Silent no more…
…It’s been a while for sure. Can’t hold my breath on these Red Sox anymore. The team is 9 games under .500 and 8.5 games out of the largely mediocre AL East. Plus their .437 winning percentage is a fraction higher than the ChiSox (.435) and the A’s (.431) at the bottom of the entire league.
You may say they took 2 out of 3 against the best team in the league this past weekend. You may throw me some June numbers and say the lineup is heating up. You may say that other than Ricky Porcello, the pitching staff has improved in June as well. You may say there is 91 games left and plenty of time to make a run.
But although you may have some facts on the first few lines, you would lose me on the last one.
I’m not buying in. Now if they go 8-2 in the next 10 games against members of the division…maybe. But we all know this is not going to happen. They simply do not have the starting pitching to sustain that kind of run. Sure the lineup has awoken a little. But if you don’t have the pitching, the point is moot.
I really hate to say that the solution is to blow up the team and look to the future. Since they already did that last year and back in 2012. How many times can you “blow up the team”? That being said, there are moves to be made. I don’t believe they are as far off as people may think. But of course that depends on some of these “prospects” coming up and actually being good. If they aren’t? Well…let’s not go there for now.
The Blowhard’s opinion? Glad you asked. Here are some thoughts, in no particular order. And with no particular timeframe (certainly by the end of the season or immediately thereafter) other than where noted:
*Fire Ben Cherington and anyone involved in sabermetrics analysis. Anyone not involved in actual talent analysis by viewing and evaluating the players in person and in game situations, etc. If they just sit behind a computer, jettison them. Bill James? Bye-bye. Take your projections of Will Middlebrooks hitting 30 bombs every year and go back to your cave. Toss a stick of dynamite in Carmine, the computer. Etc.
Listen, I am not completely against sabermetrics. Analysis through this method CAN be helpful. But to rely seemingly exclusively on it? No F’n way. It should be a piece of the pie, not the whole thing. For instance the WAR stat, Wins Above Replacement, has some use. But as I peruse the top 20 as of right now, when I see names like Jason Kipnis, Kevin Keirmaier, Nolen Arenado, Lorenzo Cain, Brandon Crawford and A.J. Pollock among them, I almost have to discount the stat immediately. I have seen guys like Brett Lawrie and Andrelton Simmons periodically in the top 5. These guys all have value. But where they stand in WAR? Nope. Keirmaier, in particular, is #9 in all of MLB right now. Let that digest for a second…KEVIN KEIRMAIER!
It’s time to move back the other way on this stuff, to the way it used to be. At least find a better balance, that’s for sure. Ben, etc. are casualties…oh well. But he dug his own grave with some of the contracts he handed out. Porcello particularly. How about waiting to see how well he handled Boston and all that before handing him 82.5 mil? And Wade Miley’s 3 year extension for that matter? “Short” money, but still. Don’t have to relive the Panda and Hanley deals. Justin Masterson’s too, for that matter (couldn’t have gotten him for 3-5 mil instead of 9.5?). And although I actually could see where he was going with the “5 aces” bullcrap (expecting them to at least be mediocre and have the offense carry them until summer, where deals and callups would reinforce), well, that was a failure too.
Trades? Yuck. Yoenis Cespedes and Alex Wilson for Porcello? Rubby de la Rosa and Allen Webster (and Reymel Flores, just for the hell of it) for Miley (Webster appears to be a stiff, but I would have held onto Rubby)? John Lackey for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly (to be fair, Lackey was not going to pitch here for 500k and is inexplicably doing just that for the Cards, but the return could’ve been greater…or give him a bump in dough on an extension, despite my disdain for Lack as a person)? Even Middlebrooks for a backup catcher in Ryan Hanigan was kind of worthless to me. Andrew Miller for Eduardo Rodriguez may be one he will hit on, time will tell. And he got lucky with the Dodger trade in 2012. But most recent ones leave a lot to be desired.
Firing Ben and his posse would be tough to do mid-season, I acknowledge. But at the end of the year, barring a miraculous turnaround, this needs to be done. But enough about the front office…
*Fire John Farrell.
