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Dustin Pedroia on The Big Show clears the air on Red Sox clubhouse

10.12.11 at 4:46 pm ET
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Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia interrupted his vacation in Mexico to call into the Big Show and discuss the Boston Globe article that portrayed the Sox clubhouse as an environment rife with dysfunction, in which teammates lapsed into apathy about the performance of the club as the season slowly drifted away.

Pedroia took issue with the characterization of the Sox clubhouse, suggesting that it featured numerous leaders, and pointing the fault for the team’s epic collapse to poor play on the field.

Pedroia suggested that he was “upset” about the portrayal of the clubhouse, and that he was “[hurt]” by the suggestion that manager Terry Francona‘s job had been compromised by personal problems.

That said, Pedroia vowed to put behind him the brutal disappointment of the end of the season. He suggested that he wants to remain in Boston for the duration of his career even with the departure of Francona, and he said that the team would feature renewed resolve entering 2012.

“We’€™ll come back motivated, I promise you guys,” said Pedroia.

To listen to the complete interview, click here. A transcript of the conversation is below:

On the Boston Globe article on Red Sox clubhouse dysfunction:

I’€™m pretty upset about it. A lot of the stuff that was said was pretty much not fair. It hurts, man. It’€™s not good.

What’€™s true?

We’€™re all baseball players. I showed up to work every day ready to beat the other team. So did everyone else. We’€™re a family. We had the best record in baseball up until Sept. whatever, and then we ran out of gas. That doesn’€™t have anything to do with Tito or Theo or any players or what went on in the clubhouse. The leadership was there. We had guys that cared. We didn’t play well in the end. That’€™s it. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Derek Jeter, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Varitek, Terry Francona

Peter Gammons on M&M: ‘I’m pretty sickened’ by trashing of Terry Francona

10.12.11 at 1:28 pm ET
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Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons joined Mut & Merloni Wednesday morning for his weekly appearance. Gammons gave his take on Wednesday’s Boston Globe article that gave a picture of the dysfunction that reigned in the Red Sox clubhouse during the team’s September collapse and even before that. One of the most controversial items in the article detailed how ex-manager Terry Francona may have been distracted by a failing marriage and health problems that forced him to use pain medication.

“I must say, I’m pretty sickened,” Gammons said. “I don’t need the Terry Francona out-the-door trashing. It’ll be interesting to see if they can screw it all up and trash Theo [Epstein] once he leaves. … It doesn’t speak really well about the way Tito left and the things he said, and the way Theo’s leaving, about how insane New England has become. There’s so much freneticism.”

The article suggested that Francona’s use of pain medication may affected his managing during the season. Francona has denied these claims. Gammons said that he feels that similarly controversial stories on Epstein may come out now that he is leaving for the Cubs.

“That’€™s my feeling on it, it’€™s just going to happen now with Theo, too,” Gammons said. “It’€™s not attractive. When I read this at, whatever, 4 o’€™clock in the morning here in St. Louis. I went, ‘€˜Why?’€™ … A couple of players texted me, ‘€˜Who in the world would read this?’€™ … It may be that some people in ownership think that Theo betrayed them. Maybe in the next week, we’€™ll get the owners of the Red Sox, the New York Times corporation, will trash Theo, too.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

On Epstein leaving with a year left on his contract: “It was my understanding that they would have discussed extending him. I don’€™t think he was interested in that. They clearly wanted him to stay. I’ve heard that some people in ownership have felt that he should stay for the last year of his contract. And I think the Cubs made it very difficult to turn it down with the power he’s going to end up having. … I sense more and more this year that it was getting difficult, that Theo was feeling claustrophobic. He went in there and right away had great success. He became, in a sense, a rock star. That burns out. … I think that it burned out a little bit. I think that was really, really hard on him. He’€™s such a private person. To lose that privacy I think is something that impacted him and his family.”

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Read More: carl crawford, Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett, peter gammons

Potential Red Sox GM candidates to replace Theo Epstein

10.12.11 at 12:26 pm ET
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With Dennis & Callahan breaking the news Wednesday that Theo Epstein has finalized a deal with the Cubs, the question arises as to who will replace the Red Sox general manager.

