Henry, Lucchino: No comment on Epstein

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Henry, Lucchino: No comment on Epstein

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
Red Sox principal owner John Henry and CEO Larry Lucchino appeared on WEEIs Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning and discussed a number of topics. They were Henrys first public comments since the departure of former manager Terry Francona. Henry missed the press conference on the evening of Sept. 30 announcing Franconas departure. The Red Sox owner was in the hospital after slipping on board his yacht while making arrangements to set up the press conference.

Henry and Lucchino would not discuss whether or not the Cubs, as has been reported, have asked to speak with Sox general manager Theo Epstein about their vacant GM job. The pair would also not discuss if they would grant permission if or when it is sought.

How do you know that? Henry asked, regarding the Cubs seeking permission to talk to Epstein.

Those things are supposed to be kept private and we have a policy of not discussing who has been, whether permission has been asked for X or Y or Z, Lucchino said. In fact, every year we get requests from people. We never discuss them publicly. Its been our policy.

I think theres good reason for it too. These are some privacy considerations here. I dont know that people would want their career development or their job decision to be debated publicly or for people to know what theyre considering or not considering. And I'm not sure the other team necessarily would like that to be made public. So, our consistent policy and practice has been not to discuss whether someone has had a, whether theres been a request made for a person.

Epstein is in his ninth season as Red Sox GM, taking on the role on Nov. 25, 2002. Henry acknowledged that while he considers Epstein to be the GM going forward, he doesnt expect Epstein to remain in the job forever.

I think theres a certain shelf life in these jobs, Henry said. You can only be the general manager if you're sane. You can only be the general manager, you can only be the manager for a certain amount of time. Its a tremendous pressure cooker here, 162 games. Its a long season and the pressure here is 365 days. So Theo is not going to be the general manager forever.

Lucchino acknowledged that when request is sought for a job that would be a promotion, permission is generally given. In the Cubs case, it has been speculated that the job could encompass duties that would go beyond the scope of a general managers.

There is a certain protocol in this game and it is if someone asks permission for a job thats not lateral, you give them permission, Henry said. Its just the way it works. Now Im sure there are examples where it didnt happen, right? Where somebody says, Were still not allowing it. Im sure weve done that in the past.

One of the reasons they wont comment, Henry said, is that if the news is made public, it could reflect poorly on the requesting team andor the candidate. Lucchino cited privacy concerns.

We dont mean to sound evasive on this, Lucchino said, but this is one subject when that we dont think there needs to be full disclosure. Our fans have a keen interest in knowing as much about this team as they can possibly know. But there are some things that come up against the line of personal privacy, where there are some considerations that should be factored into it. And thats where we are with respect to this thing.

Epstein has guided the Sox to two World Series championships in his tenure. He has also signed off on several free-agent contracts in the last few years that have been less than desirable for the Red Sox. Factoring in the recent deals for John Lackey (82.5 million, five years), Carl Crawford (142 million, seven years), J.D. Drew (70 million, five years), Bobby Jenks (12 million, two years), Julio Lugo (36 million, four years), Daisuke Matsuzaka (52 million, six years, plus 51.1 million posting fee), Edgar Renteria (8 million, one year), Mike Cameron (15 million, two years), Dennys Reyes (900,000, one year), Hideki Okajima (1.75 million, one year), the sum is roughly 471.25 million.

That's nearly a half-billion dollars on contracts that either did not work or have not yet worked in the Sox favor. That amount would be a bitter pill for any team to swallow.

I think thats one of the problems in baseball, Henry said. Its hard to predict things. Its hard to predict performance going forward. When I look back over the last 10 years and the last eight years with Tito being here, the last I guess nine years that Theo has been here and I look at what weve accomplished, every year, including this year, we felt we were headed for a World Series. The only thing thats really -- not the only thing -- but the biggest thing to us every year is playing in October. Thats what we do. Thats what we spend all of our time doing, is trying to create an atmosphere here. People talk about well were business-oriented. Were business-oriented for one reason. Lucchino is a tremendous revenue-generator for one reason and that is to be able to give the right people the amount of money that it takes to be successful. And you can criticize the things that hes done but weve averaged what, I dont know how many, 92 wins?

Henry and Lucchino both stressed most major decisions are made collectively, by ownership -- Henry, Lucchino and chairman Tom Werner -- and Epstein.

