Ben Cherington

That John Henry is Full of…

Remember the line when Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunn are driving into what they think is the Rockies only to see a vast plain?  “That John Denver was full of crap!”  Well, John Henry is too.  Just 2 months after saying this about Ben Cherington, “The GM is going to be the GM of this club for a very long time,” we find out that Dave Dombrowski has been hired as President of Baseball Operations and Ben Cherington is out.  Apparently Cherington was given the option of staying but when you lose your – authority, it probably makes sense to move on…along with your recently signed 3 year extension.

What does this mean for the Red Sox?  Dombrowski, fired by the Tigers in June, is a more traditional baseball mind, preferring old-timey scouting vs. modern analytics.  The Red Sox under Cherington had become heavy in analytics and sometimes I felt that the numbers were the only reason for moves.  Things like personalities and hard work were overlooked as long as a player’s Fenway splits were solid.  Hanley Ramirez is a good example of an analytic signing whereas a traditional baseball mind might have said his tendency to dog it is a reason to stay away.  Heck, even Hanley warned a Dodger teammate not to be like him, hated by his teammates…wasn’t that warning enough Ben?

This calls into question what will happen with analytical people like Bill James.  Will they leave, get fired or figure out a way to co-exist with Dombrowski?  Regardless, this all happened very quickly and came out of nowhere.  When Dombrowski left Detroit, a fairly well-known writer (can’t remember if it was Ken Rosenthal or Buster Olney) tweeted that the Red Sox had no interest in him.  Well that turned out not to be the case and today we have a decidedly new way of doing things.

Dombrowski, won a World Series with Florida in 1997 and went to 2 others with Detroit in 2006 and 2012.  There will be, most likely, many other changes with the Red Sox between now and the start of the 2016 season.  That can be said of any season, but the front office, which has been largely stable since Henry took over save for the moving of Theo Epstein, is undergoing a makeover and one that was needed as continuing this trend of feast or famine can’t be allowed.

Night(s) in the Ruts

Many have said of the Red Sox early season success that it will be interesting to see how they deal with adversity.  Well, adversity as at their door.

What started as a stacked bullpen has been seen Joel Hanrahan lost for the season, an ineffectual and always odd, Alfredo Aceves sent down to Pawtucket.  Daniel Bard hasn’t found his form and Andrew Bailey has spent a few weeks on the DL.  Add to it the offense, save for last night’s outburst, that has been horrendous of late, has led to a 3-9 performance over the last 12 games.

The Red Sox benefited from a relatively light schedule at the beginning of the year.  That’s not to take away from the AL East, but let’s face it, all AL East teams have their significant question marks:  The Yankees are loaded with injuries (yet have been winning nonetheless…as always), the Blue Jays imported a bunch of talent that didn’t do anything last year, the Orioles, well, they just seem to play better baseball than they should and the Rays are always hamstrung by a low payroll.  Sprinkle in games against Houston and Cleveland and the schedule wasn’t too tough, has them as an average strength of schedule.  Things, however, got tough when they traveled to Texas and got swept.  That’s when the wheels came off.

It’ll be very interesting to see how the Red Sox deal with the next 10-15 games.  With Andrew Bailey set to return, hopefully the bullpen will settle down a bit and hopefully the starters, other than Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, can offer up a few innings.  Ryan Dempster has probably pitched better than his record, but he is still 2-4.  The good news is the Sox are still 6 games over .500 and are very much in the mix in the AL East and Wildcard.

Ben Cherington has to be wondering if they are going to be buyers or sellers in a couple of months.  My original prediction of 82-88 wins is still in range.  A 6 game swing/margin in a prediction is somewhat lame, I know, but I guess my point is that they could be average to borderline wildcard.  They are currently projected to win 88.1 games according to, so I’m not totally off and of course I would be the happiest person on Earth if they came in above 88 wins.

If the Red Sox do stay competitive, it will be very tough for Cherington to sell off parts, but let’s face it, this is not a World Series team.  I think their pitching is fine, but their lack of offense lately is worrisome.  Where has it gone for the last 12 games?  12 games!!!  Cherington will be best served selling off various pieces/parts to better prepare the Red Sox for 2014.

Tomorrow: Let’s talk about Jacoby Ellsbury.