Epstein has had the most successful run of any Boston GM, guiding the team to two World Series in his nine years with the team. He was the youngest GM in the history of baseball when the Red Sox hired him at the age of 28 at the end of 2002. Epstein famously resigned after the 2005 season but was rehired in January of 2006. While Epstein will be remembered for the World Series victories in 2004 and 2007, he also will forever be linked to the Red Sox’ 2011 collapse.

There are a number of potential candidates to replace Epstein from both within and outside the organization. Here is a look at some of those possibilities.

Ben Cherington ‘€” Seemingly the heir apparent to Epstein, Cherington has been part of the Red Sox organization since 1998, when then-GM Dan Duquette brough Cherington into the fold. Cherington has served in a number of positions, including both amateur scout and international scout, before he was raised to assistant director of player development in 2002 when Epstein became GM. During Epstein’s brief hiatus in 2005, Cherington served as co-GM before being becoming vice president of player personnel upon Epstein’s return. Cherington was made assistant GM in 2009, where he gained experience in contract negotiations at the highest level. If Epstein does indeed go to Chicago, Cherington is widely considered to be the most obvious replacement. For a more thorough look at Cherington’s professional development, read Alex Speier‘s story.

Allard Baird ‘€” Another internal option for Boston, Baird is VP of player personnel and professional scouting. Baird joined Boston in 2006, when he was initially hired as assistant to the general manager. Before his time with the Red Sox, Baird was general manager of the Royals between 2000-06.

Jed Hoyer ‘€” Hoyer has been the executive VP and general manager of the Padres since October of 2009. Before that, Hoyer spent eight years with the Red Sox, serving first as assistant to the general manager before being named assistant GM in 2005. Hoyer joined Epstein in a visit to Curt Schilling‘s Arizona home in 2003 to persuade the pitcher to join Boston.

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Read More: allard baird, Andrew Friedman, ben cherington, Billy Beane

Poll: Which revelation in most recent report about Red Sox dysfunction ticked you off most?

10.12.11 at 9:25 am ET
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For those who haven’t read Bob Hohler‘s look at the dysfunction within the Red Sox clubhouse during their collapse, I suggest you take a gander. It paints the picture of multiple causes for the disaster that was the worst September fade in Major League Baseball history. Of the instances touched on were:

‘€¢ Team sources were concerned that manager Terry Francona was distracted  by a troubled marriage and mounting health problems. Those sources also suggested that the manager’s performance may have also been affected his use of pain medication. (Both notions are vehemently denied by Francona.) The report also stated that Francona was concerned about the safety of his son, Nick, and son-in-law, Michael Rice, who were both serving in Afghanistan.

‘€¢ Even after principal owner John Henry offered $300 headphones, along with the chance to conduct a team get-together on his yacht, following the scheduling issues due to Hurricane Irene, the Sox failed to respond.

‘€¢ Starting pitchers Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Clay Buchholz continued a practice that dated back to 2010 in which they would drink beer, eat fried chicken and play video games in the clubhouse during games. The group was also cited by a source as cutting back on their exercise regimens despite the urging of strength and conditioning coach Dave Page.

‘€¢ Tim Wakefield‘s quest for personal records (200 wins, Red Sox career leader in wins) was perceived as the pitcher’s priority, with the story citing a quote to FoxSports.com (“I think the fans deserve an opportunity to chase that record”) as raising some eyebrows within the organization.

‘€¢ Sources suggested there was a lack of leadership among the veterans, noting in particular the ineffectiveness of captain Jason Varitek. As was previously reported by WEEI.com, David Ortiz did attempt to rally the clubhouse with a players-only meeting in September, but also, as stated in Hohler’s piece, was singled out more for rants directed toward Francona regarding a scoring decision and the reluctance to use Alfredo Aceves in the starting rotation.

‘€¢ Jacoby Ellsbury‘s relationship with his teammates was “chilled” after the incidents of 2010. (Note: For what it’s worth, this was one example of perceived dysfunction that I wouldn’t necessarily totally agree with. Ellsbury clearly socialized and regularly interacted with more than just one player — Jed Lowrie —  as the report suggested).

‘€¢ “The gift of leadership also eluded Adrian Gonzalez.”

‘€¢ The report states that ownership was divided over general manager Theo Epstein‘s push to sign Carl Crawford.

