Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Monday, August 20, 2012

MLB: Red Sox fire pitching coach Bob McClure

Well, problem solved.

BOSTON—The Red Sox are on to their third pitching coach in two seasons.

In the midst of a subpar year that’s included discord within the coaching staff, Bob McClure was relieved of his duties Monday in favor of Randy Niemann, previously the team’s assistant pitching coach.

Niemann, 56, is one of the few coaches whom manager Bobby Valentine is believed to have handpicked. Niemann was in the Mets’ organization and on the Major League coaching staff when Valentine was the Mets’ manager from 1996 to 2002.

The decision came on an off-day, with the Red Sox four games below .500 at 59-63 and carrying the eighth-worst ERA in baseball (4.30).

“This was a performance-based decision,” general manager Ben Cherington said on a conference call. “As I said yesterday and as I think Bobby has said, I think there’s been a real good effort on the part of the staff to work together and iron out any communication issues that may have existed previously. We simply felt like we needed to make a change to put our pitchers in the best position to do what they needed to do the next six weeks.

Effervesoteric Posted: August 20, 2012 at 08:46 PM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: boston, red sox

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:51 AM (#4213407)
I asked this in ST, does Niemann have qualifications or just a long-sanding relation w/ BV?
   2. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 21, 2012 at 02:03 AM (#4213412)
So, there was another meeting?
   3. valuearbitrageur Posted: August 21, 2012 at 04:00 AM (#4213432)
They finally did .. what????
   4. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 21, 2012 at 06:44 AM (#4213447)
More clowntown, as reported by Abraham at the Globe:
Until recent weeks, after all sides agreed to try harder to make it work, Valentine’s conversations with McClure were dominated by one- or two-word sentences. Bench coach Tim Bogar and bullpen coach Gary Tuck spoke to the manager even less at times.

Valentine, in the first year of a two-year contract, had one group of coaches he bonded with (those he had a hand in hiring) and another he didn’t (those he inherited). “After a while, I just figured that was the way it was going to be,” Valentine said. “If I needed information, I found a way to get it.”

The situation grew so tense in late June that Bogar and McClure, two of the coaches Valentine inherited, considered asking for reassignment within the organization, according to two major league sources.

Cherington stepped in shortly after, urging Valentine and the coaches to put aside their differences.
And the kicker:
First baseman Adrian Gonzalez has attempted to serve as a bridge between the factions, taking concerns the coaches had about Valentine’s strategy back to the manager.
Buncha ######' children. Why are Tuck and Bogar still there? I'm not anything close to a Bobby V fan, but as reported by Abraham, this a wildly fireable set of offenses. Of course, this also raises the question of why, precisely, Red Sox coaches hated the manager so much they refused to do their jobs. That part probably reflects rather poorly on Bobby V as well.

So the solution seems pretty simple - fire them all.
   5. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 07:31 AM (#4213461)
I guess I can see keeping batting and pitching coaches, but why would a new manager want to work with a holdover bench coach. Shouldn't that be his second in command?
   6. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: August 21, 2012 at 08:01 AM (#4213472)
They should consider hiring a military-type leader. Like Colonel Sanders, or General Tso.
   7. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: August 21, 2012 at 08:08 AM (#4213476)
I'm just glad the A's got Curt Young back from their clutches.
   8. villageidiom Posted: August 21, 2012 at 08:58 AM (#4213501)
Of course, this also raises the question of why, precisely, Red Sox coaches hated the manager so much they refused to do their jobs. That part probably reflects rather poorly on Bobby V as well.
The hatred could be less about Valentine, and more about the people who let Francona go.
   9. villageidiom Posted: August 21, 2012 at 08:59 AM (#4213502)
I asked this in ST, does Niemann have qualifications or just a long-sanding relation w/ BV?
He wrote the score for The Natural.
   10. Mirabelli Dictu (Chris McClinch) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:01 AM (#4213504)
They should consider hiring a military-type leader. Like Colonel Sanders, or General Tso.


They blew that opportunity last year, when they named Colonel Sanders part of the problem.
   11. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:19 AM (#4213517)
That damn Mc Clure. Now Beckett and Lester will turn it around and the Sox will win the Series again, without his old 70s Milwaukee relief stink all over the team.

