This year’s World Series representatives, the Cubs and Indians, have benefited from the Red Sox’s September collapse in 2011, as Ken Davidoff of the New York Post observes. After the Red Sox blew a nine-game lead in the wild-card race that year, the team parted with two-time World Series-winning manager Terry Francona, who is now one victory away from helping the Indians to their first championship since 1948. The executive who hired Francona in Boston, Theo Epstein, departed after that season to take over the Cubs, with whom he has built what should be a long-term contender. And two of his veteran free agents signings in Chicago, starters Jon Lester and John Lackey, were at the center of a memorable controversy with the Sox in 2011. Along with fellow starter Josh Beckett, Lester and Lackey made a habit of drinking beer, eating fried chicken and playing videogames in the clubhouse during games in which they weren’t pitching. The Red Sox didn’t ax any of those pitchers because of it, though, as each was on the team in 2012. They eventually traded Beckett to the Dodgers in August 2012, while Lester and Lackey were part of the franchise’s latest championship squad in 2013.
More from around the majors:
- Speaking of Lester, the fact that he’s no longer with the Red Sox is “inexplicable,” opines Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald. The club selected Lester in the second round of the 2002 draft and helped develop him into a star, but it then traded him to the Athletics in the midst of a non-contending season in 2014. The Red Sox got Yoenis Cespedes in return and later flipped him for rotation stalwart Rick Porcello, so it wasn’t a total loss for Boston. The Sox could have ended up with both Lester and Porcello, but they were unwilling to match the Cubs’ winning offer for the then-free agent left-hander in December 2014. Lester will take the ball in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday and attempt to help Chicago, down 3-1, keep its title hopes alive.
- The Astros are a fit for catcher Brian McCann if the Yankees shop him during the offseason, opines the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, who cites both Houston’s need for a left-handed bat and backstop Jason Castro’s status as a soon-to-be free agent. With catcher/designated hitter Evan Gattis joining Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Alex Bregman and Yulieski Gurriel, the Astros are slated to have at least six right-handed batters in their lineup next year. McCann would add balance, and serve as an offensive upgrade over Castro, while likely alternating with Gattis behind the plate and at DH. There are potential roadblocks in the way of a McCann deal, however, including the 32-year-old’s full no-trade clause and the $34MM left on his contract through 2018.
- With Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and Brad Ziegler all set to become free agents, the Red Sox are likely to focus heavily on their bullpen during the offseason, writes Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald. Drellich doesn’t expect the Red Sox to go after the top soon-to-be available relievers – Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon – instead listing Sergio Romo, Drew Storen and Boone Logan as a few possibilities they could pursue on the open market. While the popular belief is that the Red Sox will go after Edwin Encarnacion to replace the retired David Ortiz at DH, Carlos Beltran is also a possible target, Drellich suggests. Boston was among the teams interested in Beltran before the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline, but the archrival Yankees ultimately dealt him to the Rangers.
The Tigers should work a trade with the Yankees for Brian McCann as a platoon with James McCann.
Bullshit the Red Sox were “unable” to match the Cubs’ offer. If they’d been willing to offer a proven winner a starting offer of 5 years/$100 million, they might’ve gotten the deal done. Instead, they let Larry Lucchino insult him with a lowball offer, declined to to go as “high” as 7 years/$144 million, and now the team has David Price at twice the money and an not remotely the postseason success. It really does make me ill…
Point taken. I changed “unable” to “unwilling.”
This is very true, especially relating to spring. I’m pretty sure Lester said he would have taken something like 5/100 in spring, but instead Luccino/Cherington totally insulted him. And now as you say, they’re stuck with a worse southpaw for more money
Couldn’t have said it any better. To this day it still makes me cringe every time I think about it.
I’ll go to my grave believing that something in the Lester “no-gotiations” smelled bad. The team DID make a low-ball offer, but a player doesn’t take his ball and glove and walk away sulking. They come back with a figure and the two parties continue on. Lester acted like a child the whole time, then (even before he “chose” the Cubs), sold his home in Newton, Mass. Still doesn’t sound suspicious? Bottom line is I firmly believe that Epstein tampered with Lester the previous spring and told him to NOT accept Boston’s offer since the Cubs would top it, regardless.
That’s a lot of supposition. The first Boston Lester offer was a serious low-ball. And not every player who leaves the Red Sox is, by definition, sulking, acting like a child, and tampered with.
tinfoil hat, on!