So there you have it. Really good report … and now your thoughts:

Which recent Red Sox revelation got you the most upset?

  • Starting pitchers eating, drinking and playing video games during Sox games (59%, 1,063 Votes)
  • The team's lack of leadership (22%, 390 Votes)
  • The alleged distraction of Terry Francona's personal issues (10%, 173 Votes)
  • Tim Wakefield's focus on personal goals (7%, 118 Votes)
  • Ownership's apparent division over the signing of Carl Crawford (3%, 46 Votes)
  • Jacoby Ellsbury's alleged seclusion following last season's controversy (1%, 24 Votes)

59

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Read More: adrian gonzalez, carl crawford, john lackey, Jon Lester

Source: Theo Epstein ‘on cusp’ of leaving Red Sox for Cubs

10.11.11 at 7:27 pm ET
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A major league source confirmed a Boston Herald report, which cited two sources saying that Red Sox GM Theo Epstein “is on the cusp of leaving his job as general manager of the Red Sox to accept a position with the Chicago Cubs that is believed to include powers greater than he has in Boston, with an announcement expected to be made ‘within the next 24 to 48 hours.'”

The report suggests that there are two remaining issues, chiefly that the Sox ownership group is still trying to convince Epstein to stay, and that if he does depart, the Sox and Cubs would have to resolve the issue of compensation — whether the Sox would expect to receive a player (or players) or money in return for Epstein, the expectation is that the team would seek something in exchange for Epstein, who has one year remaining on the four-year contract he signed with the Sox after the 2008 season.

Epstein has spent the last 10 seasons with the Sox, the last nine (minus a three-month period after the 2005 season during which he left the post) as the team’s GM. He has two World Series rings and has reached the playoffs six times with the Sox. The idea of trying to bring a World Series to a championship-starved franchise in Chicago that hasn’t won a title since 1908 — on top of having already ended an 86-year championship drought in Boston — carries undeniable appeal for Epstein, according to sources familiar with his thinking. That said, the Sox have missed the postseason in each of the last two years under Epstein, a fact that was expected to complicate the GM’s decision, given his desire to leave the franchise in strong standing should he depart.

Even so, his situation was undeniably up in the air, something that has prevented the Sox, to this point, from bringing in managerial candidates. One source familiar with the situation on Monday night suggested that the delay in talking to candidates, based on Epstein’s unresolved status, might be “a couple days” or so, though at that point, it was not clear whether that meant the GM would be staying with the Sox or going to Chicago.

Sox principal owner John Henry, in an appearance on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Show last Friday, suggested that at some point, Epstein’s tenure in Boston will end.

‘€œEveryone has to understand a couple of things, and I think Tito alluded to this,’€ Henry said. ‘€œI think there’€™s a certain shelf life in these jobs. You can only be the general manager if you’€™re sane. You can only be the manager for a certain amount of time. It’€™s a tremendous pressure-cooker here, 162 games. It’€™s a long season, and the pressure here is 365 days.

‘€œSo, Theo is not going to be the general manager forever. Just as if [manager Terry Francona] had some back for the last two years, would he have gone past 10 years? I can’€™t imagine that he would have. I think that Theo will. He’€™s the guy now, he’€™s been the guy, we’€™ve had tremendous success. We fell apart at the end of the season. As [CEO/President] Larry Lucchino expressed, we’€™re upset about it. No fan could be more upset than I am about the result this year. But he’€™s done a tremendous job for us over the last eight years.’€

While the Herald report would indicate that relocation to the Windy City is likely, one source familiar with the matter offered somewhat conflicting information, saying that Epstein’s departure was not yet a done deal. In that regard, history may be instructive.

On two separate occasions, the Sox have seen dramatic reversals of the status of their negotiations for their GM position.

After the 2002 season, the Sox reached an agreement with A’s GM Billy Beane to come to Boston. However, after celebrating the decision to have him assume control of the Sox, Beane changed course the next day, deciding that he wanted to stay close to his family on the West Coast rather than relocating to take the reins of the Red Sox’ baseball operations. (Epstein’s current situation, in fact, very closely mirrors that of Beane in 2002, with a number of lessons to be gleaned for what is now confronting the Red Sox.)

