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   1. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 24, 2011 at 11:12 AM (#3836176)
Of equal importance is the fact that I cannot think of too many players that have reached the bigs as hot prospects and busted. Craig Hansen is probably the only one. 
I hadn't considered this issue until Jose sent me this piece. I think he's right that this is a significant part of Tito's record - not just that he's integrated young players into the roster, but with really only one exception he hasn't failed to integrate young players into the roster.

And now, after last night, I'm wondering if the criticism is going to turn around to the overuse of Bard. He really has been pitching more than is usual for a set-up man. It's unknowable for us whether that's too much pitching, to what degree he's running a risk of injury or ineffectiveness, but it's an atypically heavy workload. The problem is, of course, that Matt Albers is the next best reliever and the last time Matt Albers tried to pitch a high-lev 8th, he spit the bit and everyone wanted Bard in there. I don't really know how best to manage that balance, unless the Sox can find another good reliever somewhere, soon.
   2. Mattbert Posted: May 24, 2011 at 12:34 PM (#3836199)
Both of Jenks and Wheeler suffering from The Sucks has increased the burden on Bard. I figured at least one of those guys would be decent enough to be trusted with a smallish lead late in the game, but apparently not. I have some hope for Jenks, but Wheeler looked an awful lot like a guy trying to pitch with a fork sticking out of his back.

Albers has been a very pleasant surprise, that meltdown the other day notwithstanding. Morales and Hill have done well enough so far too. If the Sox can't get Jenks straightened out, though, they probably do need to make a move for another bullpen arm. Maybe the Padres would take a prospect for Mike Adams.
   3. Toby Posted: May 24, 2011 at 01:49 PM (#3836250)
Mostly just a lurker here these days, but let me speak up in praise of Francona, too. I think Jose sums it up pretty well. Far and away Francona's biggest asset is his understated, steady personality. The man is a rock. Apart from the occasional tactical run-in with an umpire, he never has run-ins with anyone. He stands by every player in every situation, but not with a reflex, circle-the-wagons mentality (the Jimy Williams approach) but in an honest, respectful way. When there are behavior issues or performance issues or whatever, he acknowledges them but deflects and defuses them.

Some people have issues with his tactics. What I value in Francona, even when I disagree with a tactic, is he always seems to have a legitimate rational explanation for doing it. He doesn't do anything on a hunch. I get the sense that he really tries to make decisions that are as optimal as possible, given competing short-term and long-term needs. Usually when he gives an explanation for a puzzling decision it turns out to be a thoughtful explanation giving weight to a factor I hadn't considered.
   4. Darren Posted: May 24, 2011 at 01:54 PM (#3836255)
The "he hasn't ruined many of their star prospects" strikes me as a tepid defense of a manager. In this case, I'd say we need to look at more than just Hansen. Meredith was not handled well, Youkilis sat behind Millar longer than he should have, David Murphy never got a shot, Breslow never got much of a chance, and Masterson was jerked around a bit between starting and relieving, never quite putting it together. And although they weren't prospects coming up through the system, Dice and Wily Mo Pena were young, promising players who busted. Arguably, Carlos Pena, though older, should have gotten more of a shot.

Are all of these Tito's fault? Of course not. Prospects bust. I just think that if we're doing the accounting on how young players do under Tito, we should consider all of these guys too.

Overall, this still seems like a rather lukewarm defense of Tito, especially because it starts by admitting that sentimentality plays a role in it.
   5. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 24, 2011 at 02:29 PM (#3836286)
Youkilis sat behind Millar longer than he should have


I think it is easy to say that but given Youkilis' success I think you can argue that Youkilis was given the appropriate amount of time to develop. Maybe if he had thrust him into the lineup early in 2005 every day Youk would have been overwhelmed and failed to develop the way he has? We will never know of course but given the results I think Youkilis is a point in Tito's favor.

RE: Murphy - I don't see who he could have played ahead of. Manny/Crisp/Trot in 2006 and Manny/Crisp/Drew in 2007.

RE: Masterson - You say "jerked around" I say "deployed effectively." The Sox needed a swingman in 2008/2009 and he filled that role pretty well and got ample chances to show his stuff. He has gone on to become a solid MLB starter. I fail to see that as a knock on Tito.

RE: Wily Mo Pena - He busted. I think you can argue that the Sox would have been better served letting Wily Mo take over in right for 2007 and not signing J.D. Drew but once Drew was signed, Wily Mo was stuck. I have a personal hatred of high K guys playing irregularly because I think their swings get out of whack but I don't know what Tito could have done differently.

