One of the less obvious long term benefits of being a fan of the New England Patriots is that it tends to be very easy to assign credit or blame for any and all personnel and related contract decisions. “Bill did it” is usual answer. That’s not to say that he operates in a total vacuum without benefit of council. For years, he counted on the advice of Scott Pioli, as well as Charlie Weis, and Romeo Crennel, especially in matters regarding the draft. Just as people used to point out that his mentor, Bill Parcels, never won again after losing him and Tom Coughlin from his staff, people were starting to say the say the same thing about Belichick after he lost most of his staff following his SB XXXIX victory. That talk has been forgotten in the aftermath of the Pats’ recent victory over the Seahawks, but it has got me to wondering if it doesn’t apply, at least to some degree, to the personnel issues the Red Sox have been experiencing over the past few years.
FROM DAN TO THEO TO BEN: (With an assist from Larry)
At the risk of revisiting old territory, as well as to demonstrate how the players acquired by one regime can run into the ones of succeeding regimes, and effect their success, let’s go back and take a quick look at the key personnel that former GM (’94- ’02) Dan Duquette brought to the Sox through draft, trade, or free agency; it is impressive. Duquette’s haul included such key people as Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Nomar, Tim Wakefield, Johnny Damon, Jason Varitek, Derek Lowe, Kevin Youkilis, and Jon Lester.
When Theo Epstein arrived on the scene, he added a few people of his own, including David Ortiz and Curt Schilling, which not only gives you most of the 2004 World Series Champs, but also the foundation for the 2007 winners as well. What makes this pertinent to my overall point is that when Theo was engaged in a power struggle with owners John Henry and Larry Lucchino in late Fall 2005, he resigned and left Fenway Park in a gorilla suit to avoid the reporters. (It was after all, around Halloween, when this happened.) Legend has it that it was Ben Cherington, along with Lucchino, as well as 71 year old special assistant Bill Lajoie, who traded the then 22-year old Hanley Ramirez and pitcher Anibal Sanchez to the Marlins for pitcher Josh Beckett as well as third basemen Mike Lowell. Beckett and Lowell were key players in the Red Sox 2007 World Series sweep, with Lowell being named MVP. After Epstein left in 2011 and the unsuccessful Bobby Valentine experience of 2012 (as per order of ownership), Cherington, apparently with Larry Lucchino’s help, put together that rather improbable 2013 squad that overcame much to win the World Series.
BEN AND BEYOND:
So what’s the point of all this? Has Ben lost his touch? Was Theo more of a key then I gave him credit? Is Ben’s job in jeopardy? The answers to all of these questions is probably “No.” The real question that really needs to be asked is “Where have you gone Larry Lucchino?” It seems to be the educated opinion of those in the know that Lucchino is too distracted by his efforts to help bring the Olympics to Boston, as well as building a minor league stadium in Providence, to be the help to Cherington that he apparently needs. Which leads me to the conclusion that the most important signing for the Red Sox this off season might well be that of an older gentleman to help Ben get back on track.
Now excuse me while I pull my resume together…..
- The “Roger That” Edition - February 28, 2017
- The “Nice Ring To It” Edition - February 3, 2017
- The “Shaken, Not Stirred” Edition - January 17, 2017
- The “Malcolms in the Middle” Edition - January 11, 2017
- A “Catching Up, Following Up, and Weighing In” Edition - December 31, 2016
- The “Cannon and Flowers” Edition - December 21, 2016
- The “Farm, for Sale” Edition - December 10, 2016
- The “Tebucky Jones Tribute” Edition - November 13, 2016
- The “World, Serious” Edition - November 1, 2016
- The “Easy Come, Easy Go” Edition - October 18, 2016