And in 2005, after Epstein essentially had reached an agreement with the Sox to re-sign as GM after his first three seasons on the job, he reversed course and resigned over concern about the organization’s direction. Then, nearly three months later, Epstein returned to the Sox after ironing out his philosophical differences with the organization. Both of those cases would suggest that until there is a press conference announcing a final decision by Epstein, there is some danger in jumping to conclusions about his future.

Even so, it would appear that resolution of the Epstein situation is nearing, and the possibility that the GM could be leaving Boston is very real.

Tom Shaer on D&C: Theo Epstein is Cubs’ No. 1 target

10.11.11 at 10:43 am ET
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Chicago sports media personality Tom Shaer joined Dennis & Callahan Tuesday morning to give the dish on what he knows about the Theo Epstein situation and whether the Cubs are actually pursuing the Red Sox general manager. According to Shaer, the Cubs are not just interested in Epstein; he’s at the top of their list.

“Theo is their No. 1 target,” Shaer said. “They’€™re doing what they have to do to try to make that happen. But they’€™re fully prepared if that doesn’€™t happen.”

Epstein has been linked to the Cubs ever since the Red Sox’ September collapse. He was reportedly spotted in Chicago over the past weekend at a Starbucks. But both the Red Sox and the Cubs have refused to address whether Epstein is actually meeting with Chicago.

Nonetheless, Shaer said that one reason Epstein would fit in well with the Cubs is that he would work well with Chicago chairman Tom Ricketts. According to Shaer, Epstein would have less of a payroll to work with but more freedom under Ricketts than he had under Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino.

“I think they would be a fantastic match,” Shaer said. “I think [Epstein] would have less of an issue with Ricketts than he had with Larry Lucchino during the first three or four years. … I don’t think he’ll have any problem. I think he’ll find Ricketts to be a great boss to work for.”

Following are more highlights form the conversation. To hear the full interview, go the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On what the Cubs will offer Epstein for a contract: “I think he’ll give him five guaranteed years and I think the figure will be somewhere between $2 million and $4 million. I don’t believe the numbers you’re hearing are outrageous, not at all. … He realizes that good management costs money and he has a different approach here now. Again they’re going to pare back that payroll. They have $50 million coming off the payroll this year. They’re going to spend some of it but not all of it. He values management more than spending gobs of money. He’ll pay for management.”

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Read More: Theo Epstein, tom ricketts, Tom Shaer,

Red Sox won’t bring in managers until Theo Epstein situation is resolved

10.11.11 at 8:09 am ET
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The search for the next Red Sox manager will need to wait for the decision about the Red Sox general manager.

Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, after 10 years in the organization and nine in his current role as general manager, is currently at a crossroads. The Cubs have requested permission to talk to him about a position in their organization.

The idea of being the man who not only ended an 86-year championship drought in Boston but also an even longer fallow period (103 years and counting) with the Cubs has undeniable appeal. At the same time, it is not a foregone conclusion that Epstein would leave Boston at this time, with a year remaining on his contract and coming off of two seasons without reaching the postseason, most recently as a result of an unfathomable 7-20 performance in September that cost the Sox a playoff berth on the season’s final day.

According to a major league source, the Sox — who are currently performing due diligence on potential managerial candidates to replace Terry Francona, who left Boston after eight years — will not bring in candidates to interview for the position until after the status of Epstein is resolved. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: curt young, Dave Magadan, demarlo hale, Terry Francona

Stop the presses: Someone thought they saw Theo Epstein in Chicago

10.09.11 at 9:14 am ET
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While we await the next wave of Red Sox drama to come our way — presumably regarding the future of Theo Epstein — we are left to rely on a Chicago resident’s latest Starbucks visit to keep the train moving.

According to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, a man by the name of Noah Pinzur, a lifelong Cubs fan, insists he not only saw Epstein in Chicago Saturday, but talked to him while both were experiencing some Starbucks deliciousness on the corner of Racine and Wrightwood Avenues. Pinzur said that a man resembling Epstein, wearing a ‘Diablos’ baseball hat, got out of a Honda SUV to stand in a short line.

That led the following conversation, which Sullivan describes:

“Excuse me,” he said. “Are you Theo Epstein?”

