Red Sox Notes: Francona, Epstein, Ortiz, Papelbon

On September 3, the Red Sox had a 99.6% chance of making the postseason, according to statistican Nate Silver.  The next day, Silver notes that Bill Buckner played himself on an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm that spoofed Buckner's legendary World Series error.  The Sox went 6-18 after Buckner's cameo.  As Larry David himself would say, that is a prett-ay, prett-ay, prett-ay big coincidence.

Some notes from Boston as the fallout continues from the Red Sox' legendary collapse….

  • Theo Epstein and Terry Francona met with the media today, and Alex Speier from WEEI had the details.  Epstein said that the team had just finished an initial review of its baseball personnel and wouldn't make any decisions for a few days yet. 
  • Epstein said that Francona wasn't being singled out as the cause for Boston's collapse.  "That would be totally irresponsible and totally short-sighted and wouldn’t recognize everything he means to the organization and to all our successes, including, at times, in 2011,” Epstein said.  “So we take full responsibility for what happened, all of us. Collectively it was a failure….I’m the general manager so I take more responsibility than anybody. I don’t think we believe in – I know we don’t believe in scapegoats. In particular, no one blames Tito for what happened in September. Look, we all failed collectively."
  • Epstein dismissed rumors about his connection to the Cubs' general manager's job as "just speculation."
  • Francona said he wasn't yet prepared to discuss his future with the Sox, saying last night's devastating result was "still pretty fresh and pretty raw."  The manager said he and Epstein would sit down within the next few days.
  • Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated hears from several "baseball people" that Francona and the Sox could mutually decide to part ways.  If Francona does leave, it probably won't be to the White Sox, as Heyman hears Chicago "may go younger" (both Twitter links).
  • Epstein said the club would examine its process for evaluating free agents, given the failures of John Lackey, Carl Crawford and past free agents like Matt Clement and Julio Lugo.  Though Lackey and Crawford struggled this season, Epstein said the team will do everything possible to get both players back up to par for 2012.
  • Epstein praised the performances of David Ortiz and Jonathan Papelbon, saying he hopes the Sox can figure out a way to bring both pending free agents back to Boston this winter.
  • Peter Gammons thinks Lackey may have to be traded for another bad contract like Barry Zito or Carlos Zambrano, reports WEEI.com's Paul Flannery.  "I'm not sure John is ever going to fit in Boston again. I understand how upset he is but I think it's going to be hard for fans to warm up to him again," Gammons said.  Gammons notes that other teams who suffered late-season breakdowns underwent major organizational changes, though he thinks Francona will return as manager.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney looks at some key figures on the Red Sox and Braves whose status is in question in the wake of both teams' terrible Septembers.  Olney thinks Lackey has to be moved, predicts changes to Boston's coaching staff and hears it's "highly unlikely" Epstein leaves, though friends of the GM say he would embrace the challenge of running the Cubs.
  • Jim Donaldson of the Providence Journal thinks Epstein should take the fall for building a roster with too many holes.


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48 Comments on "Red Sox Notes: Francona, Epstein, Ortiz, Papelbon"


Rabbitov
3 years 11 months ago

The Sox collapsed but I have never seen an organization overreact so badly to anything.  Time to fire the manager? Replace the players? Find a scapegoat? The team finished with 90 wins.  +138 differential. Stop your bloody crying and get on with it.  This is baseball, and baseball in the toughest division in the world maybe in any sport.  Expectations don’t mean crap. Just shut up and look forward to and build toward next season.

Sometimes you don’t accomplish everything you want in a season, but this isn’t the bloody sinking of the Titanic. 

notsureifsrs
3 years 11 months ago

worst thing about rooting for the red sox? most of the other people that root for the red sox

johnsilver
3 years 11 months ago

Truer words were never spoken. Then couple that with the cryingest media known to mankind located in NE and whallah… A double whammy. Just not enough tissues to go around.

That providence journal story.. Just curious on your take… When the season started, I thought the bench was weak, as in backup OF since Cam was coming back from the abdominal injury, but if he came back healthy they would have been as solid as any Sox team I have ever had the pleasure to watch.

3 years 11 months ago

Wrong.

Rabbitov
3 years 11 months ago

You sure told me. 

Kirk Vance
3 years 11 months ago

They have to make some changes. The Rays and Yankees aren’t going to get worse in the offseason. But Francona shouldn’t be the one to blame. 

notsureifsrs
3 years 11 months ago

i am a red sox fan, and that is way too many red sox notes (still love you MLBTR)

twenty1thirteen
3 years 11 months ago

Greatest collapse ever! Final tip of the hat to the O’s.

