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More inquiries on managers, trades, free-agents. What else?
I made the comment on Twitter @nickcafardo that the first two managerial candidates interviewed (Peter Mackanin and Dale Sveum) didnít knock my Sox off. A few folks wrote back and asked whether Terry Francona knocked my socks off eight years ago? Well, not completely, but I had been impressed with Francona long before because I covered him when he was the manager with Birmingham (AA, White Sox) managing Michael Jordan.
I was very impressed with the way a young Francona handled that circus and felt he would do a good job in Boston. Francona also had previous managerial experience in a big market (Philadelphia).
So while I wasnít doing handstands when he was hired, I understood it and I understood why they chose Francona over Joe Maddon at the time Ė experience. Iíd sure endorse Joe Maddon now.
Iím already on record as endorsing Bobby Valentine. I like the toughness and I like the experience.
Here we go:
For all the talk of trading Kevin Youkilis, I'd be looking to deal him to Cincinnati. They are abysmal at 3B and they have a young starter who could be available in Johnny Cueto. What do you think?
RSN, Reno, Nev.
Well, sounds good. But they still have Scott Rolen at third and Joey Votto at first base. Rolen is 36 but should be fully recovered from shoulder surgery by the start of the season and heís still a very good third baseman. I know Youkilis would love to go home and play I still donít see that scenario playing out.
When will Daisuke Matsuzaka return from his arm problems?
Don, Charleston, S.C.
He should be ready to go around or after the All-Star game . At least thatís the projection. Heís sticking to his program down in Fort Myers. Iím sure agent Scott Boras wants him to come back healthy and have a good couple of months or six weeks in time for a new deal.
How many asinine Felix Hernandez trade proposals do fans send you on a weekly basis?
Will, Roslindale, Mass.
Probably 10-20 a week, but thatís OK. Might as well shoot high. At least theyíre identifying the right guy.
Do you think the Red Sox will sign Jose Reyes?
Andrew, Peabody, Mass.
Another big Reyes fan right here. Heís the one guy Iíd go for and then trade Jose Iglesias off for pitching. But I'm not sure the Sox will go that route. They feel with another half-year or so, Iglesias will be their long-term solution at short.
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Is the door really open for the Sox to talk to John Farrell? I think he's the perfect guy for them -- for a lot of reasons.
Robert, Valrico, Fla.
It was. The Sox really wanted Farrell, but once the news started getting out, Toronto put out a statement that it wonít let any employee leave for a lateral position. Hmmm, maybe they can name Farrell the ďVice President of Onfield Management. ď
I'm afraid St. Louis may take Bobby Valentine before the Red Sox even interview him. He is by far the most qualified and by far the best fit for our Sox. Why is ownership dinking around?
Dana, Los Angeles
Donít know what they have against him. Heís his own man and wouldnít go along with the front-office control of the manager that the Red Sox, at least under Theo Epstein, preferred. He would be entertaining and a disciplinarian and those who have played for him feel heís one of the best in-game managers around.
Given the way the compensation issue for Theo Epstein remains unresolved, would it make sense for the Sox to change their policy regarding granting permission to teams to interview employees under contract? What I am suggesting is that they require agreement on what the compensation would be if they sign the Sox employee before the Sox grant permission.
Scott, Camp Hill, Penn.
Not a bad thought. I think it happens so infrequently that spending time on a policy that you may implement once in a blue moon might be impractical.
Will Red Sox president Larry Lucchino let GM Ben Cherington do his job and stay out of the day-to-day baseball operations? Along those same lines, didn't Theo leave Boston to take a job similar to Lucchino's? Why then is there so much talk already about how much credit Theo would get for bringing a championship to the Cubs as well? Wouldn't it be more appropriate for Cubs new GM Jed Hoyer to reap the accolades?
George, Bethlehem, Penn.
The jobs are different. Lucchino is president of the entire organization and he lets Ben Cherington do his thing on the baseball side, though heís signing off on things more than he did with Theo there. Theo is the head of baseball operations, and therefore still involved in the day-to-day running of the team, the contracts, trades, etc., even though he has Jed Hoyer as his GM.
Do you think the Sox might try to sign Scott Kazmir to a minor-league contract with the chance of making the big club?
Don, Tarpon Springs, Fla.
I see no problem with something like that. If he makes it, fine; if he doesnít, nothing ventured, nothing gained. As long as you donít go into it feeling he needs to be a big part of your rotation, youíll be fine. Texas took that chance with Brandon Webb and it didnít work, but it didnít hurt them at all. Ben Sheets might be worth a look as well.
Now that John Lackey will be lost for the 2012 season, how much of his guaranteed salary is covered by insurance? And wouldn't this be a bad time to trade Kevin Youkilis, coming off of two injury-marred seasons?
Michael, Devonshire, NJ
Insurance stuff is kept very confidential. Once in a while I get something. In Lackeyís case, I know they put the clause in his contract that if he misses time with Tommy John surgery, the Red Sox have the option of bringing him back for a sixth year at the minimum salary. I know the Red Sox insure some of their bigger contracts, or at least part of them, but itís very costly. As for Youkilis, it probably would be a bad time to deal him. There is a shortage of third basemen, however.
Will the Red Sox go after Carlos Beltran?
Paul, Rutland, Mass.
I think they will. They liked him last off-season. Liked him at trading deadline. Why wouldnít they like him now with RF up for grabs?
Why all the talk of cutting ties with Josh Beckett? I understand he hasn't had the amount of innings per season that is ideal, but it would seem strange to trade one of the few reliable starters we've got. What am I missing here?
Amy, Grafton, Mass.
You're not missing anything. He didnít exhibit leadership skills this season. Maybe all of the bad publicity will wake him up and realize his role on this team. I think the pitchers Ė if they have any personal pride Ė will try to change the perception they now have in Red Sox Nation. I think in the end this will be a good thing for the Red Sox in that players will be accountable. Beckett isnít going anywhere.