“No,” replied Epstein, or the Epstein lookalike. “I get that a lot.”

After a brief pause, the real or fake Epstein added: “Who is Theo Epstein?”

Pinzur replied: “He’s the guy who may become general manager of the Cubs, or at least we hope.”

Pinzur went on to say that after conducting a Google search, he was not only convinced the man he talked to was Epstein, but the woman he was with was his wife. The Cubs fan also insisted that the SUV the pair got back into clearly was being driven in the direction of Wrigley Field.

So, there you have it …

A break in the Theo Epstein action: Dustin Pedroia vs. Derek Jeter after 715 games

10.07.11 at 12:01 pm ET
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So the argument came up on Planet Mikey Thursday night: Who is better, Dustin Pedroia or Derek Jeter?

Of course, the debate is silly to compare two players nine years apart in age (right, Mikey?), but it is somewhat interesting to look at how Jeter stacked up to Pedroia after 715 regular season games, which is how many the Red Sox‘ second baseman has played thus far for his career.

Well, here it is …

JETER
AB: 2,862
Runs: 553
Hits: 912
Doubles: 140
Triples: 34
Home runs: 72
RBI: 383
Walks: 299
Strikeouts: 525
Stolen Bases: 102
Caught Stealing: 35
Batting Average: .319
On-Base Percentage: .388
OPS: .855
Team Record When Playing: 433-282

PEDROIA
AB: 2,825
Runs: 479
Hits: 862
Doubles: 206
Triples: 8
Home Runs: 75
RBI: 344
Walks: 301
Strikeouts: 269
Stolen Bases: 82
Caught Stealing: 20
Batting Average: .305
On-Base Percentage: .373
OPS: .837
Team Record When Playing: 408-307

Who do you think got off to a better start after their first 715 games?

John Henry on D&C: ‘Theo is not going to be the general manager forever’

10.07.11 at 9:23 am ET
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Red Sox principal owner John Henry and president/CEO Larry Lucchino stopped by the WEEI studio for a sit-down interview on Friday’s Dennis & Callahan show to talk about the team’s September collapse, the departure of manager Terry Francona and the future of general manager Theo Epstein.

Henry and Lucchino, citing privacy concerns, refused to discuss whether they have been contacted by the Cubs to talk to Epstein about Chicago’s GM vacancy. But Henry did speak in more general terms about the topic of Epstein’s future.

“Everyone has to understand a couple of things, and I think Tito alluded to this,” Henry said. “I think there’s a certain shelf life in these jobs. You can only be the general manager if you’re sane. You can only be the manager for a certain amount of time. It’s a tremendous pressure-cooker here, 162 games. It’s a long season, and the pressure here is 365 days.

“So, Theo is not going to be the general manager forever. Just as if Tito had some back for the last two years, would he have gone past 10 years? I can’t imagine that he would have. I think that Theo will. He’s the guy now, he’s been the guy, we’ve had tremendous success. We fell apart at the end of the season. As Larry expressed, we’re upset about it. No fan could be more upset than I am about the result this year. But he’s done a tremendous job for us over the last eight years.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On if the owners assumed the team would make the playoffs before the September collapse:

Henry: “You never assume. In other businesses as well, you generally never assume that you’re going to accomplish your goals until you accomplish them.”

Lucchino: “I think that was a reasonable assumption at that point, given the length of the lead, given where we were in the season, given the statistical probabilities of what would happen. Certainly, none of us anticipated a collapse of biblical proportions that we endured.”

On the Sept. 6 team meeting following a win in Toronto:

Lucchino: “I was not aware of it at that time. I learned of it much later. But that’s not uncommon. Tito can have meetings in the clubhouse or things that happen in the clubhouse that we just don’t know about. We’re not included in them because it’s a clubhouse matter. I think the manager has the right to speak to his team and talk to them as he chooses. So, it’s not unusual that we wouldn’t have known about it.”

Henry: “We did know that Theo had had a couple of talks. We knew about that. But we heard about the Toronto talk, it may have been after the season.”

