McAdam: Sox owners have more to gain by staying put


McAdam: Sox owners have more to gain by staying put

TORONTO -- There's no way of telling, definitively, whether there was any merit to the published report that the owners of the Red Sox have begun consideringplottinginvestigating selling the team.

But for now, let's assume that the depths to which John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino went to deny the story means they are not, in fact, selling. Time will either validate their denial or expose them as less than truthful.

A large segment of the fan base, understandably upset over three straight playoff DNQs, to say nothing of the soap opera that has been ongoing for the past 12 months, would like nothing more than Henry and Co. to leave town.

And to be sure, to borrow one of Lucchino's favorite phrases, there's plenty of criticism warranted at the trio, who, beyond allowing the franchise to go to seed, have demonstrated a tin ear of late.

(Example: Recently, one member of ownership expressed complete surprise that the near-universal outside perception is that the organization lacks the proper chain of command).

But let's be fair: in the past decade, this ownership has overseen two world championships and performed a nice remake of a ballpark now 100 years old.

They have spent -- not always wisely, of course -- and invested. Complain about the incessant marketing and "Sweet Caroline,'' but the fan experience at Fenway is worlds better than it was before they took over from the Yawkey Trust, when the ballpark was a dirty, outmoded money pit.

But here's why you should hope that Henry et al stay around: they're motivated.

Not motivated, as in ''motivated sellers.'' Motivated to repair their standing and legacy.

An oft-repeated criticism of Red Sox ownership is that they're too mindful of what others think. They read coverage of the team, listen to talk radio and ask around what's being said about them.

Lucchino can recite all the anecdotal evidence he likes about Massachusetts-reared-Rockies employees hugging him at owners' meetings and professing their undying love for the franchise.

But he and Henry and Werner aren't so isolated that they don't know how angry the fans are. And that may be the Red Sox' saving grace. Because these owners want -- some would suggest "need" -- to be liked. They enjoyed being seen as the white knights who rescued the team from the crony clutches of the Yawkey Estate.

Having experienced that emotional high, having been celebrated, they now are about as well-regarded as Jeremy Jacobs was pre-Cup: depicted as absentee and blissfully unconcerned about the team's fall from grace.

Long ago labeled "carpet-baggers'' because they had the poor sense to have been born outside Rte. 128, they're now in the community. Lucchino lives here year-round and Henry is here nearly half the year. So they hear, they read, they're all too familiar with the fact that the tide has turned against them.

What's more, they know they're going to take a hit for their misdeed. Already, TV ratings have fallen sharply, and the real trouble will come this winter when ticket sales -- both season-ticket and individial game -- take a similar dip.

Henry, Werner and Lucchino understand the importance of restoring the brand and making the Sox winners again. Such a turnaround will restore their standing and prove that the titles in 2004 and 2007 weren't happy accidents.

Could they cash out now and double their investment? Undoubtedly. But what's the hurry?

Name a baseball franchise whose value has decreased. The presence of labor peace provides stability and continuity for the forseeable future. Further, the escalation of TV money boosts the value of every franchise.

(The cable deal with ESPN resulted in a doubling of rights fees and when MLB reaches agreement with either Fox or NBC on the bigger package involving the World Series, All-Star Game and other post-season properties, the jump could be bigger still).

So, yes, the Sox could sell right now for, conservatively, 1.5 billion. But in another few years, with another pennant or World Series flag flying over Fenway, the selling price could put the L.A. Dodgers' pricetag to shame.

Better to have Henry, Werner and Lucchino have something to prove rather than sell when the team has bottomed out.

Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays


Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Notes, quotes and stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Rays:


* "There's not much I can do about it now. It's kind of a waiting game and hopefully, the tests come back clean.'' -Andrew Benintendi, on the uncertainty surrounding his knee injury.

* "Sometimes, I like that, sometimes I don't because I'd kind of take a couple of quick outs in place of those to get a couple of more innings out there.'' -Drew Pomeranz on his career high 11 strikeouts.

* "That's probably the spot that looms the largest. Jackie's become more aggressive early in the count, but at the same time, that aggressiveness can work against you.'' -Farrell on Jackie Bradley Jr. swinging at the first pitch following a walk with the bases loaded.


