Mike from Attleboro: Don't fire Bobby V

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Mike from Attleboro: Don't fire Bobby V

Your Boston Red Sox are 63-75. They just completed a West Coast road trip that resulted in a 1-8 record, getting outscored 63 to 21 and their manager seems like he is either literally teetering on the edge of sanity or about to join Fight Club.
As a result, pundits and fans are calling for embattled manager Bobby Valentine to be fired immediately.
Can I ask one simple question? Why?
This teams death spiral is quite frankly the most entertainment theyve provided fans with all season. What fun was it watching the Sox when they were simply mediocre and inconsistent? It was just disappointing and aggravating baseball. Now that they have not only plummeted in the standings, but also become a national laughingstock, the Red Sox are at least providing a steady stream of unintentional comedy.
Look, I understand that the Valentine hire was a terrible one. I said it before; hiring Bobby V was a PR move, not a baseball move. Like many other decisions this team has made recently, this hires impact on ratings and media buzz was considered before its impact on the teams overall performance. As a media move, it worked brilliantly. But the problem was that they hired him to manage the team, and ultimately, they didnt even let him do that until it was far too late. Case in point, there is no way Alfredo Aceves is suspended and then forced to fly to the West Coast via the Ace Tomato Company when the mirage of contending was still visible. By the time ownership actually let Bobby manage, this season was DOA, team mandated hatchet jobs were showing up in Forbes, and a quarter billion worth of its former employees were posing for Dodgers photo ops.
So why fire Bobby now? What is an obviously temporary skipper going to do for this team between now and the seasons end? Get the players to give more effort? The fact of the matter is that Valentines crucible of suck has already told everyone watching which guys on this team still give a professional effort and which are counting the days till the off season. What an interim manager wont do is get into a verbal cage match with WEEIs Glenn Ordway and provide days of spin off entertainment. It wasnt as epic as the Felger and Mazz audio massacre of John Henry, but it was almost as uncomfortable. Personally, I give Bobby V some credit here too. If someone from a station that acted as the Red Sox radio version of Pravda suddenly asked me if I had checked out, Id want to drill him too. But then again, most Bruins fans in this town have wanted to speed bag Ordways melon for over a decade.
No, I dont want Bobby V fired. To get ownership to finally come to grips with how flawed this team was took last Septembers collapse and subsequent fall out AND this season devolving into utter chaos. We as fans had to suffer through every inning of this and we deserve the payoff.
I want to see Ben Cherrington drag Carmine out to the pitchers mound by the power cord and give it the Office Space TPS machine treatment. I want Scott Podsednick and Jose Iglesias platooning at clean up. I want John Henrys next fact finding mission to be to the American Dental Association to find out why John Lackey cant close his gaping maw. I want to read an article in Good Housekeeping that blames Theo for Terry Cashman and the Cowsills.
In short, I want a level of mayhem and absurdity surrounding this team to rival the ESPN Y2K This Is Sports Center commercial.
The bottom line is this team needs a come to Jesus moment and nothing turns your attention to a higher power like a dash of apocalypse. Much like the way the Bruins crashed and burned after the 2004 lockout, the Red Sox need to be forced to the realization that the way they have been doing business is flawed on its most basic levels. The sad thing is, with an ownership group this arrogant, rock bottom has to hit them square in the face before theyll accept facts. The Dodgers purge was a start, but fans need this lesson to stick with the Fenway Group. I think ending this season with an episode of soul smothering embarrassment will definitely leave a mark.
So, unless the Sox hire the Ringling Bros. Ringmaster who is singing the anthem tomorrow (I cant make this stuff up) to stay on as manager, Bobby V the best man for this job.
"This is what I chose to do," said Valentine yesterday on WEEI. "I think (this season has) been miserable, but it's also been part of my life's journey. You learn from misery."
Follow him, Red Sox. Follow him to freedom!

Are Red Sox entering spring training with fewer questions than ever?

Are Red Sox entering spring training with fewer questions than ever?

BOSTON -- Every year it seems like there are major issues or question marks to start spring training where the answers are up in the air.

In 2015, the Red Sox lacked an ace, had Hanley Ramirez moving to left field and Pablo Sandoval coming to town.

In 2016, Ramirez was moving back to the infield, but at a new position, and his bat was in question. Sandoval was coming off a year where he couldn’t hit his weight (he hit .245 and he last weighed in at 255 pounds). How would the starting rotation look after David Price?

This year, there seem to be three questions, but in a way, they’ve already been answered.

How will the Red Sox make up for David Ortiz’s absence?

Well, for one, the Red Sox have three Cy Young-caliber starting pitchers (Price, Chris Sale and Rick Porcello) in their rotation.

And two, Hanley Ramirez is coming off a career year with his highest career output in RBI (111) and second-highest home run total (30). And while Mitch Moreland isn’t the greatest hitter, he’s good for 20 or more home runs. Plus, it seems he’s holding a spot for a certain Red Sox prospect who’s bouncing back well from an injury.

 

Will Sandoval earn the starting third base job back?

The weight loss is a good sign, not only for the physical reasons, but it shows he’s mentally committed to being better.

However, that doesn’t guarantee he gets his job back.

“I’m not going to say [third base] resolved itself,” John Farrell told CSNNE.com, “but you know Panda’s done a very good job of committing to get himself in better shape and we’re looking forward to seeing that play to in spring training.”

Even if Panda can’t put it all together, Farrell told reporters before Thursday’s BBWAA dinner, both Brock Holt and Josh Rutledge would be competing for the job as well.

Holt as plan B -- in the infield? Who wouldn’t take that?

Who’s going to start at catcher?

Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart each have their pros an cons.

Leon did it all last year, but went from hitting .383 in his first 39 games to .242 in his last 39.

Vazquez has Ivan Rodriguez-esque abilities behind the plate, but couldn’t keep the staff under control last year and cannot hit.

Swihart, who turns 25 April 3, is the youngest of the three, has the most potential at the plate, but is far and away the worst of the three defensively at the most important defensive position -- excluding pitcher -- on the field.

They all have their drawbacks, but they’ve all shown at some point why they can be the Red Sox starting catcher in the present and future.

Everywhere else, the Red Sox seem to be in a comfortable position as pitchers and catchers reporting to camp draws ever nearer.

“I think the fact that we’ve got veteran players that have done a great job in staying healthy [and] young players that are getting more establishing in their return, we’re in a pretty good place in terms of the overall status of our position player group,” Farrell told CSNNE.com.

And it seems some players are confident in the team’s options as they ready for camp.

“We’re looking good in a lot of areas,” shortstop Xander Bogaerts told CSNNE.com. “Especially the pitching staff, [since] we just got Chris Sale one of the best in the game.”

“Pablo’s definitely going to bounce back, especially with the weight he’s lost."

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

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Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.