On what Francona was talking about when he said he couldn’t reach players:

Henry: “There was some crypticness when we met. But, you remember, we’ve had problems over the years with certain players. Like, Manny Ramirez was a big problem at one point for the manager. But he had his back. That’s the clubhouse culture. As a manager, you don’t throw your players under the bus. You do everything you can to make them productive and keep them that way. In this case, we didn’t get any information along those lines at that point.”

On the players quitting on Francona:

Henry: “Well, if that’s the case, definitely, it’s shocking.”

On reports of players drinking in the clubhouse during games:

Lucchino: “There are certain principles that are important within the clubhouse culture. And I think that’s one of them. It’s not something that we think should be tolerated. There’s a rule about it and it should be enforced. It was much after the fact that that point was brought to our attention. And we’re still trying to dig in to find out how pervasive it was, how extensive it was, and not try to superficially conclude it was a major factor in anything.”

On at which point during the team’s collapse it became clear how bad the situation was:

Henry: “We went, what, 7-20. This was a team that was going 20-7 and suddenly went 7-20. So it was throughout that process that we began to wonder, Why is this team breaking down? This is the second straight year that on August 1st we were looking great and looked like we were headed for a potential World Series. And the second straight year that the team broke down physically. I haven’t heard — I’ve been reading somewhat what the media have been saying, and I haven’t heard enough about that. That was the concern that started at some point during that decline. The biggest concern we had was, we’re just not doing well physically.”

On concerns that some pitchers were not in proper physical condition:

Henry: “Talking to a few people, one thing thus far that I’ve been able to establish is that the pitchers did their work. They did their cardiovascular. This organization is as good as any in baseball, I’m told, at doing their work. And what is their work, cardiovascular? Shoulder exercise is very important. Very important. We have very little in the way in this organization of shoulder problems, compared to other clubs. And they did their legwork. Some of the people, including the person you mentioned [Josh Beckett], they’re adamant. That’s what they do. And they don’t shirk those responsibilities.

“Were there nutritional issues, which was another question I asked? Yes, I believe there were nutritional issues. One of the things we’re learned in getting involved with English football is they have sport science. The science of fitness is very advanced among football teams around the world, at least the top football teams. So, we’ve learned a lot recently, and our people within the Red Sox have learned a lot. I think that there’s much more we could do.

“To me, the most important thing is that this is the third time in six years, and certainly the second straight year, in which a great team just couldn’t make it through 162 games physically. And it wasn’t just one or two players. We were really banged up. We were really struggling to put healthy players on the field. Every team has be able to make it through 162 games. Two years in a row, we couldn’t do it.”

On Francona’s comments referencing a lack of support from ownership:

Henry: “I don’t engage in encouragement. My way of encouraging the manager is generally, if we win, I’ll go down and say hello. My experience over the years is they really don’t want a lot of interaction from our level when things aren’t going well. But every once in a while I will send — over the last eight years I would send Terry an e-mail and basically say either, ‘You’re doing a great job,’ which I did this year, or, ‘We’re going to be fine.’ I’m probably the person inside, among Tom [Werner] and Larry and Theo and Tito, among all of us, I’m probably the person who most often says, ‘We’ll be fine.’ The problem is, we weren’t fine this year.”

Lucchino: “We did make an effort as things were proceeding in the wrong direction in September, certainly we made an effort before games, I would go down on the field and try — certainly not pep talks, but just to engage in some conversation to show that we were in this together, and to try to be as comfortable as I could around players and the manager and coaches.”

On if ownership questioned some of the manager’s decisions, such as batting Jed Lowrie cleanup:

Henry: “For better or for worse, I’ve always been a chain-of-command guy. We have guys that that’s their job. That’s Theo’s job. Now, I will say to Theo, ‘Why are we doing X?’ And he’ll either have a good answer, or he may go to Terry. But I didn’t go to Terry and second-guess him.

“During the offseason, I might say — during this offseason at one point we had ‘€¦ a substantive discussion, Larry, Theo and I, about the last couple of years David Ortiz wasn’t hitting lefties. That’s the timing in which I might say, ‘Look,’ and I did say, ‘We have to be careful with David and lefties.’ And his response was, ‘Well, let’s see how he starts the year.’ And what happened? He was better against lefties this year than he was against righties. So, that’s the time where I think you have these types of discussions. You don’t, when things are going badly, go down there and start saying, ‘Why is Lowrie hitting [cleanup]?’ ”

Lucchino: “If something like that happens and if we have a question about it, we let at least a day or two pass before we talk about it, to avoid the kind of day-to-day micromanaging of lineups that I think would be really troublesome to any manager.”

