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The Show Goes On

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The Show Goes On With The Boston Red Sox

It’s officially August, the time of the year when baseball games finally start to mean something. The crisp and aromatic October air will soon pervade Fenway Park. This is also when a motley bunch of unilateral teammates will coalesce into the team they will be, come playoff time. In the aftermath of the MLB trade-deadline, we see a Boston Red Sox team that is a kaleidoscope of a picture. It looks something like if Picasso did the team photo and he switched heads with behinds, and arms with legs (and put some foots in mouths).

Exclusively grading them, I’d give the organization’s deadline moves a super-solid B. This grading comes retroactively, and for a reason. With recent developments behind us, the acquisition of versatile chess-piece Eduardo Nunez and the possibly premature promotion of Rafael Devers appears to be a very coherent decision on management’s part. Unfortunately, it is a decision amplified by the fact that Dustin Pedroia is not healthy. This team needs help on both sides of the ball, urgently.

In a press-conference on Monday, a melancholy, yet steady, John Farrell declared that the Red Sox “can’t rule out the DL” for Pedroia and his knee which was operated on in the off-season. This unnerving tidbit comes on the coattails of a 3-game benching of the acclaimed “dirt-dog”. This is not good. It is entirely uncommon to see Pedroia sit on the bench, and his doing so speaks to the seriousness of the injury. Knee-cartilage is not regenerative. When it starts to go, it goes. Hence the importance of the newly introduced Boston young-bloods: Eduardo Nunez and Rafael Devers.

These two will be expected to supplement the play of an inveterate staple of our team. Although his leadership has been in question, as of late, Pedroia is a crown-jewel of this franchise. Despite his height (that’s right no one’s off limits), temporarily replacing him will be no small task.

Meet the New Guys

Eduardo Nunez: maybe, through the osmosis of national media, you’ve heard the name. But did any of us have an extensive scouting-report on this guy when he was acquired? Rafael Devers: if you’ve absorbed the farm-system at all, you knew he’d probably make a nice contribution in the near future. In the midst of a minor-crisis, these two near no-names are making an invaluable impact.

Starting with the bright-eyed 20-year-old, Devers has simply been tearing the cover off the ball. In 27 plate-appearances (PA) he has a .417 BA while slugging the ball at an incredible average of .750, polish that off with 2 HRs and 4 RBI’s. That type of production, from a newly called-up prospect, comes at a time when the Sox were desperately exploring the roster, and the market, for any iota of power-hitting. This conversationally “free” needle in the haystack is of immeasurable worth to this team right now. Devers represents only half of this Frankenstein-esque Green Monster. The other half: Eduardo Nunez.

He’s a very well traveled rolling-stone, but Nunez has been able to ingratiate himself, in an abbreviated fashion, to many a franchise. From the seemingly futile reclamation attempt in San Francisco, he comes to a more promising situation in Boston. In his 19 PA’s with the club, Eduardo has socked his way to a .417 BA, while cranking the ball at a clobbering slugging-percentage of .971. In this small sample size, he also has 2 dingers and a formidable 7 RBI’s. We acquired all of this high-leverage productivity for a “Sweet Caroline” of a song. Who can begin to complain?

Looking at the defensive outfit of these two, now not so hidden-gems, Devers presents a slight liability in the hot-corner. During his short time with the club, the young third-baseman has committed a nearly inconsequential handful of errors. Bare in mind, the kid has a high ceiling. The plays he has fumbled were those of a budding player clearly trying too hard. What redeems this corner of the infield? Nunez at second, who is a well-rounded glove that can comfortably assume any position within the diamond.

The Future is Now

As constituted, our infield without Dustin Pedroia would not win a collective Gold Glove. Defensively, Nunez’s optimal position is third base. But, as it’s outweighed by the current surge in offensive production, we’re not looking too shabby on the doorstep of August.

Sure, the impending loss of Pedroia severely hurts this team. What mitigates this publically unforeseeable damage is the well-timed insertion of Rafael Devers and Eduardo Nunez into the lineup. Although a bum-knee, at the ripe age of 33 years old, for Dustin Pedroia does not spell retirement, it’s nice to see a version of this team that can succeed in his absence. We have not found our long-term Sox without the “laser show” solution. But the show must go on, and we’ve been lucky enough to find an under-qualified combination of players stepping up to put on a helluva performance.

Columnist operating out of Manchester, NH. Retired pitcher (unprofessional not amateur). Voracious consumer of all things Celtics and Red Sox. Sometimes I produce content as well.

Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Managerial Decision Seemingly Made Up

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Did anyone think that the Boston Red Sox would take their time when hiring their new field manager? According to one report the team is moving rather quickly

According to one report, the team is moving rather quickly to the point where their minds are already made up.

“There is a 99.9 percent chance of [Cora] being named Red Sox leader,” a source told Puerto Rico’s El Nuevo Dia. “They want him for the job. That post is for him. Alex is very beloved there. And he would love to run Boston. They want to make the fast decision.”

