairs” to complain to GM Cherington about how Bobby hurt Middlebrooks feelings weeks ago, was likely Lurking Lackey, the other Beer Pitcher

In fairness, we note that Epstein’s Legacy hangs heavy around Cherington’s neck; the Lackey, Matsuzaka, and Crawford contract albatrosses: $121.75 million through 2017 owed to Carl Crawford:  $45.75 million through 2014 owed to John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka, for whom Epstein paid $103 million in posting fee and salary, will collect another $10.3 million this season in the final year of his contract while he’s recovering from Tommy John surgery.

And, yes, Theo took full credit for the WS victories, but he also he noted: “”I think an objective look at the 10 years we had there showed some things that are not really up for dispute…I think we did a great job drafting, great job developing players…”

Cherington may be a very talented person who is simply in the wrong position, or in over his head.  Granted, his boss is a micro-manager, who doesn’t trust his judgment and embarrasses Mr. Cherington by encroaching on his GM prerogatives. Sure, there have been key players on the DL for long periods of time [Bailey and Crawford.]

Still Cherington may not be ready for prime time as a GM, at least not with the Red Sox. But, but he did skillfully develop prospects, while vice president of player personnel.

CONCLUSION:  Give Cherington back his former position as vice president of player personnel.

Hire a new, proven, experienced GM; someone like Kevin Towers, Billy Beane, Doug Melvin, or Brian Sabean.


NEXT UP: Blaming the MANAGER.

Thus, we will use a series format with 6 posts:

1-4 will point the finger at the…

[1]  Owner [http://bosoxinjection.com/2012/08/06/taking-the-red-sox-away-from-these-failures-pt-1-blame-the-owner/]

[2]  CEO [http://bosoxinjection.com/2012/08/07/taking-the-red-sox-away-from-these-failures-pt-2-blame-the-ceo/

[3] GM

[4] Manager

[5 ] will offer a plan to take the team back [think Green Bay Packers]

[6] will blame a few players and suggest “deep drill” surgery for the patient. [think trades and prospects]



Tags: AL East AL Wild Card Anti-trust Ben Cherington Bill Veeck Blame Bobby Valentine Branch Rickey Bud Selig Carl Crawford CEO Congress David Ortiz Dennis And Callahan Show Ex Exemption Fail Failure General Manager GM Green Bay Packers Jackie Robinson John Henry Larry Lucchino Lary Doby Manager MLB Commissioner Part 2 Pt. 2 Reserve Clause SEC Supreme Court Taking The Red Sox Away From These FAILURES: PT. 1: Blame The Owner Taking The Red Sox Away From These FAILURES: PT. 2: Taking The Red Sox Away From These FAILURES: PT. 3 Taking The Red Sox Away From These FAILURES: PT. 4 Taking The Red Sox Away From These FAILURES: PT. 5 Taking The Red Sox Away From These FAILURES: PT. 6

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