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New Red Sox GM can't play chicken

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  October 12, 2011 11:15 AM

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New Red Sox GM needs to kick the bucket out of the Boston clubhouse

"Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son." – Dean Wormer.

The Red Sox turned their clubhouse into Delta House – now it's time for a new Red Sox GM to clean house.

Jersey Shore has nothing on Yawkey Way. The Red Sox have a situation – but instead of a six-pack of rock-hard abs, the Sox had too many pitchers with bloated bellies full of fried chicken and beer playing video games during real games.

Happy hour is over for Josh Beckett-Boston Red SoxForget the 100th anniversary of Fenway. Leave Sept. 8, 2012 open so Josh Beckett (or is it Buckett), John Lackey and Jon Lester can celebrate Colonel Sanders' 122d birthday. The new GM? Forget Ben Cherington, how about Frank Purdue, Jr.? Move over Wally, make way for Foghorn Leghorn. Forget those commemorative bricks, give us an extra side.

It's finger lickin' bad.

Somebody at Fenway couldn't wait to throw Terry Francona under the bus and then drag him from the back of the Red Line train from Park Street to Alewife. Leaving the Red Sox is a lot exiting the Mafia – except in Boston you get to hold a press conference before taking two to the back of the head.

Theo can run, but he can't hide with Steve Bartman. Now that he's headed for Wrigley Field, I'm just waiting for the leaks. ”… Team sources say Epstein was hiding Whitey Bulger in the back room next to Carmine for years … ”

There's no clock in baseball, but Theo's time was up. He never planned to stay at Fenway forever and that age-old complaint surfaced, through others of course, that poor little Theo didn't have time in nasty old Beantown to enjoy the simple things in life like dinner out with his family. News flash, Theo, you know who else doesn't have time to enjoy dinner with their family – the guy who's cooking your dinner, the waitress who served it and the folks who clear the table and wash the dishes. Maybe you can lunch with Bartman after the Cubs win the World Series in 3004.

Theo was GM when the Red Sox won two World Series. No one else alive can say that. He inherited several players (Pedro, Derek Lowe, Manny, Jason Varitek, etc.) who were key to 2004 but the ’07 title was nearly all him. His place in Red Sox history is secure. Given his financial leeway – thanks again to all of us who buy tickets, merchandise and pay for NESN through our cable and satellite bills each month – his record at player acquisition (or long-term contract commitment) is at best average. For every Gonzalez, Curt Schilling, David Ortiz and Beckett – there's a Lackey, Drew, Dice-K and Beckett.

Theo Epstein-Boston Red Sox will be trying to end every curse for the Chicago CubsLest we forget Julio Lugo, Bobby Jenks and, last but most certainly least, Edgar Renteria – who holds a special place in our hearts for making the last out for St. Louis in 2004 before earning $40 million for his efforts. Theo's record in the draft might put Bill Belichick to shame – among his choice picks Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jonathan Papelbon and Pedroia. Again – credit where credit is due.

The last four years of Theo's regime saw the Red Sox go steadily in the wrong direction. From World Series champs in 2007, to losing Game 7 of the ALCS in '08, to getting swept out of the 1st round of the playoffs in '09, to missing the postseason in '10 to missing the playoffs in historic fashion in '11. Yes, they had one more win (90) this year than last – but this year was remarkably worse given the way it ended. Apathy, chaos and poor play engulfed the Red Sox and Theo was not only in charge of baseball operations but responsible for getting most of the players who failed to perform. Good luck with the Cubs.

But wait, there's more.

Now team sources want us to believe that Francona was in a "Francoma" and partly incapacitated by his use of pain pills (ones similar to those he was taking when he went 8-0 in the World Series), unable to cope because of the end of a near-30-year marriage and too concerned about the fate of his son and son-in-law – both of whom are serving our nation as Marine Corps officers in Afghanistan – to worry about the fact that Beckett's waistline was growing faster than Lackey's ERA.

Terry Francona-Boston Red Sox got slammed by

For anyone on the Red Sox to imply that Tito's use of pain medication and family concerns somehow left him helpless in his office is disgraceful. (Payback for the Popeye shirt, perhaps?) Despicable you, Red Sox. If those team sources didn't raise this issue, then Tito would not have had to comment to defend himself. Unforgivable. Millions of people use prescription pain medication and function just fine. Tito failed to lead the Red Sox out of their September slide. He hadn't won a playoff game in three years. He should have been fired. But he doesn't deserve a firing squad.

Was Tito's pain medication so strong that it affected Carl Crawford's ability to catch or Lackey's inability to reach the 6th inning? Don't think so. Did concerns about Tito's son and son-in-law's safety in Afghanistan force J.D. Drew out of the lineup with a torn cuticle? Doubt it. Did Francona's marital problems tell Adrian Gonzalez to hit .250 over the last week of the season? Nope.

"We have to hold ourselves more accountable. That has nothing to do with the manager or coaches. On the great major league teams, players police each other, so we’ll get back to doing that," Dustin Pedroia told the Globe. That, my friends, is just another reason why he should be Red Sox player-manager next season.

None of this exonerates ownership, whose pathetic attempt to make the boys happy with fancy headphones and a spin on John Henry's yacht is further evidence of their utter cluelessness. 712 straight sellouts can obscure a lot of problems from the owner's suite. The baseball subsidiary of Fenway Sports Management would not have gotten past the first round of the playoffs this year. The silver lining in all of this, as Theo hinted back on Black Wednesday, was that the Red Sox's collapse would give them the impetus to make some big changes.

These changes can't stop with management. The next GM must rid the team of either Lackey or Beckett (or both). Their continued presence at Fenway next season would be an unmitigated disaster. At the least, pick one, convince ownership to eat the remainder of his contract if necessary and get him out of here. The Red Sox have a "Muddy Chicken," they don't need "Big Extra Crispy." Can we deal Lackey for a $25 Popeye's gift certificate?

It's also time to cut all ties to 2004 (except Youkilis, who was barely on the team). An ideal roster would consist of four or five players who know what it's like to win and 20 or-so others eager for their first Duck Boat parade. So long Captain Varitek. Cap'n Crunch would have had a better handle on this clubhouse. See you later, Tim Wakefield. Trust us, we'll get over not seeing you get that Red Sox all-time win record. Big Papi? Adios. You'll have plenty of Yankees fans to hug in the Bronx. We'll see you in 2014 for the 10-year reunion.

There is hope. Crawford – who at least tried to show leadership – can only get better next season. And he will. Gonzalez is a triple-crown threat. Youkilis is a cornerstone at third when healthy. The Red Sox need to make every reasonable effort to re-sign Papelbon and – if necessary – break their no-arbitration rule with Ellsbury for the next couple of years if Scott Boras won't be reasonable. If anything, Ellsbury will be motivated as ever to repeat his MVP-like performance for two more seasons before getting his $250 million as a free-agent.

If the Red Sox want to really outdo themselves – there's always Albert Pujols (who could split DH/1st base duties with Gonzalez), C.J. Wilson and C.C. Sabathia – who at this point would probably be the slimmest guy in their rotation.

We have all winter to think about it.

Unfortunately.

As always, post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail them to me at obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. And don't forget to follow us on twitter @realOBF. Thanks for reading. Pass the clicker (after you wipe that chicken grease off your fingers).

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Obnoxious Boston Fan offers a fun, unique and biting perspective on the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and whatever else people are talking about in the world of sports. We More »
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