RE: Meredith/Breslow - Sorry, I can't get worked up at the failure to have huge successes with a ROOGY and a LOOGY. I think Meredith in particular is more a failing of Theo (or wheover made the call) to recognize his lack of readiness in 2005.

RE: Daisuke - Yeah, Tito probably deserves some blame here but I think there is enough blame to go around on Daisuke.

RE: Carlos Pena - I wish he had gotten more of a chance too.

I'm not saying Francona's perfect but I think he does a nice job of integrating guys. I don't think anyone (maybe Carlos Pena) was unfairly left without an opportunity to prove himself.
   6. Pingu Posted: May 24, 2011 at 02:54 PM (#3836316)
RE: Masterson - anyone else think he looks like he's really filled out in a year? He looks a lot bigger than he did in Boston....
   7. Darren Posted: May 24, 2011 at 03:04 PM (#3836323)
It's the beard.
   8. Joel W Posted: May 24, 2011 at 03:10 PM (#3836330)
Just to get some data out there, the Red Sox have beaten their pythag record by 11 wins over Francona's tenure with them, including this year. So that's a point in his favor. I think he sometimes falls into the traps of other major league managers, but I'd say on the whole, he's pretty good at getting his best relievers in when they're needed most. Not perfect, and obviously some of that is that we don't know all of the rest issues that are going on, but I've been happy with Francona on the game management stuff more than I think my friends who are fans of other teams.

I think the way he handled the Papelbon replacing Foulke transition in 2005 was a huge point in his favor, and I think he's handled those situations pretty damn well throughout his career.

If I'm counting right, the Red Sox are 23-15 in the playoffs under Francona's management. SSS and all, but still a point in his favor. I don't remember many big blunder moments from Francona in the playoffs, and he always seemed to manage the pen pretty aggressively in the playoffs. It also speaks, I think, to the way he managed the gas pedal in the regular season. It was often frustrating for us as fans who wanted to the GD division, but they have been in a good position heading into the playoffs with Francona as manager.
   9. Pingu Posted: May 24, 2011 at 03:14 PM (#3836337)
To anyone who doesnt like Francona as a manager, I give you:

Grady Little, Jimy Williams, Butch Hobson, Joe Morgan, Kevin Kennedy.

What short memories we have.
   10. Darren Posted: May 24, 2011 at 03:23 PM (#3836344)
RE: Meredith/Breslow - Sorry, I can't get worked up at the failure to have huge successes with a ROOGY and a LOOGY. I think Meredith in particular is more a failing of Theo (or wheover made the call) to recognize his lack of readiness in 2005.


I can't get worked up about any of this--it's just baseball. But if we're talking about how young players do, these guys count. Meredith, in particular, was handled pretty badly.

RE: Murphy - I don't see who he could have played ahead of. Manny/Crisp/Trot in 2006 and Manny/Crisp/Drew in 2007.


In 2006, he could have gotten ABs that went to Kapler, Stern, Mohr, and Harris. In 2007, he could have gotten ABs that went to Kielty, Moss, Hinske, etc. Or they could have put him in RF and used the Drew money elsewhere. Again, it's tough to say how much of this is Francona, but if we're looking at how promising young players performed during his tenure and how much of a chance they got, Murphy has to be considered.

RE: Masterson - You say "jerked around" I say "deployed effectively." The Sox needed a swingman in 2008/2009 and he filled that role pretty well and got ample chances to show his stuff. He has gone on to become a solid MLB starter. I fail to see that as a knock on Tito.


BBRef seems to agree with you far more than it does with me. Masterson was used well and generally performed well. In fact, he was good enough to be the centerpiece of a trade for a top player. Cross him off.
   11. Toby Posted: May 24, 2011 at 03:31 PM (#3836351)
#4 seems like a totally missed opportunity to tell the world that Francona is responsible for BHK failing to thrive.

But more broadly, does Francona get more out of his players than the typical manager? I would say, meh. We've seen a long string of supposedly good players come to Boston and fail to thrive, especially in the first year. Some of them never recover, some of them recover here, some of them end up thriving elsewhere. Part of the job description of the manager, it seems to me, is creating an environment where new players can readily adjust and thrive, and I see some cases where the player has thrived here but a rather disturbing number of cases where the player hasn't. Name me a player who has come to Boston and exceeded projections during his first year. I can think of Pedroia and Beltre and that's about it; maybe Okajima and Bard. There's a long list of quality players -- shortstops and starting pitchers in particular, but I'm also looking at you, J.D. Drew [edit: and Coco too] -- who have shown up and played well beneath their norms.

