Schilling on Manny…

Red Sox starter Curt Schilling called in to Boston sports radio station WEEI’s Mustard and Johnson program today and offered his opinion on Manny Ramirez’s trade request and several other topics.

It’s November now right… or it’s October… once a month. It happens (Manny’s trade request). It’s gonna happen. It’ll be out there and we’ll move on. So we get to rehash the same questions and answers that you’ve rehashed every year, every four months for the last three years. And it’s going to be the same answers and the same questions you had before. It’s gonna depend on the situation and I’m sure Theo will address it and whatever happens will be in the best interest of the Boston Red Sox when all things are said and done.

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The bottom line is there is no indispensable player on any team, in any sport and Manny is certainly, he’s probably the best right-handed hitter that I’ve ever put a uniform on with but no one player is going to get us that World Series that we’re going after next year and we have a good chance to win again if we’re healthy. He certainly makes you a better club, you’re gonna score more runs, but the fact of the matter is, there is no one guy and I trust in the fact that if Manny leaves Boston, which I hope doesn’t happen, but if he does leave Boston, that whatever players they bring in to either fill his role or use his salary for, we will be a better team come Opening Day next year. I feel confident enough in Theo that that’s exactly what will happen.

I think Manny is just looking for change more than anything, and I think that this coming up every … and that’s not to belittle his emotions and feelings, I talked to Manny about this a couple of times towards the end of the season and expressed my desire that I didn’t want him to go if he could find a way to make it here. I think one of the things that tends to really catch guys off guard is the attention you get off the field.

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Q: Does anybody ever talk to Manny and say “Manny it just doesn’t look good when you’re half trotting and going down to first base?” Does anybody ever pull him aside and ask him that?

You know what, those conversations are few and far between because I don’t think anybody … Manny knows, Manny knows what people think and feel about the things he says and does and he’s not as simple as people like to make him out to be. He’s a lot smarter than that. And I think sometimes he might do things to get actions and reactions like every other player at certain points but you know what, the bottom line was at the end of the season it’s 48 and 130, 140 RBIs and that’s what you have to live with. I’d love every teammate that I ever played with to run to first base as fast as he possibly can, it just doesn’t work out that way unfortunately, and I’m not sure why.

Q: Why isn’t Theo Epstein’s deal done yet?

I think because of the personalities involved more than anything. I don’t know if I can elaborate any more than that.

Q: What (organizational) structure or system works best?

I don’t think there is one. It’s very fluid, it moves and it goes in cycles. Every year everybody comes out and says ‘you know what, that’s the way to win a World Series’ then you try to mimic the World Series team from the year before, ‘we’re gonna make our organization do this and that, this and that.’ There’s never one way, the bottom line is you build a solid farm system, you build your big league club around pitching and defense, and guys that work the count, and you’re gonna be in it. That is, to me, at the core of the philosophy of how this organization is trying to develop. I don’t think there’s any one way. I don’t think that it’s the man…or I do think it’s the man, in this sense. People were talking I heard last week about ‘could they lose Theo and it’s just a system now where you could plug somebody in.’ I don’t believe that. I’ve believe I’ve been around Theo enough to know the guys is sharp. He’s ahead of the game. He’s just very situationally aware and I think losing him would be a very serious blow.

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Theo’s always asking players about personnel. There’s coaching changes we’ve made, that we’re gonna make and Theo understands how important those people are to the makeup of a baseball team, how important those guys are to having team chemistry in August when you’re dragging ass and you’ve got 35 guys sitting around wondering what the heck’s going on. When you have good people in secondary roles, or coaching roles, those things tend to play themselves out during the season.

Q: How important is Larry Lucchino?

Oh I can’t answer that. I’m not involved in their … Mr. (John) Henry and Mr. (Tom) Werner have been … I mean I’m happy. I’ve been happy since I’ve come here with the things that they’ve done here and the things that they’ve tried to do. I don’t know how that relationship works and how they interact.

