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   1. Margo Adams FC Posted: September 17, 2006 at 04:06 AM (#2179239)
Francona is a good manager only in terms of handling the PR part of the job. His in-game decisions leave a lot to be desired and he doesn't understand leverage at all. Just like it made no sense to pitch Foulke when he was at his best two years ago in the 9th with four-run leads, it made no sense, in the first game of the New Boston Massacre, to stick with Kyle Snyder in the top of the seventh down by 1 and with the top of the Yankees' lineup coming up. I mean holy crap! If you can't stomach using Papelbon there, you go with Timlin (preferably the 2005 version or something.) If you want to go back to one dumbass decision that finally put the season out of its misery, that was it.

Completely agree with the comments on the coaching staff above. I'd prefer not to see waive-'em-in-Kim back, though, if at all possible... Could we lure Mike Maddux here? Who else is good and not locked up long term?
   2. Darren Posted: September 17, 2006 at 04:15 AM (#2179242)
Isn't Kerrigan the bullpen coach in NY? Getting to be pitching coach again would be a step up. Not that he'd be likely to take it.

What about Mike Marshall? According to Mike Marshall, he's an excellent choice! Or Schilling could just take over as manager and pitching coach, just to make it official.
   3. Dave Cyprian Posted: September 17, 2006 at 04:18 AM (#2179246)
Honestly I think if Theo can pull off some ridiculous "let a new player pick the manager" trade again, go with that. Who do Barry Zito and Jason Schmidt think are good?
   4. Darren Posted: September 17, 2006 at 04:22 AM (#2179248)
Dave,

You have an excellent point. Let's take it from the other side though. What great player is available who once played for Showalter, Valentine, or Davey Johnson? Maybe said player would demand them as manager, thus allowing us to get the star and get a good manager!

Ooo, I know, Kevin Brown!
   5. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 17, 2006 at 04:27 AM (#2179251)
I would recommend trading for Jim Thome and then hiring Charlie Manuel. Preferably you could trade a couple young players to the Phillies for Manuel; it'll be worth it if he makes the difference between Jim Thome agreeing to come there or not.
   6. Dave Cyprian Posted: September 17, 2006 at 04:28 AM (#2179253)
Only if we make him captain and give him a $10 million a year for a bunch of years.
   7. Margo Adams FC Posted: September 17, 2006 at 04:33 AM (#2179257)
Charlie Manuel = Grady Little
   8. Margo Adams FC Posted: September 17, 2006 at 04:35 AM (#2179260)
Sorry my irony detector fell asleep some time ago.
   9. Margo Adams FC Posted: September 17, 2006 at 04:37 AM (#2179261)
How about giving Righetti keys to the city and a few mill? That team is going to suck for years to come, and it's not like Matt Cain needs his help anymore, anyway. That's it: Schmidt and Righetti in a 2-for-1.
   10. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: September 17, 2006 at 04:52 AM (#2179264)
How about giving Righetti keys to the city and a few mill?


07/04/83
   11. Margo Adams FC Posted: September 17, 2006 at 05:10 AM (#2179270)
Yeah I remember watching that on TV -- does this bear on the desirability of him coaching Red Sox pitchers? I'd argue that his record in SF and reputation would make this a slam dunk if he were available... I mean Schmidt wasn't Schmidt! until he met Rightetti, right?
   12. Margo Adams FC Posted: September 17, 2006 at 05:24 AM (#2179278)
IIRC it was Kerrigan/Duquette believing the slide step was bad for getting the batter out?
   13. Xander Posted: September 17, 2006 at 05:53 AM (#2179286)
You want Buck Showalter to coach this team? Ugh. Nothing is going to happen to Francona. And if something does, I think the replacement will come internally; be it Hale, Mills, or Ron Johnson. They gave Francona a contract extension this year, through 08. So you're going to have to learn to live with him. I don't think he does anything spectacularly well, or spectacularly poorly. He has flaws, as do all teams. But I don't think he is the reason this team has tanked, and I don't see that happening down the road either.
   14. Darren Posted: September 17, 2006 at 11:32 AM (#2179312)
You don't see what happening down the road? They're never going to fire Francona?