* Drew Pomeranz recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts

 * Since moving to the leadoff spot, Dustin Pedroia has a slash line of .397/.418/.460 in 16 games.

* Pomeranz has yielded two runs or fewer in five consecutive starts.

* On the just-completed road trip, the Red Sox led in all but one game.

* Thursday's loss was the fourth this season in which the Sox allowed two runs or fewer.

 * The past 18 Red Sox losses have come by a combined 37 runs.

* Until Thursday, the Red Sox had won 20 of their past 31 day games.

* The bottom third of the makeshift Red Sox lineup combined to go 2-for-12.

* The Sox missed out on a chance to have an eight-win road trip, which would have been their first since 2011.


1) Jake Odorizzi

The Rays started, facing a depleted Red Sox lineup, limited the Sox to a single run over seven innings, allowing just five hits and getting out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam by allowing just one run.

2) Mikie Mahtook

Mahtook was 0-for-34 when facing Drew Pomeranz in the seventh inning, but that didn't stop him from doubling home Steven Souza Jr with what proved to be the winning run.

3) Dustin Pedroia

The Sox couldn't generate much of anything at all offensively, but don't blame Pedroia. The leadoff hitter had three hits and a walk and was on base four times for the Sox.

Benintendi's MRI inconclusive; will undergo more tests Friday in Boston

Benintendi's MRI inconclusive; will undergo more tests Friday in Boston

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Andrew Benintendi saga will continue for at least one more day, as an MRI taken here Thursday morning was, in the words of John Farrell, "inconclusive" and the rookie left fielder will undergo more tests Friday in Boston.

"Our doctors want to get him back to a full exam with (team orthopedist) Dr. [Peter] Asnis," Farrell said after the 2-1 loss to the Rays, which concluded the team's 11-game road trip. "Hopefully, when I speak to you all [Friday] afternoon (at Fenway Park, prior to the team's game against Royals), there will be a little more information on this."

Farrell said Friday's tests "will include some other imaging".

The Sox placed Benintendi on the 15-day disabled list after he injured his left night while running the bases Wednesday night. 

"We're going to do some more tests tomorrow and take it day-by-day," he said. "There's not much I can do about it now. It's kind of a waiting game and hopefully the tests come back clean.''
Benintendi found one sliver of hope:
"The more I walk on it, the better it feels. I'm going to stay as positive as I can.'' 

First impressions of Red Sox’ 2-1 loss to Rays


First impressions of Red Sox’ 2-1 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- First Impressions from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field:


* When the guy who was 0-for-34 produces the go-ahead RBI, it's probably not your day.

The Red Sox and Rays were tied 1-1 in the seventh when Steven Souza Jr. singled to lead off the inning. That brought Mikie Mahtook, hitless in his last 34 at-bats to the plate.

Naturally, Mahtook roped a line-drive double to left field, scoring Souza all the way from first base. It was that kind of day for the Red Sox, who were 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position and stranded five baserunners.

For a team that still leads the majors in runs scored, the Red Sox have shown an uncanny ability to go cold at the plate.

On Thursday afternoon, that happened again, while the most unlikely hero for Tampa Bay came through in an improbable spot.


* The Red Sox' struggles with the bases loaded is almost comical.

It happened again.

In the sixth inning, the Red Sox loaded the bases with no out. Mookie Betts then hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring one run. Hanley Ramirez then walked, re-loading the bases, this time with one out.

But Jackie Bradley Jr. then swung at the first pitch and hit into an inning-ending, rally-killing 4-6-3 double play.

In two plate appearances with the bases loaded, the Sox failed to get a hit.

The Sox are hitting .216 with the bases loaded (24-for-111), ranking them 14th in the American League. Only Seattle and Detroit have had more bases-loaded opportunities, and yet the Red Sox rank in the second half in runs scored in such situations.


* Drew Pomeranz is showing no signs of innings fatigue

True, Pomeranz failed to provide a shutdown inning in the sixth after the Red Sox had gotten him a run in the top of the inning.

Still, Pomeranz pitched into the seventh and allowed just two runs while striking out a season-high 11 batters.

In his past five starts, he's compiled a 2.37 ERA, and both the power to his fastball and the sharpness to his curve offer no evidence that he's hit any sort of wall despite already establishing a career high at the major league level with five weeks remaining in the season.