I don’t know who the next manager will be. I want him to be someone that is tougher on the players and hold them accountable instead of making excuses for them. But the prima donna players these days will not allow for that, I know. More importantly, John Henry and his fraud running mates will not allow for it. I’ve heard some talk on local radio recently that Ozzie Guillen would be a great fit to kick this team in the arse for the rest of the year. Sure, on paper. I’d welcome that. But we all thought Bobby V. was brought in to do that and as soon as he yelled at Mike Aviles and the players started crying, there went that idea. I’m under no illusions, Bobby V. was a buffoon. But once the owners muzzled him, he was even more useless. Didn’t help that Ben wanted Dale Sveum and not Bobby V. either. Then again, maybe V’s antics helped people forget that Ben wanted a stiff as a manager in Sveum. How’d that work out for the Cubs?
Anyway, back to Johnny Farrell. Where do you start? There’s a laundry list. Let’s go back to Toronto. He finished 2nd to last twice in his 2 years there and by the end of the 2nd year, the clubhouse was running roughshod over him. The Sox apparently loved that, hired him in 2013 and miraculously won a World Series. They had no business winning it all, but credit that group of mostly average players for coming together and the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. How much credit is Farrell due for that? Not sure, but they won, so he deserves some.
But the last year and a half? Atrocious. Of course, a great deal of the time a manager can only be as good as his players. As we mentioned above, Ben has left him a little short there. But…that certainly doesn’t absolve him of any blame for flushing 2 seasons down the toilet.
Let’s run down a few things:
-His in-game management has always been questionable. We can go back to the Seattle game, where he did not walk a scorching hot hitter in Nelson Cruz because Cruz was having trouble on certain pitches earlier in the game and also was 1 for 8 against Junichi Tazawa in his career. First base was open for one, and each at-bat is different for two, no? Another thing that bugs me is reading too much into how a certain hitter has done against a certain pitcher in his career. Is 1 for 8 a big enough sample size? I vaguely recall a player was in the lineup one day this year because he was 2 for 3 against the pitcher. 3 at-bats? If the guy is 25 for 50 against a hurler, that’s one thing. But 1-8 and 2-3? Nope. But that is just a small part of his head-scratchers over the past 2 and a half years.
-Has no idea how to manage in National League parks. Proved that in the World Series and again this year. Bunting in the 2nd inning with the #7 batter, Mookie Betts, who was on fire at the time, to get to Blake Swihart and Joe Kelly. Pitching to the #8 batter with 2 outs, instead of pitching around him, or even walking him to get to the pitchers spot in the order. I don’t think he even knows what a double switch is. Etc.
-Catering to the players…such as when Mike Napoli needed a day off recently. But when the 11th inning came and the Sox were down a run with Nap on the bench, letting Jeff Bianchi (who?) hit instead. Bianchi had 1 at-bat overall in the last 3 weeks. Maybe a smidge rusty, but what do I know? Plus he is a bum anyway. Nap had been struggling…let’s face it, he has sucked this year overall. But when Panda goes out early with injury, doesn’t that change plans? Especially when one swing of the bat can tie the game? Who’d you rather have, Bianchi or Nappy?
-Catering to the players…who don’t respect him apparently. The most grievous incidence of this was the Wade Miley incident. If I was Farrell, I would’ve pushed Miley down the stairs. The guy was getting shelled and he gets pissed the manager yanks him? What a joke. Like the guy is even good enough to put up a stink. He’s not Pedro, Clemens, or even Lester, for that matter. Miley has no business acting like that. He should have been suspended immediately. And Farrell comes out and says some garbage like he “likes Miley’s competitive fire”, etc. and doesn’t say anything negative. Furthermore, none of the players or coaches stepped in to break it up. What does that tell you?
That’s probably enough examples. I could go on, but why bother?
NEXT: On the field suggestions.
Posted on June 23, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged Ben Cherington, Bill James, Bobby V., Boston Red Sox, Dale Sveum, Eduardo Rodriguez, John Farrell, John Henry, Jon Lester, Major League Baseball, Mike Napoli, MLB, Ozzie Guillen, Pedro Martinez, Rick Porcello, Roger Clemens, Wade Miley, Yoenis Cespedes. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.