McAdam: Red Sox owners muddying the waters

591066.jpg

McAdam: Red Sox owners muddying the waters

Perhaps, somewhere in the future, we can say that the Red Sox, thanks to their famed "due diligence'', did the right thing in their excruciatingly thorough search for a new manager.

Perhaps all the time spent, all the interviews conducted, all the mockery invited, will make sense in the end. Perhaps they will, eventually, get The Right Guy for the job.

Perhaps.

But right now, the process appears ludicrously out of control, run not by the upper management and ownership of a model franchise, but instead, a modern-day Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight.

If perception is reality, then the perception around baseball is that the Red Sox are turning this managerial search into some sort of slapstick production.

Think new general manager Ben Cherington is having any second thoughts?

Cherington -- along with former GM Theo Epstein, and in hindsight, how foolish was that? -- compiled a list of candidates, vetted them through contacts throughout the game and invited them to Boston for day-long interviews.

From that group, Cherington identified Dale Sveum, clearly, as his top choice. Sveum was invited to the GMOwners Meetings in Miwaukee and presented to ownership.

How do we know that Sveum was Cherington's clear favorite? Because while Sveum was being invited back for a second, follow-up interview, the Red Sox never had anyone else lined up for a return visit. Cherington said as much Tuesday when he said he and others were still "narrowing'' down the other candidates.

But something about Sveum didn't pass the sniff test for the owners. After a two-hour lunch meeting with ownership, the Red Sox weren't prepared to offer him the job. By late Wednesday, the Cubs were sufficiently convinced enough to make Sveum their choice.

Ownership's decision to take a pass on Sveum was a rebuke of Cherington's judgment. And as if to emphasize the point, CEO and president Larry Lucchino answered "absolutely,'' Wednesday night when asked if the team might expand the search to include new candidates.

What message does that send to Cherington, who has focused his first three weeks on the job in identifying and interviewing his choices for the team's new manager?

If Lucchino had walked into the middle of the lobby of the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, patted Cherington on the head and said: "Nice try, kid, but we'll take it from here," he couldn't have embarrassed the new general manager more.

All along, the Big Three of Lucchino, principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner have dismissed any suggestion that the search is unwinding and taking too long.

Daily, they remind everyone how -- all together now -- "Terry Francona wasn't hired until Dec. 8" back in 2003, which is indisputably true.

Here's what else was undisputably true: That offseason, the Red Sox went to Game 7 of the ALCS before their season was through. That meant they were playing into the third week of October. The team didn't pull the plug on Grady Little until after the World Series was done.

This year? The Sox were finished Sept. 28, then clumsily parted ways with Terry Francona two days later. Even allowing for the time it took for Epstein to leave for Chicago, the Sox will have been without a manager for eight weeks, an absurdly long time.

(By contrast, the world champion St. Louis Cardinals replaced Tony La Russa in about 10 days, while the Cubs hired Sveum less than three weeks after dismissing Mike Quade).

In Boston, however, there's no apparent urgency. The contingent left Milwaukee Thursday, with Cherington and other members of the baseball operations team headed for the Dominican to work out some international free agents and the owners presumably headed back to Boston.

No hurry.

Wonder if Detroit Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski feels the same way? Or Toronto's Alex Anthopoulos? Or Cleveland's Chris Antonetti? All three have coaches who are still, on the face of it, candidates for the Sox' managerial job, unclear about their own futures.

Now comes word that the Sox are in discussions with Bobby Valentine, yet another telltale sign that ownership -- and not Cherington -- is calling the shots. Henry is known to be a proponent of Valentine and may have already met with him to discuss the job.

The inclusion of Valentine may satisfy those who moaned that there weren't enough "big name'' candidates on the Sox' wish list. But just as surely, he defies Cherington's desire to have someone who will work collaboratively with baseball operations.

Then again, maybe yet another name will surface and be hired before all is said and done.

"Spooky World'' is over at Fenway. But the circus, it would seem, is here to stay.

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

NEW YORK - Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But they received significantly more votes this time and could be in position to gain election in coming years.

Bagwell, on the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, received 381 of 442 votes for 86.2 percent. Players needed 75 percent, which came to 332 votes this year.

In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was on 380 ballots (86 percent). Rodriguez received 336 votes (76 percent) to join Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers elected on the first ballot.

Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short.

Edgar Martinez was next at 58.6 percent, followed by Clemens at 54.1 percent, Bonds at 53.8 percent, Mike Mussina at 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling at 45 percent, Lee Smith at 34.2 percent and Manny Ramirez at 23.8 percent.

Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta Braves executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star who spent his entire career with Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs.

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos.

Raines hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage, playing during a time when Rickey Henderson was the sport's dominant speedster.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: "Only God knows."

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and jumped from 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, rose from 45.2 percent last year.

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned appeal in 2015.

Clemens was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

A 12-time All-Star on the ballot for the first time, Ramirez was twice suspended for violating baseball's drug agreement. He helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and `07, the first for the franchise since 1918, and hit .312 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs in 19 big league seasons.

Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020.

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

The Red Sox have invited nine non-roster players to spring training, the team announced Wednesday. The team now has a total of 15 non-roster invitees. 

Added Wednesday to the spring training roster were outfielder/infielder Allen Craig, third baseman Rafael Devers, first baseman Sam Travis, catcher Jordan Procyshen, outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Rusney Castillo, and right-handed pitchers Kyle Kendrick, Chandler Shepherd and Ben Taylor.

In addition to 39 players on the 40-man roster, the Sox have the following breakdown of non-roster invitees: 

Pitchers: Kyle Kendrick, Edgar Olmos, Chandler Shepherd, Ben Taylor, Marcus Walden
 
Catchers: Dan Butler, Jake DePew, Jordan Procyshen
 
Infielders: Rafael Devers, Matt Dominguez, Sam Travis
 
Outfielders: Brian Bogusevic, Rusney Castillo, Allen Craig, Junior Lake