In Response to Re: A Realistic look at 2012: Part I
[QUOTE]In Response to Re: A Realistic look at 2012: Part I : I am less sanguine than you that "most of the rest will clean itself up." A dicey atmosphere on a sports team cannot be corrected quickly or easily, even if a drill sergeant is put in charge or if personal habits are altered. While I agree with you and Harness and others about how pitching sank the ship, the question remains as to why pitching sank the ship specifically and when it did. ( Young and the conditioning coaches were incompetent or too permissive? Hard to believe that if those observations are in the story they are the whole story. ) Things went on amongst players on this club. ( No one is denying this. ) Most of those players will be on this club in ST. Anyone who thinks that those things will go away of their own accord or can be made to go away by a strong hand is, IMO, dealing more in hope than in human reality. I fear that this spectacular nosedive will have a longer hangover than some folks appear to believe. I said "fear that," not "predict that." Let's move away from all the tittle-tattle, naughty newsies, gossip, reprimanding of posters for venting, etc. On ground level, this club, as it stands, has problems in the corner outfields, in the rotation, in middle relief, behind the plate defensively, and defensively on the left side of the infield. The team will probably try to address some if not all of these problems in the off-season. But just like "don't fix it if it ain't broken," something broken is not fixed until it's fixed. The evidence for that, one way or the other, won't be available until well into next year.
Posted by expitch[/QUOTE]Well there are a coupe of reasons why I am less concerned.
One thing is the team's record from May-August. Many of the "problems" are over blown and come to light in the search for what went wrong.
The search isn't hard to find. The team went 7-20 because they had a pitching staff that allowed over 7 earned runs in that stretch. The best offenses in baseball in 27 game stretch are going to average under 6 runs scored a game. It isn't good copy but there it is 7 plus allowed - 5 plus scored = lot's of losses.
The environment Francona created was very lax in many ways. It worked for years. It did not work when the team came under the great changes of frankly having to go with three and then four marginal staring pitchers every 5 turns.
Now as for in fighting, it is on every team to some extent. Here's how over blown some of this is IMHO (a pardon me if I use some acerbic wit the describe the many crisis that were a bigger deal than having to pitch Weiland, Miller, Wakefield and Lackey so often in September according to the media and much of RS Nation.
The manager was a drug addict with a dysfunctional home life (he's gone - who cares but isn't that juicy and certain covers up that the FO whiffed on the Lackey and Crawford signings and did too little too late to address roster weakness)
Youk annoyed guys trying to lead during the collapse (so what? 85% of the guys who ever played with Schill would probably say he ticked them off at some point in a very similar way). The worse thing about Youk's September was a sports hernia that did not allow him to play. Bit I am sure that this caused Miller and Weiland to be grease fires.
Ortiz was vocal at moments about wanting an extension, answered questions about it when asked rather than giving a cliche non-answer and we had the one incident with the manager's press conference ( who is now gone BTW). He may be back, he may not but is this why the RS pitching allowed over 7 runs a game during the collapse?
A-Gon when asked right after the final crushing defeat rather than railing on himself and his teammates for 10 minutes in a blue rant, the slug had ithe nsensitivity to say he guessed it just wasn't God's will. And when asked if he thought the RS very heavy night game - get away schedule (almost everybody home and road wants the higher drawing night games when the RS are in town) wore on him. He actually answered the question yes. OMG this is just awful huh?
Now let's get to the biggest crisis of all. The starting pitchers addiction to KFC, Budweiser and Madden 2012. May I start by saying that starting pitchers in MLB tend to run in their own pack, kind of the way offensive and defensive players do in the NFL. Cut the details out about what the guys did in the clubhouse during games it isn't that unusual that starting pitchers not scheduled to start or having completed a start go to the clubhouse during games. But the fix is so easy. The next manager radically limits the privilege. And this is a lot easier for a new voice to do, Tito knew that BTW and this was some of what he was talking about when he said it was a time for a new voice.
Let's say for a minute there were conditioning issues. Again new manager sets new rules and if a player strays he hits him with fines or with reduced PT. That will change fast.
I could go on about the RS comments about nutrition but I think they lost their way on this somewhere along the way and while not trying to dump on Terry, he must own a lot of that. When MLB and the MLBPA announced the tougher guidelines for drug testing many players expressed more concerns about the restrictions it was going to place on amphetamines use than they were about PEDs.
The RS at the time said they were going to radically change the foods and drinks they made available to players in their home and away clubhouses to counter act the lack of greenies to "pick guys energy up" as the season dragged on. KFC and beer even being available during the game suggests that they did not follow through or let it slide. Easily fixed.
Yes the roster structure was imperfect, but everyone in baseball's is. The RS just like any other year will go about making improvements where they can. The will look to improve RF if for no other reason that Ells could drop off by 10 HRs and 20 RBIs and will still be arguably the best lead-off guy in the sport. And yes they will try realy hard to make that a RH bat.
I am less concerned about the catchers, though I would not be shocked to see the RS try and get a younger back-up than Tek, so Salty's PT could be more challenged if necessary and/or Lavarnway making the big club by June if his AAA numbers hold over another 100 plus sample set.
I think the RS will live with the left side of IF unless Ortiz walks, in which case Youk will become a similar deployment to what Michael Young did in Texas this year. SS I think they wait out Iggy for the moment and live with some combination of Scoot, Aviles and no pop Jeff.
What team does not have to tweak it's BP after almost every season?
The big one of course will be starting pitching. Now I happen to have sadly come to the conclusion that Lackey needs to be subtracted. He has a thin skin and just became BF Dent, Bill Buckner, Johnny Mac and Grady Little all rolled into one testy, defensive body. Forget the possibility/probability of Lackey being a valuable bottom of the rotation pitcher going forward his personality and the market's mood will never work.
The RS will need to low risk high ceiling guys through trade or FA signings get a few and hope one sticks, like lots of teams have to every year. They are going to have to get about 130 starts from their opening day starting 5 and the aggregate ERA will need to be 4.50 or less. Every team in MLB is in that same position IMHO.
The reason I think the "white noise" can be altered Expitch is because in large part players regardless of of salary, want to play. And when they play they like to win because it is more fun than losing. They will have learned from this experience frankly. And a more structured environment will assist them on that road.
I read very little in the unwillingness of so many players to talk about the allegations. It a no gain exercise. That was obvious the last night in Baltimore when a deeply religious man said that he guessed it wasn't God's will and when asked about the schedule variances from San Diego to the mega attraction RS was tough was hard him in first year he actual said yes and then become the first victim of the which hunt. Right now, no matter what people say it will be spun in its worst light. It is like asking a guy if he is cheating on his wife. No matter what he says it is now alleged that he has a mistress.
They'll get past this and be a pretty good team because outside of two bad stretches they were a great team in 2011. Not without flaws because there never has been one of those, even WS champs often have flaws.
To me improving the core is the only way to go because only winning will take the stench off of the collapse. Blowing it up will feel great to a lot fans right until they realize in blowing it up the RS became Camden Yard North for half a decade "if" they got lucky with their trades and draft picks.
Just my take