On why Francona’s option was not picked up before the end of the season:

Lucchino: “It was certainly something that we considered during the course of the year. I think you’ve got to go back a step and understand the contract arrangement that we had with Tito, which was that we gave him a longterm deal and we agreed that we would not talk about options until the end of the, I guess it was the fourth year — ’08, [’09], ’10 and ’11. We said that there would be a 10-day period, the first order of business after the season would be to talk about options. But we don’t want the distraction of that happening during the year. Because we had it in ’08. The first part of the ’08 season was all about contracts and his situation, dealing with agents and all that.

“So, I think he understood and we understood that it was not something that was going to happen during the course of the season. In fact, to his credit, he never came to us early and said, ‘What do you think about my option?’ His agent never called us and there were never any discussions. We always anticipated that that discussion would take place, as understood, the first 10 days [after the season], it would be the first order of business in the offseason.”

On if Francona’s departure was a mutual decision:

Henry: “Well, we really didn’t get a chance to make it mutual. Thinking about it, would we have ended up at the same place that he ended up? Based on the things that we heard and the things that we saw, there’s a strong likelihood that we would have. So, you could say it was mutual. But the actual way it took place, in my mind wasn’t really mutual, the way it took place.”

Lucchino: “We had a conversation, that first day after the season when we sat for an hour and a half, two hours, talking about the season. We went through challenge after challenge, and various reasons for the breakdown. We talked to Tito about whether he was he ready for this challenge, given all the challenges that he had enumerated. He made it clear to us that he wasn’t. What were his words? He said something like, ‘You need a new voice down there. I’m not your man for next year. I think my time here is up.’ So, in some ways, he took that position. And that is a very determinative factor, when your manager feels spent or feels like there needs to be a change.

“He did a fantastic job for us over the years. Remember, he was contemplating his ninth year in this pressure-cooker that is Boston. Different teams require different skill sets or different talents. And I think he made a self-assessment with which we concurred. And to that extent, it was mutual, and the phrase mutual does fit. It was still a sad occasion. There was no joy that day. We had a myriad of problems identified for us and a manager who suggested in pretty clear teams that we should [go another way].”

On if Francona would still be managing the Red Sox if the team had made the playoffs:

Lucchino: “I’m not sure. I think the same process would unfold. I think we’d sit down as planned, the first 10 days, the first order of business after the season, sit down and talk and find out. It takes two to tango. We’re talking about the ninth year. Tito is like the second-longest duration for a manager in Red Sox history, 110 years. You have to find out if the manager is still ready for the challenges.”

On if Theo Epstein will be allowed to meet with the Cubs:

Lucchino: “Our position on that is we don’t comment on requests. We’ve gotten requests every year, sometimes one or two or three a year from people. We don’t talk about them publicly. A few years ago we got a request from another team about Theo Epstein; you heard nothing about that because we didn’t discuss it publicly. I think there’s good reason for that. There are privacy considerations here. I don’t think people would want their career, development or their job decisions to be debated publicly or for people know what they’re 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 is to not to discuss whether there’s been a request made.”

Henry: “If it gets out and he doesn’t go ‘€¦ then somebody looks bad. Either the team looks bad that asks him and he said no, or if he goes and interviews for the job and doesn’t get it.”

On if Henry and Lucchino would allow any team to talk to Theo:

Henry: “There is a certain protocol in this game and it is if someone asks permission for a job that is not lateral, then you give them permission. That’s just the way it works.”

Lucchino: “We don’t mean to sound evasive on this, but this is the one subject when I don’t 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 to be factored into it, and that’s where we are with respect to this thing.”

On if they can hire new manager before solidifying who the GM will be for next year:

Lucchino: “We’re actively engaged in our search for a new manager. We’re not sitting around, twiddling our thumbs, there’s a lot to be done. Theo is actively engaged day to day in that search, we just had a meeting with him the other day going through a list of candidate possibilities. Ben Cherington is actively involved in that process. Certainly John, Tom and I are involved in it as well. That process is moving ahead and it’s not going to happen overnight, there will be some time that will pass. There’s a lot of work to be done, and Theo and Ben are knee deep in doing it.”

