Today Is Not Valentine’s Day
For days we have heard that after running through the first short list of managers, it appeared that those who must be obeyed had settled on the mercurial but seasoned Bobby Valentine. In reading the tea leaves today, in ain’t a done deal. With a new general manager, Theo clone Ben Cherington notwithstanding, there appears to be a power struggle in the throne room. One gets the impression that the recently enthroned Ben Cherington does not share the enthusiasm for Mr. Valentine as does the rest of the his colleagues. At his initial press conference, Cherington emphasized manager/GM synergy which, to date, he has not found his perceived soul mate; thus the prognosticators had to find erasers for the potential necessity of emending ill timed predictions. No white smoke is forthcoming from the papal chimney and the din from the masses rises. The question arises, what’s the the problem?
The courting of Dale Sveum is an example of the result of the prevailing indecision. The Sox flew him up here, provided him with luxury accommodations in preparation for a lunch with all parties present. Immediately after lunch, those who must be obeyed said they would think about it ; after no job offer, Sveum retired to his room and the Keystone Kops regrouped to talk it over. The same afternoon, the Cubs’ president Theo Epstein and his GM went to Mr Sveum’s hotel room that the Red Sox paid for and hired him out from under his hosts. How’s that for confidence building?
So going through what must be a labyrinthine ordeal of job interviews, there was no one left but Mr. Valentine. Word has it that Valentine is Larry Lucchino’s first choice from the start, so one wonders how much of this debacle is being caused by hidden agendas; Valentine, you will recall was in Japan and involved(with Larry Lucchino) in the acquisition of Daisuke Matsuzake. It is apparent that Ben doesn’t think he can work with Valentine so his heels are dug in and more candidates are being sought.
Enter Gene Lamont, the third base coach for the Detroit Tigers. He has been interviewed twice by Cherington et al. within the last few days and a final, really this is it, final decision is expected after the Thanksgiving hiatus. Lamont spent most of his professional career in the Tiger organization, with breaks for managerial and coaching jobs for minor league and other major league teams. An interesting but absolutely meaningless factoid is that he hit his first major league home run against the Red Sox. He was also the third base coach for the Sox in 2001. He has a well worn suitcase with all of this travels and brings much managerial experience; since 2006 he has been Jim Leyland’s Detroit Tigers. He as been named Manager of the Year in the Majors as well and the Minor leagues. He is qualified. So is Valentine, so pick one. Now.
Whoever takes the job will have the unenviable task of herding egomaniacal cats, both above and below him. The question I have, is whose minding the store while the owners one of the most storied franchises in the history of sports fiddle while Fenway burns. In case they haven’t checked, some fairly important decisions, decisions that will require money to be spent, lie unresolved. Unless I am missing something Jacoby Ellsbury, the only guy who showed up in August is up for free agency; David Ortiz has been offered arbitration, but since he wants a multiple year contract, he will also wind up a free agent; Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield are standing around like the last ones to be chosen on the playground; then there’s Jarrod Saltalamacchia (my spell check had a nervous breakdown on this one) and Ryan Lavarnway to be dealt with; the pitching rotation needs to be rebuilt; and that’s just with the players we have now. No matter who we might want to add to our team, none of these decisions should be made without a manager. To get a more in depth analysis of the use of arbitration in real time, I refer you to an excellent treatment of this issue by our Senior Editor, Derek Stykalo, End of the Line for Wake and ‘Tek With No Arbitration Offer,which is posted on this site.
These decisions have been on hold for too long and without explanation. As I have mentioned in previous posts, there seems to be a touch of ennui in the front office, when a sense of urgency is needed. Keeping one’s options open is a wise move, so long as it is your choice which options to abandon. Thr Red Sox’s options have been whittled away at by those whose interests are adverse to ours, and now, many of those options are no longer available; had a manager been in place to have input into the critical areas of cardinal importance in the rehabilitation of a near non-team, you might not have agreed with the decisions made, but the organization would be moving forward with purpose; instead they act as late comers to a yard sale. The only things available are lava lights and statues of naked ladies with clocks as bellies. Maybe there will be a mirror still available so fault can be properly allotted.
Gentlemen, please grow up and do your jobs, or sell the team to some one who will. It’s very painful to watch an old friend die from neglect.
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