Red Sox have a new pitching coach. Will he have anyone to coach?
By Bill Smith
Well, the old clock on the wall says that 2011 is about to become a bad memory. As the year ends, one tends to reflect on the past to sort out the mental data base. It was not a particular interesting year for me personally, except I became associated with Bosox Injection and Fansided, which gave and still gives me an outlet for my convoluted way of thinking, and as Martha Stewart would say, this is a good thing. Now, looking on the possible negative side of things, we get to the Boston Red Sox which is why I got into the blogging business in the first place.
Because of the diaspora that occurred in September and October, there was so many gaps in so many places, player and coaches, that when the wind blew, it sounded like a flute. The coaching situation is now under control. We have Tim Bogar as bench coach, Alex Ochoa on first base and Jerry Royster on third. The last two are new hires. We also hired a new pitching coach, Bob McClure, formally with the Kansas City Royals. He is experienced, having pitched for 19 years; under his tutelage Zach Greinke won the AL Cy Young award in 2009.
His decision to come to Boston was a family affair. When offered the position, he said he wanted to ponder it and discuss it with his family. His 86 year old mother said if he did not take the job, she would actually kill him. With maternal wisdom that profound, he had little choice. In any event he is aboard as pitching coach, but now the question is, who is he going to coach. If you recall, our rotation and relief line up resembles a failed Jenga game.
In the immediate future, in spring training, he plans to have Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves train as starters and go from there. He apparently is a friendly taskmaster, sort of an iron fist in a velvet glove; discipline, of course, is an element woefully absent at seas0n’s end and a boot in the pants is always a help. After Bard and Aceves, we have to look to new faces, faces we don’t know of as yet. There are still good pitchers, both starters and closers, on the market, but they are going to be expensive.
Larry Lucchino, by way of Ben Cherington, has expressed a need for frugality at this point, and frugality ain’t gonna get it. Unfortunately, the Sox got a 3.4 million dollar luxury tax bill. It pales beside the Yankees’ 13 million plus, but still a million is a million. Uncle Larry is going to have to loosen those purse strings. The money is there. Those who must be obeyed must decide which of their toys to spend on next year-baseball, race cars or soccer. Those of you who follow NESN should have noted a substantial increase of soccer related press releases. Whether one can glean the importance of this nuance, from reading of the runes, remains to be seen, so someone needs to brush up on his or her Futhark; or, in the alternative, get one of those ink filled eight balls. But it is clear, more money is needed and needed now.
The two starters that we have expressed an interest in are Matt Garza of the Chicago Cubs and Roy Oswalt of the Philadelphia Phillies. Theo Epstein, the Chicago Cubs president and erstwhile GM of the Red Sox has indicated that he might be interested in trading Garza as he is up for renewal shortly and in his stead, obtain a pitcher with a long term. He would be very expensive, for a reason. He is very good. Ozwalt has a great past, but is getting a tad long in the tooth, at 34, to demand big bucks. He has indicated that he is willing to sign a one year contract to show he still has the stuff, but as of yet, no takers. Hiroki Kuroda has also been mentioned.
Relievers like Ryan Madson and Andrew Bailey are on the trading block, but again, it’s not going to be cheap. I am sure that there are other pitchers being considered, but the important thing to remember is, most of the time, you get what you pay for. Mr. McClure comes with excellent credentials and concomitant results. The immediate problem is he needs good pitchers to coach; so I tell the Sox, do your due diligence, check out these prospects with everything available, including a proctoscope if necessary, and get some good folks on board. You guys are supposed to know what you’re doing, so do it.
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