Tagged: John Henry

Open Letter to Terry Francona

By Chris Cue

Hey Tito…..

My Man, I’ve got a few things I’d like you to
consider. Let’s start with the everyday lineup. I know you struggle
daily with this, but I’m just trying to help here so hear me out.

ever hear of going with the hot hand? Well, the same applies to “hot
bats”, so let’s say we do this…..for now (depending on who is

Ellsbury – CF
Pedroia – 2B
Martinez – C (Yes, I’ve heard how he doesn’t hit when he catches…it’s BS)
Youkilis – 3B
Bay – LF
Lowell – DH
Drew – RF
Kotchman – 1B
Green – SS

know Papi & Tek are the vets and they may get rubbed the wrong way
and everything, but just tell them that you love them, rub their backs,
pat their heads and sit them the “F” down for a while OK?

       OK, glad we cleared that problem up. Now let’s talk about the
pitching. First the bullpen. Do yourself, the team and us a favor and
don’t put poor MDC in a situation where he might give up a lead. I like
the guy and all, but he doesn’t perform well under pressure. Maybe
think about stretching him out for long relief. I think he’d do well
there. Now, here’s the deal on Daniel Bard. He’s a kid and you have to
expect some adjustment time. I know he’s made you say bad words his
last few outings, but really, give him a break. He’s got great stuff.
He just needs a little time. Leave him and the rest of the fella’s
right where they are.

I know this next topic is a sore spot so I’ll try to approach it gingerly.

Starting Pitching.

Beckett & Jon Lester have done great. Please give them all the
candy and ice cream they want…..heck, take them out and shoot some
pool with them too if you think they would appreciate it. They’ve
earned it.

Brad Penny is a different story. By all means
necessary, keep him away from the candy & ice cream. It’s not that
he’s a bad guy, but let’s be honest, he REALLY doesn’t need that stuff.
However, if you’re determined to treat everyone equally, then I might
suggest a rewards program for him. You know, if he has a 1,2,3
inning….give the slob a Hershey bar. If he has more then one of
those, take him to Dairy Queen where he can watch the fat chicks eat
sundae’s. He may back off on the sweets after that. Oh yeah, if he ever
sees the light of day known as the 7th inning, I think you should give
him the keys to the vending machine and let him have at it.

Incentives Tito….think “incentives”.

Buchholz is easy. Just tell him if he gets the “W” he gets his
Penthouse Magazine back…..other wise keep it yourself….just don’t
let the Mrs. know you’ve got it.

Tazawa…..hmmm He’s kind of a
tough one. You may have to play this one by ear. Just do yourself a
favor and don’t tell him how well his countryman Dice-K has done for us
in the past…..he might try to emulate him. WE DON’T WANT THAT. Dice
is a great guy and all, but really who wants to see the bases loaded
all the time and a magic act that nobody really appreciates. Just tell
him to go out there and strike MFers out. Simple as that. Heck, if it
helps build his confidence, tell him he’s taller then Pedroia.

OK, that’s it for now Tito. Let me know if I can be of anymore help.



Darn it. I knew I’d forget something…

I have this friend of mine that say’s John Henry is cheap, Theo is
inept and that you’re in a coma. I hope that’s not the case, so could
you do me a favor? The wife, kid and I are coming to see you guys this
Wednesday & Thursday. Would it be too much to ask that John Henry
buy us a round? Could Theo arrange parking for us at Fenway? And do you
think you could say “Hi” to us while we’re there?

I only ask because I’d like to prove my buddy wrong.

Thanks again!


5 Things That Couldn’t Hurt

by Chris Cue
June 15, 2009

5 Things the Red Sox should consider doing regarding the SS position

1). Buy Lugo a free ticket to get on board the SS Minow for a 3 hour tour.

2). Infect Theo with the Swine flu so he’s not well enough to be around when a Short Stop decision is made.

3). Make another trip to Texas (Houston this time) and leave John Henry in Boston to Twitter away…

4). Move the Green Monster in about 100 feet

5). Kidnap Hanley Ramirez when he comes to Fenway this week.


A Salary Cap and A New Fenway

By Chris Cue
February 19, 2009

    2 articles in today’s Boston Herald perked my interest. The first was a story recapping comments made yesterday by Red Sox ownership regarding a salary cap. The article written by John Tomase “Owners try on Cap” is HERE. In that piece, John Henry and Larry Lucchino suggest that a “Enlightened form of a salary cap” or “Payroll Zone” might be worth persuing. There have been several different takes on what ownership is actually saying with that. You can read comments that vary from “The Red Sox are jealous of what the Yankees have spent” to “They are just looking at putting more money in their own pockets“. I’m not quite sure where the Sox owners are coming from with this kind of talk. I think if you step back a second and look at what the ramifications might be if a salary cap is implemented, you may not like what you see.

     If the Yankees are limited to spending….let’s say, 150 million on their team per year, what do you think they would do with the extra 80+ million they would save in payroll? Put it in their pockets and go whistling away? I seriously doubt that either the Yankees or Red Sox ownership would do that. What you might end up seeing is teams flush with money to spend taking a new approach to the draft process. I’m not sure that any team that looks to the draft to build their team wants to see the Yankees enter that arena with 85 million to spend. It seems to me, that might just bite some teams in the rear end. No, I think letting the Yankees, Red Sox or any team spend what they want is the way to go. Afterall, Larry Lucchino said it himself yesterday…”There’s an old adage that there are three things money can’t buy: love, happiness and the American League pennant“. So, my question is: Whats the point of a salary cap?

