Some random thoughts on the Red Sox

ARLINGTON, Texas — Good morning from the Lone Star state. We’re here for the workout day before Game 3 of the World Series.

But there are some Red Sox thoughts percolating . . .

• You have to hand it to Theo Epstein. He has spent approximately $450 million over the last three seasons without a playoff win to show for it and got the Cubs to give him a five-year deal with $18.5 million. That’s impressive.

• Red Sox at Cubs next June 15-17 is going to be quite a scene.

• So the Padres will just allow Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod to go to the Cubs?


• Isn’t it kind of shocking that outside of Dustin Pedroia, not one player seems the slightest bit upset that Terry Francona is gone?

• If Ben Cherington is looking for a top assistant, MLB’s Peter Woodfork would be a good choice. He was with the Sox from 2005-05 before going to the Diamondbacks.

• Whoever the new manager is would be crazy not to keep Dave Magadan around as hitting coach. He deserves to keep his job.

• You have to figure that Fenway Park sellout streak comes to a crashing halt at some point in April.

• The idea that the post-collapse drama will somehow inhibit the ability of the Red Sox to attract free agents is ludicrous. With few exceptions, players make their decision based on one thing and one thing only: money.

• Because of all the injuries in 2010, it was somewhat understandable that the Red Sox took it easy in spring training this season. But a tone needs to be set from the start next year. Joe Maddon expects the Rays to hustle in spring training and that leads to good habits once the games count.

If any team ever needed a good start, it’s the 2012 Sox. There can’t be any easing into the season this time.


• Making Daniel Bard a starter would not be a good idea, whether Jonathan Papelbon returns or not. Bard had a 7.08 ERA in 22 minor league starts in 2007, which is why they made him a reliever. His changeup has improved since then, but not enough to make him a starter.

Bard changes games in the role he has now and is temperamentally suited for it, too.

• That said, Alfredo Aceves deserves a spot in the rotation.

• If for no other reason than to have an idea what people are concerned about, John Henry should do a radio show, a television appearance or a newspaper Q&A once a month. His feisty interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub was a good move.

• One year, $12 million for David Ortiz. Take it or leave it. That’s twice what any other DH will get. A multi-year deal for a 36-year-old DH is not good business.

• Trade Kevin Youkilis for a starter.

• Whether it’s second, third, fifth, sixth or whatever, find a place for Carl Crawford in the lineup and leave him there.

• In retrospect, Francona’s buddy-buddy relationship with Pedroia probably wasn’t healthy for the team, Francona or Pedroia. Joe Torre loved Derek Jeter, too. But Jeter didn’t sit in his office for hours before the game.

• The loss of Brad Mills (after the 2009 season) and John Farrell (after the 2010 season) clearly has a major impact on Francona and the Red Sox. Farrell, a strong-minded and physically imposing figure, kept the pitchers in line and Curt Young didn’t have that kind of effect on them.


• A lot of people have asked — quite understandably — why none of the beat writers knew about the beer drinking. Obviously, I should have had some inkling. But writers leave the clubhouse an hour before the game and do not return until 10 minutes after last pitch. It’s not like there were empties scattered around the room and pitchers puking in trash cans.

My guess is the drinking was not so pervasive that anybody thought it was a big deal until after the fact.

• As for the “rally beers,” the Red Sox were 2-61 when trailing after seven innings and 2-69 when trailing after eight innings. Oh, and does anybody ever have just one beer?

• Unless something changes, it doesn’t look like Francona will manage next season. There is no chance Epstein hires him in Chicago.

• The Cardinals won 90 games in the regular season, just like the Red Sox did. The gap between chump and champ is not that wide, sometimes.

• Ortiz was deserving recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award. Had a chance to go to the Dominican last year and met some families whose lives were changed by Big Papi’s charity for children. The hospital he funds there is saving the lives of dozens of kids.

It speaks well of the Sox to have back-to-back Clemente winners. Tim Wakefield won last year.

As always, thanks to everybody for reading Extra Bases. We appreciate it.

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