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

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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has been in the past for some reason"), it seemed like he backed off a little bit -- but he does seem a little bit more withdrawn from the players and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of interaction.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.

Biggest Red Sox busts in recent memory

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Biggest Red Sox busts in recent memory

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Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

The Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract bn August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:

“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”

Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.

That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.