McAdam: It may not be toxic, but Sox clubhouse 'isn't happiest place on Earth'


McAdam: It may not be toxic, but Sox clubhouse 'isn't happiest place on Earth'

Sean McAdam addresses the report by ESPN's Buster Olney that the Red Sox have a "toxic" clubhouse, in a conversation Monday night with Jessica Moran on SportsNet Central:

This is a mediocre team, as reflected by their .500 record, that has some internal issues. With all due respect to Buster Olney, I'm not sure I would use the word "toxic". But it is certainly not rivaling Disneyland as the happiest place on Earth these days.

SPORTS TONIGHT: Plenty of blame for clubhouse woes

There are players in that clubhouse who are not enamored of Bobby Valentine, and maybe we can say the same in reverse when it comes to how Valentine feels about the players.

I think there's a lot of issues here. I think some are left over from September, some have been brought about by the Valentine dynamic. But it is not a great, cohesive clubhouse. That much is clear.

On the Valentine dynamic:
Valentine was hired by team president Larry Lucchino, and I think we all understand -- even if Ben Cherington doesn't admit it publicly -- that Valentine wasn't the general manager's choice. So there's probably some confusion among the players as to who's really in charge, how the hierarchy works, who makes the decisions, and who they answer to.

I'm not sure that Valentine has stuck with that sort of provocative way that he has -- after the Kevin Youkilis thing (where he drew pointed reaction from some players, Dustin Pedroia in particular, for saying Youk wasn't as "physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason"), it seemed like he backed off a little bit -- but he does seem a little bit more withdrawn from the players and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of interaction.

Valentine continues to make . . . passive-aggressive remarks about players. The Buchholz thing is one; revealing that Kelly Shoppach went into the office and complained about playing time is another. So I think there are ongoing issues with the manager.

Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- As the annual winter meetings get underway today, the market for arguably the best free-agent hitter may be -- against all logic -- lessening.

Edwin Encarnacion, who has averaged 39 homers a year over the last five seasons, should be a player in demand.

But in quick succession, the Houston Astros and New York Yankees, two teams thought to be in the market for Encarnacion, opted to go with older hitters who required shorter deals -- Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday.

Further, the Toronto Blue Jays' signing of Steve Pearce to a two-year deal Monday, coupled with their earlier acquisition of Kendrys Morales, closes the door on a potential return to Toronto for Encarnacion.

Seemingly, all of that would position the Red Sox, in search of a DH to replace the retired David Ortiz, to swoop in and land Encarnacion for far less than they could have imagined only weeks ago.

And yet, it appears as though things would have to change considerably for the Red Sox to reach agreement with Encarnacion.

While the first baseman-DH is known to be Ortiz's first choice as his replacement, for now, the economics don't work for the Sox -- even as Enacarnacion's leverage drops.

Encarnacion is expecting a deal of at least four years, with an average annual value around $20 million.

The Red Sox, industry sources indicate, are very much mindful of the luxury tax threshold. The Sox have, however modestly, gone over the threshold in each of the last two seasons, and even with a bump due to last week's new CBA, the Sox are dangerously close to the 2018 limit of $195 million.

Should the Sox go over for a third straight year, their tax would similarly ratchet up.

That, and the fact that Encarnacion would cost the Sox their first-round pick next June -- for this offseason, compensation for players given a qualifying offer comes under the old CBA rules -- represents two huge disincentives.

It's far more likely that the Sox will seek a cheaper option at DH from among a group that includes Pedro Alvarez and Mike Napoli. Neither is in Encarnacion's class, but then again, neither would cost a draft pick in return, or the long-term investment that Encarnacion is said to be seeking.

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason tells Toucher & Rich a story from his early days in Cincinnati when he witnessed Pete Rose overseeing five guys he paid to sign a stack of photographs for fans.