Saturday, October 1, 2011
Francona should not be only Boston fall guy
Terry Francona took the fall for the historic collapse of the Boston Red Sox, even though it wasn’t really his fault so he shouldn’t be the only one.
Francona is a great manager and he will land another big-league managing job whenever he is ready for one. I’d imagine he wants to take some time off and decompress from the hellish Red Sox job, a job that nobody but him has been able to do well in decades. Despite guiding the Saux to two World Series championships in eight years, Francona takes the fall for the Red Sox blowing a nine-game wild card lead.
The guy people call Tito took some of the blame for what he said was his inability to reach certain players (wouldn’t you love to know who those idiots are that wouldn’t listen to a guy who won two championships?). But he isn’t the only one who should go down for the epic collapse. I think the genius behind the current team, Theo Epstein, should bear a lot of the responsibility for putting together a team capable of falling apart the way it did.
Don’t get me wrong, Epstein made some great moves (the Adrian Gonzalez trade was genius, putting a guy just reaching his prime into Fenway Park), but he has also overpaid for too many players that are underperforming and likely untradeable. I liked Carl Crawford as a player so I don’t have a problem understanding why Epstein went after him, but he really hung that massive contract around the necks of the Red Sox. If Crawford doesn’t have a better season next year, it’s going to be seen as one of the worst signings in baseball history.
Epstein or the next Red Sox general manager has to clean house. Start by letting David Ortiz and Jason Varitek walk away. They are supposed to be clubhouse leaders, but they did or could do nothing as their team was falling apart. Varitek should have stopped catching a long time ago and Ortiz, after another great season, is going to want money that the Saux could use to buy themselves two or three good players rather than just a designated hitter. They are fan favorites, but Red Sox Nation will forget all about them if the GM can get some solid players to replace them.
The Red Sox need to rebuild from scratch, but they need to do it quickly. Otherwise, they will spend too many October nights in front of a television watching their archrival New York Yankees play baseball. In torrential rains, of course.
Thanks to Keith Allison via Wikipedia for the photo.