The Red Sox are sunk. John Farrell has assumed the role of Odysseus in the baseball version of a Greek tragedy that is the 2015 Red Sox. Unfortunately, our Odysseus has already crashed upon the rocks. Farrell has called meetings. Veteran players have called meetings. Occasional sparks such as the seven run come-from-behind victory have done little to energize this lethargic and vastly overpaid collection of under-performing talent.
John Henry and Ben Cherington, are the architects of this latest disappointment (see, 2012, 2014) and their day of retribution will most certainly come. For Cherington it will be the unemployment line and for Henry it will be failing revenues that will be translated into lost value.
The first move is to assign a responsible party. Simply put – someone to blame. Say goodnight to manager Farrell and meet the next manager – Tony Pena.
Pena was not a good catcher, but an outstanding catcher. An All-Star and Gold Glove recipient who slashed .260/.309/.364 in an 18 year MLB career of which four seasons were spent with Boston.
Pena started out his managerial journey in the proverbial bushes, albeit the high bushes, with the Pacific Coast League where he won a title. The Dominican Winter League where two more titles were added to Pena’s resume before grabbing an MLB gig with the Kansas City Royals.
"“Baseball is a simple game. If you have good players and if you keep them in the right frame of mind then the manager is a success.” – Sparky Anderson"
With the Royals, Pena captured a Manager of the Year Award (2003) before the team did a Red Sox and lost 104 games. As with this current Red Sox team someone must pay and Pena did.
Since then Pena has been interviewed for both the Yankees and Red Sox managerial openings. With Boston, Pena was reported to be runner-up to Bobby Valentine. Currently Pena is the first base coach for the Yankees after being bench for five seasons and having served as third base coach.
At 58-years-old Pena has spent his life in baseball and has clearly exhibited an ability to manage and be a valued contributor. Pena is a Dominican and that certainly cannot be dismissed in a game where being Hispanic is a communication plus. Pena knows the AL East and the Red Sox with a view from the outside looking in. Being in New York and serving time as a player in Boston, Pena will not be intimidated by the media and fan scrutiny.
Farrell will go. Unless some miracle of “Morgan Magic” takes place he’ll be replaced. This is not an if, but a when situation. Who replaces Farrell is in both a positive and negative situation. Farrell replaced Valentine, so he had a situation where “It can’t possibly get worse,” and that is a psychological plus. A new manager is assuming a role where just about any success is a plus.
"“Managers are hired to be fired.” – An old baseball axiom"
The negative is obvious. A payroll of 200M and a fan and media base that now view the team as a collection of high paid bindlestiffs, and with that comes the expectations of immediate gratification. Maybe Pena can do it? Frankly, Farrell has apparently lost the clubhouse and certainly the fans.
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