If you don’t have a general manager that can act on his own for the most part — and I’m not talking about going out and spending $80 million to sign a player, I’m talking about day-to-day operations. If your general manager can’t act and react on his own, without worries of ramifications, then you’re going to have a dysfunctional general manager no matter how smart he is. It’s just not possible because general managers, in my opinion, they have a vision and that vision is what they want the organization to become, what they want the team on the field to become and they go about putting the organization and the team together by assembling personalities and players that fit that mold. He’s the only one with that vision. And he has the Jed Hoyers’ and the Josh Byrnes’ and guys like that to help him fill his vision out. That doesn’t mesh with a lot of times what the people in the owner’s box agree and believe in. I’m not saying that any one person agrees or disagrees with Theo or with his philosophies, I’m just saying that if you don’t let Theo act and react on his own, then you’ll make us a worse club and worse organization in the long run.

Quick responses to players by name:

Manny Ramirez: Hall of Fame hitter.

Keith Foulke: Hopefully healthy.

Kevin Millar: Never had a bad day in his life.

Johnny Damon: As hard-nosed and tough a player as I ever played with.

Q: What is it about Boston that David Wells and Manny want to get out of here? Is it the clubhouse limitations, because it’s so small?

No, no. Not at all. I think people expect it to be kind of like New York, but it can be smothering if you’re not ready for it. The sheer volume of media. The passion of the fans. It’s never-ending 12 months a year. And some guys just don’t adjust to it as well as they think they would.

From yesterday’s call into WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan show, Schilling also commented on David Wells’s trade request and the firing of Red Sox assistant trainer Chris Correnti:

Q: Do they have to trade David Wells? Would it be problematic if they said “David you’re under contract, sorry we’re not going to accommodate you?”

I don’t know. Define problematic. Talk a lot and say dumb stuff? I mean, no, Wellsy’s Well … I don’t know, I’d much rather have him than not have him but I think he’s in a situation now where financially he’s comfortable that if they don’t trade him he might not come back. I don’t know. I haven’t talked to him. I don’t know. His actions and reactions aren’t real easy to gauge and figure out.

On Correnti:

I think myself and probably 24 other guys have talked to Chris repeatedly over the last 7-10 days. I think that he was fired stunned us to say the least. I think there was a personality difference between the incoming medical group and some of the people that exist here now and I think that started last year when Dr. Morgan was fired but that’s I guess, as a player, you can have an opinion but it tends to really not matter in situations like this, when people that aren’t on the field are making the decisions and that’s unfortunate.

I’m not really sure (if it was a personality or philosophy conflict) and I would be speculating but probably a combination of both. But as a player I don’t care. That stuff doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me is that there’s people that I trust with my career in the clubhouse and around me on a daily basis. Honestly, I probably spend as much time in or at or around Chris Correnti as I did with my family this year, as did other players on this team and I have two years left in my career and I look at that job and that role and I see a guy who made it real easy for me to get what I needed to get done and not having that is a lot… I don’t know, it’s just disappointing. Mr. Henry wanted to bring in a new medical staff and wants to make this the premier medical situation in baseball and that’s he and Mr. Werner’s obviously their decision and it’s their franchise. It’s unfortunate to me that, again, I think the human element is not factored in nearly enough when it comes to decisions away from the players.

Q: Will Chris Correnti be part of your offseason preparation?

Absolutely. Absolutely. Chris will be a vital part of whatever happens with me over the next two years and I would imagine quite a few other guys that he had a major, major hand in. Because if you look at it going through this season, we did not have one pitcher go down with an arm injury, other than Wade (Miller) who came in with a preexisting condition. Chris is one of the, probably tied for me with the best I’ve ever been around on a baseball field as far as handling pitchers and getting pitchers ready, but he’ll be in baseball somehow, some way at some point here, so we’ll figure it out.

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