Henry, Cherington On “Fact Finding” Mission In Seattle
Monday, September 03, 2012
How bad are things for the Boston Red Sox? Since September 1, 2011, Boston is a whopping 25 games under .500 at 69-94.
The Red Sox road to nowhere continued Monday in Seattle with a 4-1 Labor Day loss to the woeful Mariners. Boston is now a perfect 0-7 on this west coast trip putting them a season worst 12 games under .500 at 62-74.
But the news of the day Monday wasn’t about yet another Red Sox loss, it was about owner John Henry and GM Ben Cherington flying to Seattle to meet with manager Bobby Valentine. Naturally, this led to speculation that Henry might pull the trigger and fire Valentine. No such luck.
Cherington claimed that the trip was planned and that it was more about a “fact finding” mission than anything else. Let me save them the trouble. The fact is, their franchise stinks right now!
Henry did have breakfast with Valentine Monday morning. Hopefully, the two filled up on the Starbucks coffee because it takes high doses of caffeine to stay awake for an entire Red Sox game.
It seems curious that Henry and Cherington would pick Seattle as the destination for a “fact finding” mission. Then again, nothing about this franchise makes sense these days.
If firing the manager wasn’t the reason for the cross country trip, maybe it was to convince Mariners’ brass to trade starting pitcher Felix Hernandez to Boston this offseason? Okay, probably not!
Whatever the reason for the visit, Henry has to be more than just a little concerned with the fact that Red Sox fans are no longer angry with him and his team, they have stopped caring about them which is far worse.
The question is: what can Henry and Cherington do to reverse this downward spiral the team has been on for the last year?
The big trade a week and a half ago that sent Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to Los Angeles was a good start. It not only wiped away about $250 million off of the future payroll, it started the process of changing the culture in the Boston clubhouse.
And while the final month of the season may be more about evaluating some of the young talent in the organization, make no mistake about the fact that this franchise HAS to be good next year.
2013 – a bridge year? I think not! Red Sox Nation won’t allow it. Nor should they.
The Boston Red Sox is not a franchise that needs to have a “bridge year” as they try to return to glory. The formula for Boston is the same formula that led the New York Yankees back to prominence in the late 90’s and this Red Sox franchise to glory last decade.
Boston needs to find the right mix of home-grown talent, bargain basement free agents sprinkled with a few star players. How they go about finding those star players is irrelevant. What’s most important is that they find players who will thrive in the pressure-packed atmosphere that is Fenway Park and find players with leadership skills which are clearly lacking with this year’s team.
If Henry empowers Cherington to do that, then the fans will come back. If not, they will continue to be just an afterthought on a New England sports scene which is now dominated by the Patriots.