Niemann!!!!!!
   12. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:27 AM (#4213523)
I asked this in ST, does Niemann have qualifications or just a long-sanding relation w/ BV?
LMGTFY. Apparently Niemann was a roving instructor in the Mets system before taking over the bullpen coach with the major league team under Bobby V. Before coming to the Sox, he'd been working with the Mets in some capacity since the late 80s.
   13. villageidiom Posted: August 21, 2012 at 09:39 AM (#4213539)
I've enhanced MCoA's link.
   14. asinwreck Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4213657)
Gordon Edes asks former Bobby Valentine pitching coach Dave Wallace about Valentine:
"Bobby is a borderline genius," Wallace said. "A brilliant guy. But his people skills? It's just a shame."
   15. GregD Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4213670)
Why hire an experienced manager and not let him name his coaches? I don't get it. Maybe if it's Art Fowler and you think the coach is leading the manager into drunken brawls (not that Billy needed help!) But if you think a manager can't be trusted to select his coaches, how can you think he's capable of managing the team?
   16. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4213672)
Why hire an experienced manager and not let him name his coaches? I don't get it.
No one does!
   17. Swedish Chef Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4213679)
But if you think a manager can't be trusted to select his coaches, how can you think he's capable of managing the team?

well, if you have coaching talent that you believe in and want to keep around, what is your option here? Presumably Valentine agreed to work with these guys and didn't issue any ultimatum to the contrary.
   18. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: August 21, 2012 at 11:56 AM (#4213681)
I think ownership thought that the 2011 team needed tweaks, not an explosion. So they preserved a lot of continuity going into 2012. Obviously, they chose the wrong continuity.
   19. SoSH U at work Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4213688)
Presumably Valentine agreed to work with these guys and didn't issue any ultimatum to the contrary.


Exactly. You could just as easily ask why an experienced manager would take a job if he couldn't hire his own coaches. The answer to both questions is the same, the parties involved thought it would work. That it hasn't is a failure on all of them.

Mikael's simple solution remains the obvious one - fire them all. Of course, my preventive suggestion - for god's sake don't hire Bobby Valentine - would have been better still.

   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4213689)
I get the Sox retaining Magadan (everyone seems to love him). But the Sox fired their pitching coach and hired a new one (McClure) before hiring Bobby, which is just bizarre. I don't get why they didn't let Valentine choose his bench coach, since that's the person the manager needs to interact with most. When the Sox hired Tito, they got him a new bench coach he was comfortable with.

It's not that every coach should have been replaced, it's just that the way they went about it had no coherent internal logic. (It had the incoherent logic of many competing interests working together poorly, which has generally been the logic of the Red Sox the last few years.)

EDIT: And to hop on SoSH's point, while I don't think they necessarily had to clean house after 2011, I think they absolutely must do so after this season. The unprofessionalism is wholly unacceptable. It's not hard to see why the players might be a mess if the coaches are behaving like a buncha ######' children.
   21. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4213696)
I'll stop, but I really can't overstate the level of contempt I'm currently feeling for the Red Sox coaches.

You won't talk to each other? Seriously? You're middle-aged professionals in a highly competitive field, the essential job you fulfill is to work together to prepare a ballclub to play well on the field, but instead you're in such a collective snit, because someone said something mean, that the players have to ferry messages between you like kids with divorcing parents? You actively and spitefully refuse to even say hi to each other in the clubhouse? The general manager has to come down to the clubhouse and cajole you to do your ####### jobs like ####### adults? This is clownier than the clowniest clownshow I had imagined. All of these guys should be fired so hard they can't get jobs in the Italian league.
   22. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4213697)
But the Sox fired their pitching coach and hired a new one (McClure) before hiring Bobby, which is just bizarre.


I didn't know this. It would be like appointing a new Secretary of State in mid-2008 to a five-year term.
   23. What Zupcic? Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4213705)
Buncha ######' children. Why are Tuck and Bogar still there?


I found it especially interesting that Valentine was the manager that got Tim Bogar cut/traded by the Mets in 1997. For a team that prides itself in its consideration of all possibilities (eg the near-creepy background checking they did on Carl Crawford), it's REALLY odd that the Sox management thought forcing a manager with terrible people skills to work with a coach that might be predisposed to dislike him was a good idea.
   24. Nasty Nate Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4213708)
I'm getting the queasy feeling that the trading of Youkilis and Shoppach and the firing of McLure means that 2013 will be Valentine 2: Electric Booga-lose
   25. What Zupcic? Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4213712)
Not that I'm excusing the behavior of Bobby V or the coaches... The management team just seems to have done the best possible job of setting the team up for failure.
   26. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4213716)
Could you imagine Selig's consternation?