StanleyHudson
3 years 11 months ago

Then again, you are taking Lackey off our hands…..

bomberj11
3 years 11 months ago

Alright, to be fair, I don’t think anyone predicted Crawford’s huge regression. You can’t judge it yet. 

hscphillyboy
3 years 11 months ago

Lackey & Crawford for a bowl of CHOWDAH !

GoAwayNow
3 years 11 months ago

derp

Pawsdeep
3 years 11 months ago

Anyone remember when Vmart said he went to the Tigers because he wanted to play for an organization that gave him the best chance to win?

Remember how he was mocked for it?(this site being guilty as hell)

Maybe he was onto something…just sayin’…

melonis_rex
3 years 11 months ago

Because Francona could so predict Carl Crawford’s epic fail 2011. 

3 years 11 months ago

Because Carl Crawford was entirely to blame. He wasn’t far enough off of his career numbers to deserve this vitriol -he just never deserved the contract in the first place.

notsureifsrs
3 years 11 months ago

he’s been a 5+ WAR player for 7 years and and 6-7 WAR guy for the last two. this year: 0.2

he’s obviously not entirely to blame, but deserves every ounce of vitriol

MaineSox
3 years 11 months ago

He basically said as much himself

3 years 11 months ago

I can hear John Lackey’s mouth breathing from my house, and I’m 30 miles from Boston! Get him out of here, please!

Kirk Vance
3 years 11 months ago

I hate when people call Matt Clement a poor signing.  He was 12-1 and an all-star and after a liner off the head he was never the same.  If that was an evaluation flaw, they must have absurd expectations. How do you predict someone taking a line drive off the head?

notsureifsrs
3 years 11 months ago

YEA OK FACT GEEK

johnsilver
3 years 11 months ago

As I recall (it was long ago) Clement became afraid to pitch anybody inside after that injury was why he stank it up so bad from then on.

Even Nolan Ryan and Steve carlton had to do that to be effective, much less a fair at best guy like Matt Clement.

3 years 11 months ago

If this were my team:
Francona will never live this down; he will go.
Lackey should have been gone months ago – dump him at any cost.
Pap won’t get a Mariano contract now.  If another good closer can be found, get him.
Ortiz had 8 RBIs in Sept. Offer him a year at $10MM with an option.
Deal Crawford as soon as you can value back for him, which might take a while.
If Epstein would “embrace the challenge of running the Cubs”, let him.

notsureifsrs
3 years 11 months ago

if this were your team, it would never win again

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 11 months ago

Weird I remember Mariano Rivera blowing game 7 of the World Series and it was his blown save that gave the Red Sox momentum (before Ortiz’s big home run) that lead to an epic collapse.

Get over it. One blown save. Blame Jon Lester and Josh Beckett who are supposed to be the leaders of that staff who pitched like garbage the last 2 weeks of the season.

3 years 11 months ago

It’s not a matter of blaming anyone for the collapse.  It’s that Papelbon will forever be the face of it.  Mariano blew a WS save on a bouncer up the middle; Pap blew the pennant on three rockets.

Kirk Vance
3 years 11 months ago

Crawford’s not going anywhere.
If someone would take Lackey, I’m sure the Sox would make that deal, but what did he show this season that would make a team want to take him?
If there was a chance of Theo leaving, my guess is that this collapse put an end to that. There’s now a challenge here, and he’d be leaving at an all time low.

KDN8
3 years 11 months ago

Red Sox, it isn’t how you “evaluate” free agents that’s the problem… The problem is that you have consigned to building a team with free agents.  There are many problems with this!  It weakens your farm system, driving up the prices of the free agents you sign.  Team cohesion is difficult to build.  AND, it’s simply a gamble.  Crawford performed well in a low-pressure environment with the same team for almost a decade.  Automatic success in a completely new environment would have been incredible, but not normal.  It is fitting that they lost out to the Rays since the Rays have adopted the “from within” perspective with an occasional FA to help.  Teams like the Sox and Yanks just don’t quite get it.  They end up lacking soul, which is a significant part of the game.  The way a team plays together is more important than how an individual played last year with a different team. (Don’t get me wrong, individual performance is important, too… just take what I mention here as precautions)

moondog45
3 years 11 months ago

As a non Red Sox fan I think they were just bored to death. Five hour nine inning games are unwatchable. You couldn’t pay me to watch a Sox/Yankee game. Get rid of the DH and play baseball.