So it's not like Francona's a genius or anything. But if there were a MGR+ rating I'd put him at something like 106 but his skill set seems well suited to the park, the front office, and the team.
   12. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 24, 2011 at 03:38 PM (#3836357)
Meredith/Breslow count, I just think when you're dealing with guys as fungible as these guys I don't think it's a particularly big black mark. For what it's worth I think Meredith is more of a Theo than Tito failing, he appeared to be rushed.

I think you are overrating Murphy's status as of 2006. The ABs that Stern, Mohr and Harris got were in the first half and Murphy had been a .275/.337/.430 guy at AA in 2005. I don't think promoting him early in the year would have been wise. I don't think a call up in April/May of 2006 would have been appropriate.

Yes, the Sox could have put him in right for 2007 (I'd have prefered Wily Mo get the first look there) but they opted to go to JD Drew which effectively blocked Murphy. At that point Murphy (with options) was stashed in the minors to get some PT. Given the structure of the team at that point (Manny-Crisp-Drew with Portland CF Ellsbury better regarded than Murphy) his value became trade fodder the day the ink dried on J.D. Drew's contract.

I don't think Murphy could have been handled differently without some meaningful changes to the roster construction.
   13. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 24, 2011 at 03:47 PM (#3836366)
#11 - I would add Mike Lowell, Jonathan Papelbon and Mark Bellhorn to the list. I think you can argue Takashi Saito and Bill Hall also.

Pedroia can arguably be counted as a negative if you want to count his 2006 call up when he was awful.
   14. Darren Posted: May 24, 2011 at 03:48 PM (#3836367)
#4 seems like a totally missed opportunity to tell the world that Francona is responsible for BHK failing to thrive.


I guess that's fair. He was on the team in 04 but he was never healthy and clearly not the pitcher he had been in 03 and earlier. The one who messed up Kim was Grady, who ground him into the ground and then yanked him out of the closer's role after 1 bad outing in the playoffs.

On Murphy, I'm not overrating him in 06. I'm just putting him in the category of good young players that didn't get a chance to blossom while Francona was manager. He did elsewhere and flourished.
   15. Darren Posted: May 24, 2011 at 03:57 PM (#3836374)
Pedroia can arguably be counted as a negative if you want to count his 2006 call up when he was awful.


I'd give him credit for Pedroia. It was a lost season and Pedroia was given a chance to get his feet wet. The following year he continued to put him in the lineup most nights even while he struggled.
   16. Darren Posted: May 24, 2011 at 03:58 PM (#3836378)
For what it's worth I think Meredith is more of a Theo than Tito failing, he appeared to be rushed.


Tito didn't have throw him into the fire in his first appearance though.
   17. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 24, 2011 at 04:02 PM (#3836382)
14 - He didn't get a chance, that's right, but I don't think Francona is responsible for that in any way. I don't think there was ever a time when you can argue that Murphy should have gotten appreciably more at bats than he did.

15 - I agree with that. I was just saying if you are looking at the very specific "first year" issue, there is a way to look at it differently though obviously I (and I think everyone else) is cool with Pedroia's development.
   18. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: May 24, 2011 at 04:12 PM (#3836395)
I have made my fair share of Tito criticisms. But, for the record, I never called for him to be fired. I did however implore Theo to sign a game management assistant, to hit him over the head with a mallet, whenever he is about to do something monumentally stupid...
   19. Toby Posted: May 24, 2011 at 05:23 PM (#3836452)
I'd like to see others offer their hypothetical MGR+ ratings for Tito.
   20. Darren Posted: May 24, 2011 at 05:30 PM (#3836462)
Is that his Red-Sox-Career-MGR+ or current?
   21. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 24, 2011 at 06:10 PM (#3836486)
But if there were a MGR+ rating I'd put him at something like 106 but his skill set seems well suited to the park, the front office, and the team.


To answer your question in 19 I'll go back to your previous answer. I think this is pretty accurate with an emphasis on the part I bolded. I think he is very much on the same page as Theo Epstein. For example, while we can quibble over Saturday night's game I think Francona's decision to not use Bard would have been consistent with the desires of his bosses. I think when an organization (any organization, baseball team or otherwise) has a consistency of thought that is a good thing. Certainly some level of disagreement is good but in the end you need people on the same page.