Cora is currently serving as the bench coach for the Houston Astros, a team that is battling it out with the New York Yankees for the chance to go to the World Series. Boston isn’t the only suitor for the former player however. Cora is set to meet with the New York Mets on Tuesday and is also expected to be of interest to other teams like the Philadelphia Phillies.

But the interest between Boston and Cora is mutual and a report from Puerto Rico confirms that. Cora played for the Red Sox during his career and was part of the 2007 Wolrd Series team. At the time he was considered an excellent leader on the team that had all the intangible qualities of one daying being an excellent coach. Since his playing days, he has served as an ESPN Analyst, GM of Puerto Rico national team, coach in Puerto Rico’s baseball league, and now a bench coach for Houston.

If the Red Sox are able to bring in Cora it would be seen as if they had been grooming him for years and that he is their guy. With other suitors in tow, it looks like an offer from the Boston Red Sox to Cora is going to come rather quickly. And quite frankly, this is the best decision for the team.

Acquiring Cora is far superior to a long time mediocre manager like Ron Gardenhire or a failed first coach stinter like Brad Ausmus. Cora is both young and has some prior experience to bring to the table. The one real question with him is if he will be too buddy-buddy with the players, a very real possibility.

Red Sox fans seem to be rather torn on this topic, many seem to like the idea of an old manager like Gardenhire, while others favor Cora who was a fan favorite as a player. In reality the true intentions or favorite of the Red Sox is unknown, but for the moment, Cora looks like the lock.

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Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Manager Contestants Stepping Right Up

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Red Sox

On Wednesday the Boston Red Sox fired field manager John Farrell. With the departure of Farrell, the Red Sox must now conduct a full and wide search for their next manager. There are dozens of potential candidates for the job. The one choice that will have to be made is to either to go young or go old.

Fortunately for us, Dave Dombrowski gave a general outline of what he will be looking for in the next manager. In his post-firing presser, he mentioned that the candidate is unlikely to come from within.

That comment seemingly rules out a candidate like Chili Davis or Gary Ddisarcina.

In terms of experience, Dombrowski said “I think managerial experience helps. I don’t think it’s a 100% necessity.”. He also mentioned the importance of being in the dugout as experience. The last time Dombrowski hired a field manager he was in charge of the Detroit Tigers. The coach he hired at the time was Brad Asmus. So maybe that means he will go on the younger side.

If he goes young in terms of experience here is the list of potential candidates:

  • Brad Asmus: Asmus was let go by Detriot after having a rather shaky first tenure as a manager. He was hired by Dombrowski and has plenty of connections to New England. He will land somewhere this offseason.
  • Alex Cora: Direct connections to Boston and knows how the media is here. Well respected by players and has coached in Puerto Rico and is the bench coach for AJ Hinch’s Houston Astros.
  • Jason Varitek: Obvious connections here. But he has no actual experience as a coach in the dugout. He has helped with player development and scouting as a special assistant to the gm in Boston. But chances are he isn’t in the conversation.
  • Hensley Meulens: Speaks Spanish, English (and other languages), has extensive coaching experience and serves as the hitting coach for the Giants. Has coached the Netherlands in the WBC. There has been a rumor that Major League Baseball is encouraging the Red Sox to hire a coach of minority status. Meulens fits that bill.

In terms of an older/experiences option, there are a few. There is an opportunity here for Dombrowksi. That opportunity is to convince the well respected Jim Leyland to come out of retirement. Leyland though doesn’t seem interested in coaching again and decline to come to Boston a long time ago.

Below are few options for an experienced field manager:

  • Leyland
  • Torey Luvullo: Had a 93 win first season at the helm of Arizona. Could be convinced to leave to come back to Boston.
  • Joe Girardi: Could be on his way out of New York. Is a noted good in-game manager.
  • Ron Gardenhire: Former Twins manager and currently a bench coach for the Diamondbacks. This kind of smells to me though.

What way will Dombrowski go with is anyone’s guess. This process can take awhile with the team needing to lock down a list and start the interview process. According to Dombrowski he always has a list of people for every position he might have to hire for. So, in theory, this could happen fairly quickly.

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Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Fire John Farrell

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John Farrell

On Wednesday morning the Boston Red Sox have announced that they have parted ways with field manager John Farrell.

Farrell has been the manager since 2013 and during his tenure, he led the team to 3 AL East division titles and a World Series Victory. The other two seasons happened to be two straight last-place finishes.

Farrell has been constantly criticized for his below average in game management, but being able to win 93 games when your team had turmoil and underperformances all season was impressive. While personally, I am not a supporter of him. I feel as if he often fails to get the credit he deserves.

But when it comes down to it, he is not the future at the helm for the Boston Red Sox.

According to the team, the process to find the next field manager will start immediately with Dave Dombrowski addressing the situation shortly.

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