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 11 months ago

You’re right, that’s the reason they collapsed…

Give me a break. When those two teams are at their best, fighting for a post season spot, those are the most intense games.

MaineSox
3 years 11 months ago

I don’t know man, I bet they were pretty bored during game 162…

moondog45
3 years 11 months ago

I picked it up in the eighth inning. The other 161 were the problem.

moondog45
3 years 11 months ago

I picked it up in the eighth inning. The other 161 were the problem.

moondog45
3 years 11 months ago

Intense? Are you kidding me? If you don’t have a dog in the fight those games are awful. You can’t watch them. I’d rather watch a NBA doubleheader than that nonsense. I was joking about being bored to death but come on about being intense.

NYPOTENCE
3 years 11 months ago

The only reason you don’t feel the intensity is because your probably not a true baseball fan……so go ahead and watch your basketball doubleheaders

moondog45
3 years 11 months ago

I love baseball and don’t really care about basketball. You guys don’t have a sense of humor. There is something wrong with four hour nine inning games. You can’t really believe that is good for baseball. Yankees and RedSox are the worst offenders of thisThis is a reply to Reign of the Dynasty

wakefield4life
3 years 11 months ago

mark – I just wanted to say that promoting that sort of connection to Bill Buckner is in very poor taste.  His performance on that show had no correlation to the performance of the 2011 Red Sox.  Plus, he’s taken so much flack over the years that he moved west so he’d never have to see another red sox fan, and only recently was “forgiven” for his performance by red sox nation (which, that should really be the other way around).  After all the crap he’s taken for the past 25 years, he doesn’t need to have his name connected to one of the worst collapses in red sox history.  Everything wrong that happens with the red sox isn’t because of some action or inaction by Bill Buckner.  It should be left in the past.

3 years 11 months ago

Epstein should be fired for building a roster with too many holes? I’m a Twins fan and I could only hope to have these kind of holes. I’m not dialed in with the Red Sox here in Minnesota, but when you can go ellsbury, pedroia, youk, agon and ortiz to start a game thats a great start. They play in the ultra competitive AL East, and have 2 world series championships since 2004. Can everyone please settle down. If Epstein deserves to get fired, then Twins GM Bill Smith should be banished to work concessions and greet fans for 7.50$ an hour

Rabbitov
3 years 11 months ago

I don’t think you could get a jar of toenails for Lackey at this point. 

3 years 11 months ago

I’m sure the Angels want Lackey back.

StanleyHudson
3 years 11 months ago

Can’t see it happening. Wells bat would be a nice fit in the middle of the Red Sox line up but he’s owed 63 million for the rest of that deal and Lackey is only making around 45 mil. Making it about an 18 mil. difference. So if this were even to be considered, I’d want some money being sent over from LA.

3 years 11 months ago

I’d rather have Wells than Lackey. You can hide that salary easier in the line-up than you can in the first three rotation spots.

woadude
3 years 11 months ago

You don’t get it at all, let me break it down to you like this, I have a car that drives good for 63 million, you cannot sell it for 63 million, cars depreciate, and then I have this car for 45 million that just can’t seem to get the engine to turn over sometimes, I mean it runs, just doesn’t perform. If you had the 45 million dollar car and a guy was going to trade you his 63 million dollar car you don’t point out yours cost less, you do the trade and get production.

melonis_rex
3 years 11 months ago

Not really. Spot starter and mop up duty. There’ll always be close to zero leverage innings and garbage time for a pitcher and all sorts of dregs get spot starts. Every team, even those with the best pitching staffs, carries 1-2 garbage time pitchers. 

Wells takes up a roster spot that could go to a productive bench player. 

RedSx799
3 years 11 months ago

Thing is he even sucked in no pressure situations — the June starts against the Royals or the really bad teams.

notsureifsrs
3 years 11 months ago

he’d suck much much less in pitcher-friendly AL West stadiums against pitcher-friendly AL West lineups. also he wasn’t bad last year

oleosmirf
3 years 11 months ago

so that leaves Jason Bay still an option…

abes_seed
3 years 11 months ago

Wells = Jar of toenails. Deal done, let’s move on.

Bernaldo
3 years 11 months ago

This is quite probably the worst analogy that has ever appeared in MLBTR!