I really don't know anything about the internal guys. Are they any good?
   15. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 17, 2006 at 11:42 AM (#2179316)
But I don't think he is the reason this team has tanked

But as the manager, isn't he ultimately to blame for that? I agree it wasn't of his doing, but oftentimes managers are hailed as supergeniuses for a winning month that looks like the Red Sox's losing month backwards.
   16. Darren Posted: September 17, 2006 at 11:45 AM (#2179317)
Add this to the Tito discussion: last night in the 2nd game, he decided not to pinchhit Ortiz because he would only have been able to tie the game. Francona said that he didn't want to have to go into extra innings, because the pitching had been so depleted.
   17. Darren Posted: September 17, 2006 at 11:56 AM (#2179320)
I don't care for the "he isn't THE reason for this season" line of thinking. Of course he's not. No one would meet that standard. The question is whether they'll do better in 07 without him.
   18. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 17, 2006 at 12:02 PM (#2179324)
I know that isn't how his contract runs, but would Varitek be a good first-time manager in 08? The last month and change have contributed to his Leadership Legend, and one bad year doesn't seem to be enough to evoke the "exodus kiss" from the Boston media.

I've (of course) heard of player-managers, but have there been player-other coaches in MLB history?
   19. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 17, 2006 at 01:13 PM (#2179342)
kevin, I think if Tek has another disappointing season, the meme would be: "I love Varitek. He can't play anymore. Thus, let's give him a non-playing place on the team."

If base coaches are indeed fungible (and I believe they are), then I think Henry and company should give out that spot - there isn't a good recent example of a beloved Boston player who retired from and is still active in the organization.
   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 17, 2006 at 02:32 PM (#2179372)
I'm in favor of making a change just to make a change on the pitching staff, but I am against such a tactic in regard to Francona. I guess it's within the realm of possibility - as JBH pointed out in the last thread - that the Sox aren't bad at evaluating and maintaining and teaching pitchers, but I tend to doubt it, and I'll be very skeptical of the decision-making process if they don't implement any significant changes. I definitely don't think the Sox are so good with pitching that there's a particular risk of a step backward if they changed things up.

Maybe I'm crazy, but who's the only pitcher who took a big step forward this year? Papelbon, the guy Schilling took a special interest in and worked with on his splitter. He's a jerk, but he knows his stuff. Of course, I think he's an expert in how to be Curt Schilling more than anything, and Papelbon is one of hte few pitchers in baseball who actually should be trying to be Curt Schilling.

Regardless, I want a good pitching coach.

On Francona, I think that he's certainly not an excellent tactical manager, but he's also not terrible. His record in Philly with young players is actually rather good, and we all loved him this April. He's been happy to move Manny D and Hansen into high-lev situations, though they haven't done tremendously well. I do wonder if calling up Pedroia could have helped earlier, but he hasn't exactly set the world on fire, and the difference between his and Loretta's stats was probably a run per month, maybe two.

If there were an excellent manager out there who fit our needs, I'd be interested, but I don't see one. I want evidence of likely improvement to switch out Francona. I'm happy with merely the unlikelihood of a downgrade as reason to change the way the Sox handle pitchers.
   21. philly Posted: September 17, 2006 at 02:40 PM (#2179373)
I think if Tek has another disappointing season, the meme would be: "I love Varitek. He can't play anymore.

Varitek has had a disappointing season and may be teetering on the edge of the cliff, but he's a long way from "can't play anymore".

His league average .260 EQA is still solid for a catcher and his runs above average for his position was still a mall net positive despite missing time due to injury.

And he probably adds non-trivial value defensively.

Varitek may be overpaid and he certainly should not be expected to hit 5th or 6th in a good lineup, but he's still a quality contributor to a very good team.
   22. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 17, 2006 at 02:47 PM (#2179376)
Varitek has had a disappointing season and may be teetering on the edge of the cliff, but he's a long way from "can't play anymore".

If you look at my tenses, I wasn't advocating this now. I was thinking down the road, maybe after the 07 season.
   23. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 17, 2006 at 02:57 PM (#2179385)
If you look at my tenses, I wasn't advocating this now. I was thinking down the road, maybe after the 07 season.
You said "if Tek has another disappointing season." Philly was pointing out that while .260 EqA is disappointing for such an expensive player, it actually makes for a solidly above-average catcher. Tek would have to decline a lot from his '06 performance to be anywhere near "can't play anymore."
   24. Swedish Chef Posted: September 17, 2006 at 02:58 PM (#2179386)
If I ran the Red Sox I would look at the pitching coaches and medical staff (obviously I can't say if they do a bad job, but it looks bad enough to warrant evalution by someone who can).