"First, I ignored all of the rules to get my friend the steel-driving man ownership in a big-market team. Then I appointed a Red Sox co-owner to look into non-Boston steroid abuse so he wouldn't taint the Boston Championship. After the unimaginable horror of the 2011 team missing the playoffs, I changed the rules of the baseball playoff system so they could finish in third place and make the playoffs. And still they can't do it!"
   27. Nasty Nate Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4213723)
That is an out-of-the-blue troll attempt completely unrelated to the subject. What gives, TVerik, that's not normal for you.
   28. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4213738)
I thought about it early this morning and wanted to get it in. I initially wanted to bring up Babe the Blue Ox, but that's not John Henry at all.

*EDIT*

I quibble with "out-of-the-blue", but admit that it wasn't the most organic conversational fit.
   29. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4213740)
When I think of successful pitching development, i always think Mets. So, I take it this is Bobby's boy and nothing else.

Sorry, Mikael, that I should have said I read the Wiki page and then had that question. My bad; & thanks for linking.
   30. Nasty Nate Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4213749)
No biggie, but I don't see the connection between Selig, shady dealings at the time of the ownership change, steroids, or the wildcard with the firing of the Sox pitching coach.
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4213757)
well, if you have coaching talent that you believe in and want to keep around, what is your option here?

Re-assign them within the organization. AAA, roving instructors, etc.
   32. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4213758)
I'm serious about this part - baseball made it easier for the Sox to make the playoffs this year. Now I don't think that was the (sole) intent. And, to some extent, it makes the playoff-making less valuable than before. But that the Sox aren't going to make the postseason this year will probably cost jobs, and I would expect that Selig and his broadcast partners are unhappy that a team with the national profile of the Rays will likely be playing in October while the greater Boston area focuses on the Patriots.
   33. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4213767)
I'm serious about this part - baseball made it easier for the Sox to make the playoffs this year.
No, you've got this one directly wrong. The new playoff system is very bad for the Red Sox. They're always going to be (slight to moderate) underdogs against the Yankees, but have an advantage over the rest of the league for the Wild Card. Making winning the Wild Card less valuable hurts the Sox more than any other team in baseball.

From 2003-2011, the Red Sox won the Wild Card five times and finished in the wild card runner-up spot twice. Going to seven one-game playoffs would have been a significantly worse outcome than what occured.
   34. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: August 21, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4213774)
I don't think that what drives Selig is to beg, borrow, and steal as many championships as possible for the Boston Nine. I think it's his interest to keep the lid on a good financial deal for ownership. Would a one-game play-in featuring the Sox rate better (in other words, line future ownership's pockets more) than one featuring the A's? I think it's hard not to believe that.
   35. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4213780)
MLB made it easier for all teams to make the playoffs. Next year, MLB will make it harder for all teams to make the playoffs (5 out of 15 instead of 5 out of 14).

If you want to have a discussion about the impact to the bottom line of Fox and Friends you'll get no argument from me about the impact of the Sox (and Phillies) missing the playoffs. There is a very real chance that the playoffs will be without several big markets represented and the idea that year one of the Wild Card Playoff game would be Pittsburgh at Atlanta and Baltimore at Oakland is pretty freakin' funny.

Edited for clarity.
   36. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4213787)
They're always going to be (slight to moderate) underdogs against the Yankees

Actually, they choose to be.

The Yankees are not spending even close to the limits of their resources. At ~$200M payroll, the Sox could match them if they chose. They just rather stay in Selig's good graces and make an extra $25M a year.
   37. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4213793)
Would a one-game play-in featuring the Sox rate better (in other words, line future ownership's pockets more) than one featuring the A's? I think it's hard not to believe that.


I don't think anyone disputes that the business of baseball in the short term is probably better off if the Red Sox are successful rather than Oakland. However, in the long haul the best thing that can happen is widespread success. I think it's probably good to have the Yankees out there as an evil empire and there needs to be a foil even if that rotates (Sox 2003-2009, Rangers 2010-???, Angels coming...).

