You’re Ben Cherington; Sox fans think you’ve lost your mind, or are Larry & Bobby sandbagging you from behind?


You’re Ben Cherington and Red Sox fans think you have lost your mind.

The fans who think you would’ve been smarter, than to swap Scooter’s sal-ry for a back-up starter, now yearn to learn, who’ll stand in that space, twixt Kev The Yook and Second base.

As always, the fans can’t know, and you can’t tell them, what goes on inside Fortress Fenway in the winter, when it’s surrounded by a moat of snow and King “I’m Feelin’ Lucky” Lucchino frantically frets like [a fast food sandwich] “Ham-let” about the dissonance between Red Sox roster and the luxury tax.

"You’re Ben Cherington and you wonder:“Do they really want to create a hole at SS for a measly $6 million, about the average salary of one player per year; about 6.7% of the total 40-man budget? Giving our starting SS away for nothing…Over chump change?”"

And you worry that President Lucky is having dinner with his new manager, Bobby V and that is the conversation cauldron that’s causing the steam to fill your mind with pressure.

You want the fans to know that you are not crazy, or amo-ron,” that you already have a contract commitment from Roy Oswalt for two years that will low ball the first year salary to keep the team budget under the luxury tax ceiling in 2012. You had Oswalt in your pocket before you had to make this lop-sided swap with the Rocks.

You have to laugh at the staff’s joke that Mortensen played shortstop in High School, but it reminds you that you will need to face the media and the fans and tell them the current plan for shortstop on Opening Day.  Will they tell you to trade Aviles for a left-handed shortstop?

You hope that you won’t be forced to lie at the press conference, when some wire service wag asks you if this was YOUR idea, or Luccino’s; to keep your job, you will have to recite the party line: “This was a group decision and I support the plan…” Although you wonder if the “group” membership is just two co-conspirators, President Lucchino and his manager Valentine.

You will need to lock on your steely-grill grin with your molars gradually grinding in your jaw and open up a giant jar of Jabberwocky Jive jam, your canned talking points.

(The PR people will distribute copies of the stats to the media.)

"Career batting stats:AVG OBP  SLG OPSAviles:    .288 .318  .419 .737Scutaro:  .270  .338 .389 .727Punto:     .249 .325  .327 .652"

You will point out that:

1. Scutaro had a “career” season in 2011 [.299/.358/.423/.781].
2. Aviles has a better career BA [.288 to .270.] and has more power [.419 to .389 SLG %]
3. Punto had better OPS than Scutaro in 2011 [.809 to .781].

(The PR people will distribute copies of the stats to the media.)

"2011 Batting stats:AVG   OBP  SLG  OPSScutaro: .299   .358  .423  .781Punto:    .278    .388 .421  .809Aviles:    .255     .289 .409  .698"

You will say that, although most scouts see Jose Iglesias as a Gold Glove level SS, who cannot hit MLB pitching, his MLB BA is .333. When the guy from the Herald reminds you that your stat is based on only 6 ABs, you will rejoinder that his 618 minor league ABs, about equivalent to a full season, resulted in a .261 BA. [9 points better than Scutaro‘s MLB career BA: .270.]

(The PR people will distribute copies of the stats to the media.)

"AVG OBP     SLG OPSMinors    .261 .308   .316 .624BOS         .333   .333   .333   .667BOS         .333   .333   .333   .667 [162 Game Avg. projection]"

When one of the droll troll beat writers questions the Gold Glove rating for Iglesias, noting his Fielding average is the lowest of the among Boston roster SSs: .971 [vs. .973-.974], you have a comeback: when Iglesias worked out at Fenway with Pedroia, the scrappy Second baseman and other observers were impressed with Jose’s glove, arm, range and agility.

[See for yourself…]

When the guy from Fox Sports says: “People say that the Red Sox are pinching pennies and not committed to fielding a World Series’ roster…,” you will remind him that the ownership is totally committed to getting to the World Series and that only two other teams in MLB spend more on their payroll [and not mention they are the Phillies and the Yankees, who are outspending you by about $40 million, $201 million to $161 million.]

You hope nobody compares the recent Yankees’ trade of the All Hit/No Glove Montero for the young proven ace, Pineda to this ludicrous deal.

When the glib Globe guy asks: “OK, so who’s your starting SS on Opening Day?,” without a glimmer of glee, you defer to Luccino’s manager: “That’s Bobby Valentine’s decision.” [You think: “It’s not rocket science: Aviles starts; his batting splits [RHP/LHP] are about even; although Punto had a career year in 2011, Aviles beats him in career BA by 39 points: .288/.249.”]

You can guess that they give Aviles most of the starts at SS, let the kid [Iglesias] play late-inning defense to build his confidence, and Punto can PH for either one. If you need to PH for you RF, you can move Aviles from SS to RF and stick Punto or the kid in at SS.

When you are asked about Clay Mortensen’s role on the team, you are tempted to say “Well, he has played shortstop…” take a dramatic pause and then add:  “in High School.”  Instead you will note that he is a ground-ball pitcher and would be perfect, as a reliever, with runners on base, to induce a double play ball.

You hope nobody brings up his career K [50] to W [39] ratio: 1.25, when the unspoken bar is set at 2.0, or 2 Ks for every W with relievers expected to be over that minimum; since walking one for every one you K is not an acceptable trade off with runners already on base. You traded your starting SS [for the second time in a week] for an unpromising non-prospect, because the cheapskates upstairs are pinching the budget: “Penny wise, dollar foolish.”

You wonder WTF they will do with Oswalt. Will they drop him into the #4 slot? Send Bard back to the bullpen? Does Bard take over the set-up role? Does that shove Melancon into the 7th inning or into the miasma of middle relief? Does it negate the trade that cost you your other “starting shortstop?” WTF are those two guys scheming about over dinner at the Aegean Restaurant in Watertown?

So, by Talent’s mime and his Valentine, your peace of mind, now rendered asunder, in Shakespearian pentameter, you worry and wonder: To what plan, am I now bound, that those two found/in some pitch pit/with Water Witch/in Watertown?

You hope that you can trot Oswalt out for a positive-spin press conference ASAP to overlay this ridiculous trade you were forced to make by “I’m Feeling Lucky” Luccino and the absentee owners; while they are at home drinking fine wine and eating caviar, you sip your tepid Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and chew your cold bran muffin, developing heart burn. This is the second time they have usurped the prerogatives of their new General Manager.

You’re Ben Cherington, the first-year General Manager of the Boston Red Sox. Lucchino muscled you on your choice of manager; you were forced to trade your Opening Day shortstop [again], this time for a bullpen filler pitcher…

And, perhaps, you are feeling like Ron Ziegler, Nixon’s embattled Press Secretary, who, for the President, took all the flak, strapped so tight to stress’ rack; and at just 63 fell–“Whack!”, when  laid low by heart attack.

You’re Ben Cherington and you’re feeling bereft:

“So this must be why Theo left…”


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