If I were a GM I would want someone who I could count on to use the players I bring in in the way I envision. It's not about following orders, it's about being able to make the right acquisitions.
   22. Joel W Posted: May 24, 2011 at 08:43 PM (#3836634)
Of active MLB managers, how many would we prefer to Tito?
   23. Dan Posted: May 24, 2011 at 09:10 PM (#3836670)
Of active MLB managers, how many would we prefer to Tito?


Not many. I have issues with Francona's in-game management, but he's about as good as it gets for the off-field stuff. I just wish that he would play to "win today" a bit more often. I think it's good that he's always considering the long run, but sometimes you need to damn the long run and win the game at hand. I also think he might care a little too much about being buddy-buddy with the players, since it seems like he doesn't want to offend players by pinch-hitting for them or pulling them without a shot at the win, etc.
   24. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: May 25, 2011 at 12:01 PM (#3837147)
Heck, of still living and possibly employable ex-MLB managers who would be preferred above Tito?
   25. TomH Posted: May 25, 2011 at 01:29 PM (#3837191)
The Earl of B'more, if you can rewind the clock.
Davey Johnson?
Manny Acta?
   26. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: May 25, 2011 at 03:23 PM (#3837247)
Tito's strength is that he fully understands that he wouldn't be a good manager without good players. He's said this many, many times. It's amazing to think how many managers think they're the reason the team wins or loses; Tito harbors no such delusions.

In Boston, Tito manages to remain self-effacing despite his success in an enormous baseball market. This avoids resentment from his players. He's got on-field playing experience as a fringy player who was supposed to be a star but got derailed by injury, so he's well aware of the many insecurities players have and how best to avoid/minimize them. He's front office experience from his time with the Indians, and of course previous managerial experience in Philly and bench coach experience with Oakland. He's also been handling superstars for a long time as he was Michael Jordan's manager in Birmingham.

In-game decisions can sometimes be perplexing, but previous posts are correct in that he's always taking the long view with the club. He's on the same organizational page as his GM, which is not something that can be said for the previous 3 or 4 managers we've had.

He's not perfect, but for this team there's no manager I'd rather have than Francona.
   27. SoSH U at work Posted: May 25, 2011 at 03:48 PM (#3837264)
The Earl of B'more, if you can rewind the clock.
Davey Johnson?
Manny Acta?


I think many Nats fans would find the last suggestion rather laughable. Then again, many Phils fans would find the idea that Tito is good would be equally funny. I tend to think that other than your genuine greats like TLR or the truly incompetent like Maury Wills, managerial talent is fluid and success is heavily influenced by both the organization and the talent on hand. A good manager in one setting, with one type of talent and culture, may not be as effective in another (or, for that matter, the same one five years later).

In Boston, Tito's been damn good.

I think hometown fans generally make a terrible judge of a manager's ability (either that or every big league manager really is the biggest idiot ever). We put way too much emphasis on minor strategic choices that have a very limited impact on overall success; we think we're blessed with all the information that goes into a decision when we're probably not in most cases; we very rarely think long-term; and we tend to remember the stupid decisions that go wrong and ignore the good ones that go well (for example, assuming positive player development was inevitable but chalking up busts to managerial incompetence).
   28. Dale Sams Posted: May 25, 2011 at 04:15 PM (#3837298)
I don't think anyone (maybe Carlos Pena) was unfairly left without an opportunity to prove himself.


####, they only gave that Hanley Ramirez guy some 2 AB's before shipping him out!
   29. Joel W Posted: May 25, 2011 at 04:28 PM (#3837322)
OK, so the main answers to my question have basically been "almost no one". I think that's a pretty good indication of his quality. Obviously some others haven't chimed in.

just wish that he would play to "win today" a bit more often. I think it's good that he's always considering the long run, but sometimes you need to damn the long run and win the game at hand.


So what you're saying is that you wish Francona were more of a Keynesian?
   30. Dan Posted: May 25, 2011 at 07:36 PM (#3837464)
Joe Maddon is the main guy I would take over Francona, which is funny since he was the other finalist for the position at the time Francona was hired.
   31. konaforever Posted: May 25, 2011 at 07:48 PM (#3837478)
Joe Maddon is the main guy I would take over Francona, which is funny since he was the other finalist for the position at the time Francona was hired.


