Red Sox social media site SawxHeads.com conducted a Q&A session via e-mail with Red Sox assistant GM Jed Hoyer, in which readers posed questions to the executive. The most interesting tidbit comes at the end, when Hoyer relays a story about he and Theo discovering Curt Schilling was using a "Negotiating for Dummies" manual of some sort in his pre-trade negotiations with the Red Sox. The following is a transcript ...
TedWilliams9: It's time to finally honor Tony C., besides some seats. How about retiring his number as a sign of respect?
Jed Hoyer: The 'retired number' debate is one that rages in every organization, probably even more in one like this with so much history. Tony C is certainly worthy of debate. There are others like Boggs, Rice, Evans, Malzone, Pesky and many more who deserve to be discussed as well. The Red Sox have very strict criteria for retired numbers and that has limited the number to only a select few. In my opinion, it should only be for a select few. Others can and will disagree with that.
fulbob: Hi Jed ! I am really pleased with the direction that the "team" has taken in regards to the makeup of the Sox. I am looking forward to the day when all players will have come through the system and we will be void of free agents. Then we will truly be a Red Sox team. My question is.... eventually these great young players will reach free agency and will command more money. Do you as an organization have any plan set in place for that eventuality? Or, don't you look that far ahead and just let things play out as the course runs.
JH: Thanks, Bob. Yes, we are very pleased that we have been able to get younger at the major league level. Our homegrown players have been a big part of our success the last few years and we think our scouting and player development departments will continue their stellar work in the future. Our goal is to put the best team possible on the field and, therefore, we will always need to plug some holes through trades and free agency. Our goal is to reduce our dependence on those sources as much as possible. It is certainly true that eventually (sooner than we think) our current young players will be into the arbitration and free agent processes. We have spent a lot of time looking at our five-to-seven-year outlook and thinking about how to best handle that financial puzzle.
Anonymous: Do you ever use social networks as tools to research prospects? Has a prospect's online profile (facebook/myspace) ever influenced a draft decision?
JH: Our area scouts are responsible for doing exhaustive background checks on our players. They do everything from meeting with the kids to interviewing principals, teachers, coaches, random people they meet in the town, etc. We go through steps to get as thorough a psychological profile as possible. Those social networking sites can provide some information - they are often quite entertaining - but it is our job to dig much deeper.
ILoveJacoby: When our pitchers last only two innings our bullpen can not pull off a win. Do you think this is going to cause us problems in the postseason? Is there a possibility of getting a guy that can pitch a good 5 innings out of the bullpen? Last year the Red Sox were the best team in baseball and when we fell to 1-3 in the ALCS against the Indians. I wasn't even nervous because we were the better team. This year the Angels are looking like the best team in the American League and they just dominate us and I'm a little nervous about it. We both know that pitching wins games in the playoffs, so someone really needs to step up. Beckett did a great job doing that the other night. I just hope our bullpen can get it together soon!
JH: Short starts are always a concern. During the first five months of the season, the concern is usually more with not jeopardizing the rest of the series due to an exhausted bullpen than winning that one game. Usually, when your starter gets knocked out in the first three innings that particular game is going to be an extreme uphill battle. For several years, Julian Tavarez was a huge asset in games like that because he could save the rest of the pen and occasionally give us a chance to chip away at the lead. This year we haven't had a true long guy and, therefore, we have had to piece those games together. Luckily, those games haven't occurred too often. In September, it is not something we worry about as much because we can carry many more pitchers with the expanded rosters.
Sox247365: What are your thoughts on the Rays as we approach the postseason. Did you ever think the Sox would be battling the Rays for the American League East?
JH: We have known for several years that the Rays were about to make the AL East a lot more difficult. The Rays have accumulated a lot of talent through the draft and have made some excellent moves at the major league level. Andrew Friedman and Matt Silverman deserve a lot of credit for being patient while their young talent was developing. The Rays are talented and well run. We are going to be battling with them for quite awhile.
Sox247365: What are your thoughts on Manny's departure and the arrival of Jason Bay? How has the clubhouse changed since the trading deadline?
JH: Jason Bay's transition to Boston has been as smooth as can be expected. Changing teams midseason, especially in a pennant race, is very difficult and Jason deserves a lot of credit for making the transition easily. His new teammates and coaches also deserve a lot of credit. Our guys go way out of their way to make sure that new players feel comfortable and wanted.
Sox247365: Tell us something we don't know about Thanksgiving with the Schillings? What do you think when you reflect on your trip to Arizona with Theo in 2003?
JH: I thought the most impressive thing about Schilling was that all he talked about during our three days of meetings was winning a World Series. We structured his vesting option and his escalators (his idea and now illegal) around us winning a World Series. He set up the negotiating room with the WS trophy behind him and wore his ring the whole time. Despite some injuries along the way, there aren't many trades/contracts that work out any better than that one. He really only pitched one playoff game for us (Anaheim in the '04 ALDS) when he was vintage 97 mph Schilling. Yet, he was 6-1 for us, with several dominant performances, in eight postseason starts. It is fun to think back on all of the things he said to Theo and me about winning World Series, giving the ball to him in big games, etc. and then think about how he pretty much did exactly what he told us he was going to do.
One thing you don't know... Curt took the very unusual step of representing himself. He was well prepared and detail oriented throughout the process. Whenever we would exchange offers, Curt would take it and then disappear to his office for an hour or so before responding. After we were done with the deal, I went into his office to find a quiet place to type up the final terms. On Curt's desk was 'Negotiating for Dummies' or 'My First Negotiation' or some such book. Theo and I just cracked up. Prior to leaving Curt's house for the press conference, Theo showed him what we had found. Curt thought it was pretty funny, though I think he was glad we found it after the fact.
therooster: In a recent edition of Barstool Sports it was implied that you drafted Jed Lowrie primarily because he looks just like you. Fact or Fiction?
JH: Fact. Hitting ability was just a lucky coincidence of the pick. Our area scout in Northern California that year finished off his extensive background questionnaire on Lowrie by writing, 'Basically, he is a clone of our own Jed Hoyer.' I have gotten a lot of misguided autograph requests since Lowrie has been in the big leagues. It is impossible for me not to turn when someone yells 'Jed, sign this' because there aren't exactly a lot of 'Jed's' out there.
This Q&A session was provided by the social media site SawxHeads.com. This community provides fans with access to news, blogs, photos and a fan ticket marketplace.