I believe that Lester was abducted and is actually an alien cyborg that was programmed to pitch. The reason he can not throw to bases is because his programming was only intended for 60 ft 6 inches. Theo Epstein is also an alien from the same planet. He used his telepathy to speak to Cyborg-Lester during the entire negotiation process. This is all an evil conspiracy cooked up by the aliens from the planet Lepstein as a way to screw the red sox.
LOL, love it.
With due respect to Mr. Sherman, he should probably spend a little time researching more about how the Astros evaluate catchers. Seems exceedingly unlikely that McCann is anywhere near their radar.
Who is the upgrade over McCann? They don’t seem to be getting any good ones.
Re-signing Castro would be a much better option than McCann.
Castro is not half the player of McCann!
I guess that depends on how you evaluate catchers. The Astros (and many other SABR minded teams) tend to prioritize pitch presentation over anything else, and McCann (who’s hardly a catcher at all anymore) has graded out pretty poorly as a Yankee in that regard.
Not half the player, huh. Yankees homer much? McCaan had a 1.3 fwar and castro had 1.1 fwar in 120 less PA. Might want to actually look at their stats before just making yourself look stupid.
Why don’t you have a job with the astros since you seem to know what’s best for the team and what deals they would and wouldn’t do. I bet there’s a 100 % chance that you don’t know at all how they really evaluate players just like everyone else that doesn’t work for them. Teams make decisions that us as fans could never understand the reasoning
Might want to ask yourself why he had 120 less at bats, and look at their all time WAR, McCann might be 5 times better! If he hit in that humidity in Houston he would have had 30/ 85
A’s trading Céspedes to Sox had a brutal impact on the Athletics’ line up. They were never the same that season ultimately losing that playoff game to the Royals in 2014…
the A’s lost their mojo after trading cespedes, and then the following year donaldson, and next sonny gray will be traded
Two quick point:
1) No disrespect meant, Connor. My comment wasn’t meant to be a slam on your writing. To be honest, I’ve been furious with the Red Sox ownership/management for years. So when I call bullshit, it’s bullshit that they were unable.
2) And with that in mind, I’ll lay blame for the “no-gotiations” (a great term, BTW) squarely on the ownership. They botched it from the get-go and tried to do what they do worst an spin it. Of course Lester sold his house – based on the initial insult of an offer, he knew he probably wouldn’t be coming back.. And every non-local news source had Lester saying the right things; it was the Boston media that portrayed him as anything less than professional (not surprising, since Henry owns one of the local papers). My belief is that Epstein took advantage of a good player relationship and the knowledge of Lucchino’s methods to sign the player. If the Sox had ever wanted him, they would’ve gotten him, Cubs money be damned.
…hrm…maybe not so quick…
No worries, schecky. I didn’t infer any disrespect, but thanks!
Why is this even an issue? Jon Lester signed with the team that offered him the most money like 99% of free agents ever. That was his plan all along. If the Sox had offered him more than the Cubs, he would have signed with them. Even with the Sox trading him at the deadline.
McCann & Holder for Bregman. HOUSTON gets their catcher and a potential elite closer. NY gets their 3rd baseman of the future.
A meh catcher and a relief prospect for arguably the best prospect in the game.. umm.. why would the Astros do that? Bregman could headline a deal for Sale or Archer.. not Brian McCann
So, in other words, the chicken and beer issue has nothing to do with anything, other than being a topical throw in. Waste of space, really.
A Tribe Fan’s Midday Fantasy
Twas the day of the seventh game and all through the land,
Indian fans were silently rooting for the team from Cleveland.
The hats and jackets were hung by the door,
Knowing we would don them tonight for our team,
Pacing back and forth again and again,
We nervously hoped to complete our World Series dream.
With John Adams’ drum pounding deep in our brain
We had difficulty focusing on things such as our work,
Much less talking to coworkers or writing reports.
When out in the parking lot there arose such a clatter,
We sprang from our desks to see what was the matter.
When what to our wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature scooter and a whole baseball team!
With a little old driver so lively and merry
We knew in a moment he must be St. Terry!
He whistled, and shouted, and called the boys by name:
“Now Kluebot and Bryan and Andrew and Cody,
Now Carlos and Jose and Jason and Frankie,
Now Roberto and Rajai and Coco and Lonnie
Get the rest of the guys on down to the Jake.
And when we win after a nine-inning rout,
We will party at Napoli’s and all over town.
We’ll party in the Flats and Shaker Square too,
We’ll party in Parma. How’s that sound?”
And putting some bubble gum deep in his mouth,
He hopped on his scooter and drove down the street.
But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight:
“Happy World Series to all, and to all a great Tribe night!”