I would also hire a lousy third-base coach, that seems to do wonders in drawing the heat from the manager and front office. That can be worth a win over a season.
   25. villageidiom Posted: September 17, 2006 at 05:14 PM (#2179454)
I think Francona is a good manager, relative to other active managers. None of them consistently do what makes sabermetric sense, but a good number of them stink at conventional wisdom, too. A change to another manager will likely not improve on-the-field performance.

As pointed out earlier, pitchers seem to underperform expectations when they come to Boston, and overperform when they leave. It's worth considering that our projections might be systematically missing something... but if not, someone in the FO should certainly be trying to figure out what they are systematically missing. Whether it's the medical staff, the coaching staff, the player development staff, the players themselves, I don't know. I do know that a lot of players this year tried to play through injuries, which worked OK until August; but since August is part of the season that's not an acceptable way for the players to operate.
   26. Ozzie's gay friend Posted: September 17, 2006 at 07:08 PM (#2179643)
Varitek is still a good enough player to be a starter on a playoff team, he just shouldn't bat above 7th in the lineup.

I'm disapointed in how this team has been run since they fell out of contention, they should be playing a Youk-Agon-Pedoria-Pena infield every day.

Let's see if any of these guys can contribute next year.
   27. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 17, 2006 at 07:18 PM (#2179660)
I'm disapointed in how this team has been run since they fell out of contention, they should be playing a Youk-Agon-Pedoria-Pena infield every day.
Wily Mo Pena can't play infield, and Carlos Pena is a 24th man, at best. Mike Lowell will be the third baseman next year, barring a trade, and should be a good choice. Dustin Pedroia, there's an argument there, but he did suck bad at first, and he's still playing regularly, just not every day.
   28. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 17, 2006 at 07:20 PM (#2179663)
I would describe Francona's end-of-year strategy, basically, as the attempt to avoid injuries at all cost, while auditioning some possible contributors for next year. Just about no one is playing every day.
   29. Ozzie's gay friend Posted: September 17, 2006 at 07:25 PM (#2179672)
I meant Carlos Pena.

You don't think they'll try to move Lowell?? I think it's of higher priority than moving Coco (which I keep hearing talk of).

What about targeting Beltre? if Seatle's willing to pay some freight. Adjusting for park he's probably been better than Lowell, even after a terrible first half, he's younger and has a bit of upside left.
   30. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 17, 2006 at 07:42 PM (#2179703)
You don't think they'll try to move Lowell?? I think it's of higher priority than moving Coco (which I keep hearing talk of).
I doubt they move either. The offense has been quite good, and Lowell is probably the front-runner for the Gold Glove at third - him or Inge. The Sox need to focus their offseason energy on making the pitching not suck.
   31. Addicted To Glove Posted: September 18, 2006 at 12:29 PM (#2180425)
I think if Wallace is healed, he should be given another chance at the pitching coach's job. I think his illness and the coaching of Nipper in the big job is an underrated factor this year.
   32. Toby Posted: September 18, 2006 at 12:59 PM (#2180442)
I suspect Francona is no more than an average manager tactically, but I think among average managers Francona's a pretty good fit for the Boston fan and media environment. He seems to be on the same page as the front office and he seems to have the right touch.

You can say there is no evidence he has any skills at creating a good clubhouse, but how do you overlook the fact that he's presided over a series of great clubhouses, despite a huge turnover in personnel? The players do not snipe at each other and do not complain about playing time and do not point fingers at each other, with rare trivial exceptions.

I wouldn't be opposed to swapping out Francona if we had a demonstrably better option, but Showalter certainly isn't one and Valentine probably isn't one.

Keep Papa Jack. Fire everyone that has anything to do with coaching the pitchers.
   33. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: September 18, 2006 at 05:46 PM (#2180706)
Yeah I remember watching that on TV -- does this bear on the desirability of him coaching Red Sox pitchers?


Of course not, I was being facetious. But I recall watching that game with extended family and the non-Sox fans ribbing us.

I'd argue that his record in SF and reputation would make this a slam dunk if he were available... I mean Schmidt wasn't Schmidt! until he met Rightetti, right?