In some respect perhaps it's for the best for MLB if the Sox are a bit less successful. Even in their down years the Sox have historically done well in attendance and ratings while teams like Oakland or Cleveland probably benefit more than the Sox from having a great season. TV ratings is a different story and MLB probably prefers the tv ratings and money that comes with it.
   38. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4213794)
(A) Actually, they choose to be.

(B) The Yankees are not spending even close to the limits of their resources.
(A) and (B) are talking about two entirely different things. You can't claim on the one hand that the Red Sox could choose to spend more, and on the other hand hold fixed the Yankees' payroll at a relatively low level compared to their revenues.

If we're talking about the actual choices made by ownership, then the Red Sox are underdogs to the Yankees. If we're talking about the possible choices open to ownership, based on revenue and revenue-capacity, then the Red Sox are underdogs to the Yankees.

If the Red Sox did choose to spend more heavily, I am confident the Yankees would respond in kind. Because they have way more revenue and can do that.
   39. SoSH U at work Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4213797)
Actually, they choose to be.

The Yankees are not spending even close to the limits of their resources. At ~$200M payroll, the Sox could match them if they chose. They just rather stay in Selig's good graces and make an extra $25M a year.


If the Red Sox decided to spend up to the limit of their resources, as you suggest, the Yankees would still be able to spend a little bit more. So yes, at whatever level the Sox choose to spend, they will always be slight to moderate underdogs against the Yanks (and massive overdogs against most of the rest of the league). I've never understood this fixation with the Red Sox's self-imposed cap when pretty much every team in the league could spend more, if they really wanted to.

Edit: Coke to Mikael, not surprisingly.

   40. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4213798)
The Yankees are not spending even close to the limits of their resources. At ~$200M payroll, the Sox could match them if they chose.


Would the Yankees continue to stay at $200 million if the Sox were matching them? I would argue that at the very least the Yankees make more than the Sox so they should always be the slight favorite though at some point you probably run into diminishing returns.

Krusty's Kola-like beverage to MC and SoSH
   41. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 21, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4213799)
(and massive overdogs against most of the rest of the league)
Yes, this. This is why I'm not complaining about any of the above. Being underdogs only to the Yankees is a pretty great thing to be. But I do care about getting things right, and this is obviously the situation we're in.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Dingbat_Charlie
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogMets call up Dilson Herrera, have "talked about" d'Arnaud to LF
(11 - 6:07am, Aug 29)
Last: Lassus

NewsblogOT: Politics, August 2014: DNC criticizes Christie’s economic record with baseball video
(6030 - 5:32am, Aug 29)
Last: BrianBrianson

NewsblogAfter awkward attempt at game-saving catch, Yankees' Ichiro Suzuki gets testy with reporters
(6 - 4:42am, Aug 29)
Last: Lars6788

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 8-28-2014
(109 - 4:41am, Aug 29)
Last: Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread August, 2014
(771 - 4:13am, Aug 29)
Last: The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott)

NewsblogSimmons' run-saving stop
(35 - 4:11am, Aug 29)
Last: The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott)

NewsblogCalcaterra | John Rocker to join the cast of “Survivor”
(2 - 3:56am, Aug 29)
Last: zonk

NewsblogOT:  2014 College Football pre-season thread
(45 - 3:40am, Aug 29)
Last: zonk

NewsblogPosnanski: Alex Gordon and the M-V-P chants
(26 - 2:29am, Aug 29)
Last: Baldrick

NewsblogRingolsby: Pete Incaviglia paying dues as independent league manager
(12 - 1:20am, Aug 29)
Last: zonk

NewsblogBusiness Week: Houston Astros' Jeff Luhnow Lets Data Reign
(3 - 1:13am, Aug 29)
Last: Weratych

NewsblogJonny Venters Tears UCL, Facing Third Tommy John Surgery
(2 - 12:52am, Aug 29)
Last: CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck

NewsblogDavid Justice Says Put Barry Bonds in Baseball Hall of Fame Despite Steroid Use Late In Career
(145 - 12:42am, Aug 29)
Last: Greg K

NewsblogJack White, Eddie Vedder, and Paul Simon take in a Seattle Mariners game
(148 - 12:14am, Aug 29)
Last: Greg K

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - August 2014
(364 - 11:48pm, Aug 28)
Last: RollingWave

Page rendered in 0.4893 seconds
52 querie(s) executed