I would take Maddon over Francona as well.
   32. tfbg9 Posted: May 25, 2011 at 07:54 PM (#3837484)
My computer is broken. It says Crawford got 4 hits today.
   33. Mattbert Posted: May 25, 2011 at 08:10 PM (#3837502)
####, they only gave that Hanley Ramirez guy some 2 AB's before shipping him out!

Oh yeah, well how's that working out for the Marlins now, huh?

Another feather in the cap for Tito!
   34. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 25, 2011 at 08:10 PM (#3837503)
I think Maddon and Francona are perfect where they are and would both be worse off if they switched jobs. I think Maddon's goofiness plays well with his younger team while Francona's more straight-laced approach is a nice fit for his older team. I don't know if either guy's style would be the right fit in the different uniform.

I like Maddon a lot and think he's an excellent manager FWIW.
   35. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 25, 2011 at 08:11 PM (#3837505)
####, they only gave that Hanley Ramirez guy some 2 AB's before shipping him out!


.215 hitter, he's a bust. He's sure as hell no Jed Lowrie!
   36. Darren Posted: May 25, 2011 at 08:12 PM (#3837506)
I think the question, "Who would you rather have?" gets at the difficulty of judging managers. I could say Larry Dierker, I guess, but I don't know if he's still intereseted/engaged, how he would get along with this particular group, etc. What I can say is that Francona still has some of the traits that got him fired in Philadelphia, the main one being that he let's the star players call their own shots too much. I'd also say that there are a lot of times that he makes what appear to be pretty obvious tactical mistakes and that I don't see any evidence that he is particularly good at getting the best out of people. So, although I can't say for sure who'd prefer, I wouldn't say that means Francona is doing a good job.

So what you're saying is that you wish Francona were more of a Keynesian?


That would be playing to win today AND tomorrow. ;)
   37. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 25, 2011 at 09:05 PM (#3837538)
The "he hasn't ruined many of their star prospects" strikes me as a tepid defense of a manager.
No, it isn't!

These are all the Red Sox prospects who, after playing in the high minors, were rated in the BA Top 50 during Tito's tenure:

Buchholz (4) - MLB starter
Ellsbury (13) - MLB regular
Lester (22) - playoff ace
Papelbon (37) - relief ace

These are all the Red Sox prospects who, after playing in the high minors, were rated in the BA Top 50-100 during Tito's tenure:

Hansen (56) - bust
Masterson (64) - MLB starter (in Cleveland)
Lowrie (73) - MLB regular
Pedroia (77) - MVP, 3-time All-Star
Bard (98) - MLB set-up man

Lots of star prospects bust. It's really common. The usual bust rate for prospects who get their shot in the majors isn't 0%, and it isn't 11%. This is a great track record, one for which everyone involved deserves significant credit. I don't see how a good chunk of that credit can't go to the manager. Somebody's doing something right so that Red Sox young players are consistently developing their skills at the major league level.

One of the main things I like about Tito is that he gets the right guys in the lineup. We spend exceptionally little time, for baseball fans, ######## and moaning about a kid who's been blocked or a vet who needs to go. Tito commits to his young players, and he's been willing to make an early-season decision to demote a struggling veteran and install a rookie in his place, with Papelbon and now with Lowrie. I think they respond to that commitment.

EDIT: I didn't include Lars Anderson (17) and Mike Bowden (83), who appear to have busted in the high minors, and Jose Iglesias (52), whose grade is clearly incomplete.
   38. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: May 25, 2011 at 10:04 PM (#3837580)
He's not perfect, but for this team there's no manager I'd rather have than Francona.
This.

I get frustrated with the slow hook, but beyond that I just can't get worked up about how Tito handles anything. He's visible enough without trying to be the center of attention; the players seem to like him, and like playing for him; and while we can all nitpick I just don't see a lot to criticize tactically that adds up to much.

Having lived through the messes that were One-M (though I miss his quick hook, but only that) and Grady Little, complaining more than mildly about Francona's managerial shortcomings just seems like a huge waste of energy that can be better directed toward why we can't make a big-dollar FA pitching acquisition that doesn't turn out middling at best.
   39. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: May 25, 2011 at 11:01 PM (#3837606)
So now David Murphy is a star? I missed this.
   40. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: May 25, 2011 at 11:02 PM (#3837607)
I've been thinking about this post for a few days , and it's great.