I'm not familiar with the NL West, but I haven't heard any negative words on RIghetti's caching.
   34. Chip Posted: September 18, 2006 at 05:51 PM (#2180717)
On the pitching development and pitching coaching front, I found this tidbit about Cla Meredith's success with the Padres on Buster Olney's ESPN Insider blog today:

He decided to bag some of what the Red Sox development staff had tried to encourage him to do. Right-handed submarine pitchers often have trouble against left-handed hitters because the left-handers see the ball longer, and the Red Sox had pushed Meredith to focus on throwing the ball inside to lefties -- to jam them. After being dealt to the Padres, Meredith decided to go with his own approach: Keep the ball away from them, sinking the ball to the outside corner. If they did punch it the other way, or pulled a ground ball through the right side, well, he would live with that; at least they weren't doing any major damage. By pitching inside, he felt he was putting himself at greater risk of giving up extra-base hits.

"Doing that, I'm trying to keep it simple," he said.

It's an approach that has worked for Tom Glavine for years -- pitch away, out of harm's way -- and it has worked for him. Going into yesterday's game, left-handed hitters were batting .280 against him in 50 at-bats, but with just a double and a triple -- no homers -- for a miniscule .340 slugging percentage. He has mostly dominated right-handed batters: They had been 9-for-90 against him, with two walks, 22 strikeouts, and a double, for a .111 slugging percentage. Meredith has kept everything down in the zone, mixing in an occasional slider but mostly staying with his nasty sinker.


Is this an indictment of Nipper, or of Nipper and several others, including Wallace?
   35. Hungry Hungry Hipolito Pichardo Posted: September 18, 2006 at 05:51 PM (#2180716)
I haven't heard any negative words on RIghetti's caching.

Yes, he's really improved server response times out there.
   36. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: September 18, 2006 at 05:58 PM (#2180723)
One thing that I've seen people complain about (I think that it was tfbg9) was lack of waste pitches at 0-2. Have no clue whether this is tru/false or good/bad.
   37. OlePerfesser Posted: September 18, 2006 at 06:07 PM (#2180732)
...just about every pitcher who comes to the Sox gets worse and everyone that leaves gets better...

Do we have any real evidence for this assertion of Darren's? I'm not being snarky; just askin'. If we're gonna fire Dave Wallace (and only Arthur wants to bring him back, unless I missed somebody earlier in the thread), it'd be nice to examine this question rather assume it. If it turns out to be true, then fire away...

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that this FO has acquired an awful lot of high-variance players and pitchers over its 4 years. Obviously, it's not fair to point to bad-delta years for such players as evidence of coaching ability or lack thereof. E.g., Timlin came to us in '03 at age 37, with a well-established track record; in his 4 years in Beantown his ERA+ has been: above, below, above, and below his career ERA+. Hard to say Wallace has been either good or bad for Timlin's career.

Tavarez is a classic high-variance pitcher; his ERA+ has varied from 69 to 176, averaging 103 before this year. This year he's been below-average, but before we blame Wallace, Nipper, or anybody in Boston we may have to face the fact that this (erratic!) is the kind of pitcher Tavarez is.

Foulke was consistently above-average before he got here, but I'm not sure I'd blame Wallace for the knee issues that have made Foulke into a bum.

Meredith and Sanchez have thrived elsewhere, but they really never got a chance to thrive here, so...

What I'm sayin' is I want a nice before-and-after study--and I'm too lazy to do it myself, so I'm not drawing any conclusions about forcing Wallace to walk the plank.
   38. OlePerfesser Posted: September 18, 2006 at 06:25 PM (#2180747)
Thanks, Chip, for that data point on Meredith, BTW.

I'd add that this is another reason for a study: Even if that data point suggests that Boston's pitching philosophy is bad for righty side-armers, the empirical question is whether their advice is useful more often than not. Inquiring minds want to know.
   39. Darren Posted: September 19, 2006 at 04:21 AM (#2181598)
To be fair to the coaching staff, in Fenway you can't just not worry about what lefties do with outside pitches. That said, Cla has been amazing.
   40. Ozzie's gay friend Posted: September 19, 2006 at 04:46 AM (#2181612)
FWIW Glavine started pitching inside a couple years ago and IIRC attributes his recent resurgence to it.
   41. Darren Posted: September 20, 2006 at 01:45 AM (#2182572)
sure would be nice to see what we have in Pedroia.

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