We share the success and we share the blame, absolutely, with respect to that, Lucchino said.

In specific regard to the Crawford signing, Lucchino said:

At the time when we made the decision, we all concurred in the decision.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Tomase: Red Sox are better than this but I have real concerns

Tomase: Red Sox are better than this but I have real concerns

John Tomase, Chris Gasper and Gary Tanguay discuss is the Boston Red Sox recent slump is more than just a slump and also when John Farrell needs to start worrying about his job security again.

Red Sox understand first-inning woes are putting pressure on offense

Red Sox understand first-inning woes are putting pressure on offense

ST. PETERSBURG, FLa. -- Not long ago, the Red Sox were repeatedly taking first-inning leads, often with multi-run innings.

These days, of course, it's the other way round. The Red Sox haven't scored a first-inning run since June 11, while the opposition is piling up the runs, with 22 scored in the last 15 games prior to Tuesday.

"Two weeks ago,'' said John Farrell, "we were talking about how much pressure it takes off (our) pitcher when you go out and score (in the first). We're living the other side of both of those right now.''

The Red Sox recognize the problem, but fixing isn't easy, namely because the issue is not the same for every starter.

The Sox are satisfied with their approach. What they have to change are the results.

"To go out and command the baseball from the start,'' said Farrell, "that's what we're all working toward getting better at. It's pretty clear where we need to improve.''

"Obviously, it makes it difficult for the offense,'' said pitching coach Carl Willis of the recent habit of falling behind. "to start off in a hole. It kind of sucks some energy out of the dugout when you're playing catch-up right away. (The pitchers) are aware of it. We're looking at everyone's routine. A couple of guys have really good, consistent routines.''

Willis said the Red Sox have examined everything, from pre-game routines and timing for warm-ups. So far, they haven't been able to discover any common factors.

"We've got to come out and throw better in that first inning,'' said David Price, who will start the series finale against his former team Wednesday afternoon. "It's setting the tone early. It's going out there and putting up a quick zero and giving all your defenders and your offense (the message), 'Alright, we've got it today. We don't have to go out and put up a 10-spot.'

"If we can go out there and put up early zeros, it takes a lot of the pressure off that offense.''

For now, it's something the Sox are focused on repairing.

"Baseball's a crazy game,'' said Willis. "Sometimes you go through periods and it just happens. That's not a good answer and that's not an excuse. We have to be better and they know that.''

 

Trip to minors gives E-Rod opportunity to work on delivery consistency

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Trip to minors gives E-Rod opportunity to work on delivery consistency

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis didn't say that Eduardo Rodriguez was tipping his pitches again Monday.

Then again, he didn't have to.

The results -- nine runs on 11 hits in 2 1/3 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays -- offered a hint. And, just for good measure, Willis all but said so Tuesday afternoon.

"It really goes back to consistency in (his) delivery,'' said Willis, "because with the inconsistencies -- I know it's no secret -- hitters know what's coming. He's worked on it extensively in bullpen sessions, dry work periods. He makes progress, shows the abilities to make those adjustments. However, when the game begins and his focus gears more toward attacking the hitter, the old habits resurface.

"It's not from lack of effort on his part. It's just a bit much to accomplish at the major league level, where hitters can look for inconsistencies and make adjustments more so that in the minors.''

Rodriguez knows what has to be done. But as recent history suggests, it's not an easy fix.

"It takes a lot of work. It does,'' said Willis. "Obviously, he's gone back to his old delivery that he's more accustomed to and comfortable with. I think there's a possibility that we're going to have to make an adjustment with his hands -- where he sets them and keeps them throughout his delivery, maybe eliminate some movement. And that's going to be something that would definitely be difficult to take place here.

"It's not easy, but certainly not impossible. He's a good athlete. He's an intelligent kid. He's aware. But it's the ability to maintain to make it a new habit so he doesn't have to think about it.''

How long Rodriguez takes to correct the flaws is unknown, making it difficult to estimate when he might return to the Red Sox rotation.

"I don't have an exact answer for that,'' said John Farrell. "That's going to be a start-by-start situation and (depends on) how he solidifies the adjustments that are requires. I don't have a timetable for how long it's going to be. . . But to suggest that this is going to be a one-start situation (at Pawtucket) would be a little aggressive.''