I criticize Tito during the excitement of games as much as anyone - but that really is a natural reactin to a typically tough loss, but he always seems to have such a good handle on things and is perfect for this team.

I've never called for him to be sacked (and honestly who else managing now would we want? Maddon, maybe? - I'm clutching at straws here - every other manager I can think of just would not make sense) and can see him being here as long as Bobby Cox (if he wants to be) to be honest.
   41. tfbg9 Posted: May 25, 2011 at 11:09 PM (#3837609)
26 and 37...right on. Tito's a HOF caliber skip, IMHO.
   42. ptodd Posted: May 26, 2011 at 09:20 AM (#3838025)
Lots of star prospects bust. It's really common. The usual bust rate for prospects who get their shot in the majors isn't 0%, and it isn't 11%. This is a great track record, one for which everyone involved deserves significant credit. I don't see how a good chunk of that credit can't go to the manager. Somebody's doing something right so that Red Sox young players are consistently developing their skills at the major league level.


You said what it isn't but what is it. How common is it for a BA top 100 who is in the high minors to be a bust?

I am looking at the 2007 BA top 50 taken at random and with the exception of Brandon Wood, Jason Hirsch,, Josh Fields, Donald Veal, Jeff Clement, Luke Hochevar, Yovani Gollardo, Andrew Miller, they all had success at the MLB level. If this holds true in other years, would expect 85% of top 50 players to have success at the MLB level, and 50% 51-100. So my best estimate is a bust rate of 30%.

Assuming your list is complete, Tito has 3 busts of 11, which is about what you would expect based on my limited test.

Looking at some of the other Red Sox top 20 in 2007, we have Bowden, Anderson, and Cox (rated above Hansen), Place (1st rounder
cut), Kottaras (ranked ahead of masterson), Moss, David Murphy (ranked ahead of Lowrie), Kalish, Doubront, Caleb Clay and Engel Beltre.

Of these, Murphy has had some success with Texas, Doubront and Kalish have had health problems but likely will have have a future. So thats about a 35% bust rate (Kalish, Doubront, Beltre incomplete)
   43. Mattbert Posted: May 26, 2011 at 12:44 PM (#3838068)
I am looking at the 2007 BA top 50 taken at random and with the exception of Brandon Wood, Jason Hirsch,, Josh Fields, Donald Veal, Jeff Clement, Luke Hochevar, Yovani Gollardo, Andrew Miller, they all had success at the MLB level.

Que? Gallardo's been pretty successful aside from his knee injury a few years ago and some early struggles this year. Career ERA+ of 109 and two 200-strikeout seasons, and he's only 25. If that's a bust, give me a couple more busts like him in the Boston rotation.
   44. Pingu Posted: May 26, 2011 at 12:45 PM (#3838069)
Why is Tito getting credit or blame for players who werent ever a significant part of the big league club?
   45. John DiFool2 Posted: May 26, 2011 at 12:55 PM (#3838073)
I didn't include Lars Anderson (17) and Mike Bowden (83), who appear to have busted in the high minors


I agree about Lars, but Bowden's having a fine season (28-6 K-W, 0.97 WHIP, 3.07 ERA).
   46. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 26, 2011 at 01:16 PM (#3838085)
ptodd - Your 2007 BA Top 50 busts leaves out several players; Reid Brignac, Andy LaRoche, Adam Miller, Franklin Morales, Scott Elbert and Bill Rowell all belong on there and I think arguments might exist for Cameron Maybin, Fernando Martinez, Jarrod Saltalamcchia and maybe Alex Gordon and Phil Hughes though those last few are still works in progress. You can argue Daisuke as well though he's a bit of a different animal but of course Francona deserves some of the blame on him.
   47. Textbook Editor Posted: May 26, 2011 at 01:28 PM (#3838091)
My guess is Tito will be the manager until health problems cause him to walk away for good. He hasn't changed really all that much since 2004, and I can't see the Red Sox going so far in the toilet that he'd be fired for lack of results. He could easily manage in Boston as long as Cox did in Atlanta or TLR in St. Louis, and doing so probably gets him in the HOF.

It's the slow hook, really, that is my only true beef with him, but as I've often said in chatters this is something he's been guilty of since his Philly days, and it likely will never stop. It's hard/impossibly to quantify, but it is possible that his slow hook does generate good will on the part of the pitching staff, in that they feel he completely trusts them.