Henry: “I don’t think people understand the governance of the Red Sox. When we talk about a manager, general managers, when we talk about important decisions that are made here, this isn’t ‘John’ or isn’t ‘Larry.’ We really over the last 10 years have consistently done things collectively. This is a collective process. We are intimately involved in the manager search. It’s not just Theo that’s involved. ‘€¦ We make collective decisions, we build consensus.”

One who gets the blame for poor free agent signings:

Lucchino: “We share the success and the share the blame. ‘€¦ At the time, when we made the decision [to sign Carl Crawford], we all concurred in the decision.”

Henry: “I thinks that’s one of the problems in baseball. It’s hard to predict things, it’s hard to predict performance going forward. When I look back over the last 10 years, the last eight years with Tito being here, the last nine years with Theo being here, and I look at what we’ve accomplished. Every year, including this year, we’ve felt we were headed for a World Series. The biggest thing to us every year is playing in October.”

Lucchino: “This was a disappointing, tortuous end to the season. We watch every game, we’re in this because we’re competitive people. Go back to December 21, 2001, our very first press conference. The first thing we said is, ‘We have an obligation to field a team that’s worthy of the fans’ support.’ It hurts not to be playing right now.”

On why they hired Terry Francona over Joe Maddon eight years ago:

Lucchino: “They were both good. Two different flavors of ice cream. Both are good, but I think at the time, the sense was that Francona’s history was clearer, and maybe the kind of easy rider that we understood him to be was appropriate for that team.”

On what they look for in a manager:

Henry: “We have a certain organizational philosophy. We want somebody that is highly intelligent, someone who can communicate with the players and be able to get the best out of the players. So, I think we lean in general toward player managers, but the most important thing, to me … if I had to choose one aspect is that he really fits in to our organizational philosophy.”

On members of the Red Sox appearing in country musician Kevin Fowler’s “I Like Beer” music video:

Henry: “Wow. It’s surprising given everything I’ve heard about drinking recently. It’s very surprising.”

Lucchino: “I haven’t seen it, but I’ve heard about it.”

On if the Carmine computer system is flawed because it doesn’t determine how a player is wired:

Henry: “When you look the last two years, to me, we broke down physically. That’s not a Carmine [issue]. That’s something that we’re looking at this point. Why did this team break down physically? Why do we have a problem after 120 games? That, to me, is a bigger issue than is there something wrong with Carmine. Again, on September 1st, this team looked pretty damn good. …

“I think baseball is changing, there’s something going on, we can talk about what the reasons for it are, but if we look at the manifestations at what is actually going on, young players are having a much greater impact on the game than older players. ‘€¦ The game is changing. I think there are clear statistical studies that show that the signing of free agents at a certain age, after they’ve already peaked in their career and they’re starting to decline, is counterproductive. This isn’t just about Carmine, this is about how dynamic baseball is, all sports is. And we’re on it.”

On if they are reluctant to go after big-name free agents after free agents from the past season did not work out well:

Lucchino: “We are not going to turn off any avenue to improve this team, particularly this year. We are not going to say, ‘No, we’re not going to dive into the free agent market’ because the recent record has not been as successful as we might like. We are going to explore free agency, we are going to explore trades, we are going to explore waiver wires, minor league free agents, international signings. We are going to look at the whole panoply of possibilities because the challenges are very real for this next year.”

On if proven Red Sox players such as David Ortiz and Jonathan Papelbon have leverage after disappointing performances by recent free agent signees:

Lucchino: “Those players have leverage because of their performance. Their performance has been substantial here and with that comes a bit of leverage, to be sure. But does that mean that we cannot find players elsewhere that can’t fit in? We think we can. That doesn’t mean we’re always right, but we think we have a process that Theo and our baseball operations department takes into consideration makeup and ability to deal with this city. Carl Crawford has had one kind of year, this is one year of a longer-term commitment. I think it’s too early to say this is a guy who cannot play in Boston. We will see about that.”

Read More: John Henry, Larry Lucchino, Terry Francona, Theo Epstein
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