I keep meaning to look back at a few years of game logs and see what the % of times was that Tito pulled a starter:

(a) With the lead, but before he had gotten to 5 IP (except due to injury)
(b) With the lead, but mid-inning and with the tying run on-base.

My gut tells me the % of times would be very, very low. Usually a starter (for Tito) comes out on a clean inning, or after he's given up at least the tying run. It can drive me bat-#### crazy, but, in a sense, it's not like I haven't been warned and at this point it shouldn't come as a shock.

The rest of the managerial tasks he does either competently or really well. If I were to design a college course on managing, I would certainly include as a case study the sum total of his managerial decisions in Games 4-7 of the 2004 ALCS.
   48. Pingu Posted: May 26, 2011 at 03:12 PM (#3838190)
I'm with TE, 1000%.

Slow hook makes me mad at times, but I cant get too worked up about it given the total package.....my memory of the pre-Frnacona days prevents me.
   49. Joel W Posted: May 26, 2011 at 06:19 PM (#3838434)
I do wonder WRT slow hooks how much of our perception is:

a) confirmation bias, as it's very easy to remember the times that it didn't work out, but hard to remember the ones that it does, or where he pulled the hook correctly;

b) not thinking about the counterfactual, all the innings that would go to the Rich Hill's of the world (or the Matt Albers like a few days ago);

c) not thinking about the overall impact on the various players.

Obviously he has a slow hook often, but isn't this something every fan thinks about their manager?
   50. Nasty Nate Posted: May 26, 2011 at 06:56 PM (#3838479)
a) confirmation bias, as it's very easy to remember the times that it didn't work out, but hard to remember the ones that it does, or where he pulled the hook correctly;

b) not thinking about the counterfactual, all the innings that would go to the Rich Hill's of the world (or the Matt Albers like a few days ago);


I don't think "Slow Hook" only refers to times when it doesn't work, or times when the "hook" is too slow. It is a tendency that has plusses and minuses, but, yes, one which is more noticeable when it fails.

(b) is a good point. That is the longterm benefit - more innings eaten by starters and less by middle-relievers.
   51. Pingu Posted: May 26, 2011 at 08:32 PM (#3838660)
In a perfect world a manager would use a relief ace in the situations we are prob all referring to. (5th or 6th inning, close game, runners on) If the only option is a mediocre reliever or my gassed starter, then forgive me for having a slow hook too. I think its legitimate criticism though for a Timlin in the 8th, Foulke in the 9th (Bard in the 8th, Papelbon in the 9th) kind of manager.

I do think theres a good chance there is some confirmation bias at work, but I cant remember ever thinking the same thing about another Red Sox manager, even with one famously low hanging fruit from the Grady Little tree.
   52. TomH Posted: May 26, 2011 at 09:02 PM (#3838708)
Q: Has Tito's hook changed in the post-season? If so, angst over slow-hooking to win an occasional game in the regular season should lessen, if he knows what needs to be done in a 7-game series. It's not like the Sox have missed playoff opps by a game or 2 under Tito (as happened frequently in my formative years).
   53. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 26, 2011 at 09:22 PM (#3838742)
52 - I think he is considerably more aggressive in the post-season with making the move. Both 2008 and 2009 featured games where he was slow to the detriment of the team, with Beckett in each case. (G3 2008 ALDS, G2 2008 ALCS, G2 2009 ALDS)
   54. Nasty Nate Posted: May 26, 2011 at 09:28 PM (#3838752)
Q: Has Tito's hook changed in the post-season?


Yes, with the glaring exception of Beckett in 2008, his hook has been quicker and his bullpen usage much less formulaic. E.G. in game 7 of the '07 ALCS, he pulled Matsuzaka after 5 effective (and BB-less!) innings and 88 pitches; that never would happen in the regular season.
   55. tfbg9 Posted: May 26, 2011 at 11:03 PM (#3838844)
And now my phone's wigged-out, it says Carl got 4 hits again today. Pfft. As if.
   56. Dale Sams Posted: May 30, 2011 at 04:23 AM (#3840789)
FWIW, apparently Tito Sac Bunts and issues IBBs less than any other manager on average.
   57. Dan Posted: June 04, 2011 at 09:09 PM (#3845431)
I like Francona, but he had another awful game today for in-game decisions. Papelbon had no business pitching, not because he was likely to be that bad, but because there's no reason he should be pitching in 4 run games, especially when he pitched the night before. Add in the fact that Lackey is pitching tomorrow on a 90 pitch count and you have a situation where making Papelbon unavailable tomorrow is silly when it's a 4 run game today. The fact that Papelbon put up one of the worst performances of his career is just the cherry on top.

Then add punch running for Ortiz and Gonzalez to take your best 2 bats out of the game and leaving Cameron hitting with the game on the line instead of Ortiz, and you have a great day.
   58. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: June 04, 2011 at 09:20 PM (#3845450)
Then add punch running for Ortiz and Gonzalez to take your best 2 bats out of the game and leaving Cameron hitting with the game on the line instead of Ortiz, and you have a great day.


Ortiz wouldn't have scored on Crawford's hit in the 8th, and the Red Sox would have lost in the 9th rather than whatever inning they wound up losing in. It would have been better to see Jenks or Wheeler in the 9th, but Paps should have been able to get the job done there. They seem to be staying away from Jenks and Wheeler as much as possible for some reason. I'm guessing because they suck.
   59. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: June 04, 2011 at 09:52 PM (#3845506)
They lost?
   60. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 04, 2011 at 10:02 PM (#3845526)
Papelbon pitched because he'd warmed up, before Crawford opened the lead up to 4. It's pretty normal usage.

The pinch-runners are the thing that chaps me. Even if the call for Reddick ended up working out as scott says, it's not a good call. Tito pinch runs too much.
   61. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: June 04, 2011 at 10:46 PM (#3845591)
I had to go and the way things were going I just sort of assumed. In this case I'm happy to be wrong!

They would have lost the game if they hadn't used Reddick as a pinch runner. That's a good situation to use a pinch runner in - where the difference in speed means the difference between scoring from second on a 2-out single or not, and it gives you a 4 run cushion that your best reliever should be able to protect. Pinch running for Gonzalez was dumb, though. I'll grant you that.
   62. Dan Posted: June 04, 2011 at 10:46 PM (#3845592)
Ortiz wouldn't have scored on Crawford's hit in the 8th,


You really don't think Ortiz can score from second on a double with 2 outs? He's not THAT slow. Sure, it was a ball that is only a double for a fast runner, but with 2 outs he's running on contact anyway. I don't see how he wouldn't have scored.
   63. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 04, 2011 at 10:48 PM (#3845594)
The pinch running thing pisses me off too. It's relatively new, I don't remember him doing this in years past.
   64. Dan Posted: June 04, 2011 at 10:50 PM (#3845600)
Papelbon pitched because he'd warmed up, before Crawford opened the lead up to 4. It's pretty normal usage.


I understand wanting to avoid the "dry hump" in general, but in this particular situation where he pitched the night before and it's an afternoon game I don't agree with pitching him anyway in that situation. Hell, even run Bard out for a second inning. He only threw 12 pitches and probably won't be available tomorrow anyway since he's now gone 2 days in a row.
   65. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 04, 2011 at 10:56 PM (#3845604)
The problem with sitting Papelbon down is whoever comes in is on a fairly short leash, two guys reach and Paps is in. I think the sox are looking to avoid the at least reasonably likely "up-down-up" for Papelbon.
   66. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: June 04, 2011 at 11:00 PM (#3845610)
I don't see how he wouldn't have scored.


Well, you could look at it as increasing the likelihood of a runner scoring from second on a single. If you think Ortiz scores on a single from 2nd 60% of the time and Reddick 85% of the time, then you've increased your odds a fair amount. You could also take into account likelihood of a play at the plate and possible injury to the player on a collision there. That's a low probability, but non-zero. Papelbon had been pretty reliable to that point, so you'd think the chance of him blowing it would be pretty low, so the odds of needing Ortiz' bat again would be pretty low again. Plus he'd 'just' been up, so his spot wouldn't come up again soon anyway.

All this depends on what likelihood values you want to fill in there, which we could of course argue about all day, but it's nice outside.
   67. veer bender Posted: June 04, 2011 at 11:08 PM (#3845619)
I can't believe that it's really a completely strategy-based move. I think these types of pinch-running decisions have some clubhouse component to them, or the thought of lessening injury risk, or something added in. I don't think it's a coincidence that Ortiz and Gonzo are not just slow, but also play nearly every day, and when they do get a day off will likely pinch hit if losing a close game. I think "partial day off" is part of the decision; getting the bench guys some action might be also. It still infuriates me.

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