     The second article from the Herald today is titled “Time to Let Fenway Go” by Steve Buckley. You can read his thoughts HERE. This subject seems to appear at least once a year and normally around this time. The debate surrounding it is both emotional and economical. Personally, I see both sides in this one.
     I happen to love Fenway. I love it the same way a child might love their favorite blanket. It’s the only one I’ve ever known and I’m comfortable with it. I have a lot of memories regarding it as well and if you tore it down, then I could no longer go there and have those memories come rushing back and fill me with thoughts of days gone by.

     There is the historical aspect as well. It remains a landmark to baseball and it’s roots. That’s something die hard fans have a hard time letting go of. All of baseballs greats have played there. Not all of them were members of the Red Sox, but each have stepped foot on that field. Wrigley field is the only other ballpark that can say that. None of the other vintage parks exist anymore and letting that kind of history give way to a wrecking ball, understandably does not sit well with baseball historians.

     Finally, there is the ever present fact that Fenway isn’t able to match the revenue that other teams who have larger stadiums can produce. Even with the highest ticket prices in the game, Fenway falls far behind the revenue of what parks like Yankee Stadium are capable of producing. The other aspect that’s impossible to get around is the seating. Fenway is crippled with obstructed veiw seats, seats that are facing away from the action and to put it bluntly, seats that to many are just plain uncomfortable to sit in. Fenway, to put it mildly, is not the most fan friendly park in these respects….it’s not even close when compared to others.

     Like I said, I see all sides to this debate and I still can’t decide which side I’m on. Each has a big plus side and each has a major draw back. I’d like to think that baseball is an emotional game for the fans, but we have to also understand that it is a competitive game as well off the field. Which do you hold dearest? The memories, The history or The comfort and competitive edge?

     This is an issue that will need to be made for me I’m afraid. Mom & Dad will need to take my blanket away before I’m going to be able to see if life is better or not without it.

Lucky, Good or Both

By Chris Cue
February 14, 2009

     In the off season of 2003, Theo Epstein and the Red Sox attempted to trade Manny Ramirez and acquire Alex Rodriguez. In the young life of the current ownership and management, that was the biggest failed attempt at signing a player who eventually went to the Yankees in the 11th hour. Since that time, we have witnessed this occurrence with Johnny Damon and recently with Mark Teixeira. Off season attempts to sign players by this front office have often been trumped by other clubs. Pedro Martinez is another example of a player the Red Sox made an attempt to retain, but came up short to the Mets.

     In each of those cases (Damon, Pedro & A-Rod), one could look at those failures and see them as lucky breaks. Damon is no longer a quailty Centerfielder and if he was retained, the Red Sox would never have seen Coco Crisp or perhaps even Jacoby Ellsbury when they did. Pedro’s story is easy. If the Red Sox had managed to retain him, they would have committed to a pitcher who has spent a significant amount of time on the DL. As far as A-Rod goes, is there any doubt that if that trade had gone through that the Red Sox might never have won the 2004 World Series in which Manny was the MVP? So, what is it with these failed attempts? Luck or is this front office just good at knowing where to draw the line in the sand? Maybe, it’s a little bit of both.

     We’re about to find out if this streak of winning failures is going to continue. A similar situation is now at hand. This front office, whether you agreed with them or not, went after Mark Teixeira pretty aggressively. They did so knowing that if they had signed him, Mike Lowell was going to have to be traded away. Needless to say, they failed once again to get the prize they were after. Or did they? A case can be made that once again they had drawn a line in the sand and were not willing to cross it. Could they have out bid the Yankees for Teixeira’s services? We may never know, but we do know this much….when Scott Boras told John Henry, Theo Epstein and the rest who went to Texas what it would cost to sign him right then and there, they passed. They said no and Henry’s email to the press, widely viewed at the time as a bluff, signaled their refusal to go the extra mile. They had a number and they stuck to it.

     Mark Teixeira is now a Yankee and Mike Lowell remains a member of the Red Sox. Will this most recent failed attempt to acquire a player again work to the advantage of the Red Sox? Who knows. Only time will tell us the end of that story. However, if the track record is any indication, then it would appear that Mike Lowell is about to have a career year. That’s something the Red Sox and their fans should be looking forward to.

The Captain Clears the Air

By Chris Cue
January 18, 2009

    NESN has a report from Heidi Watney further outlining the details on why Jason Varitek asked for a meeting with principle owner John Henry Friday night. It turns out that this was more of a “Clear the Air” type meeting then it was a negotiation for a new contract. The Red Sox had not been returning Scott Boras’ calls since the failed Mark Teixeira talks. Varitek wanted to let ownership know that his desire was to return to the club and he hoped that by meeting with Henry, he could get the 2 sides talking again. That seems to have worked and now the Red Sox have said that in the coming days they would be willing to re-open the negotiations with Scott Boras.

    Watney also reports Varitek was unaware that by turning down arbitration, it would cost another team a draft pick to sign him. She noted that he doesn’t blame Scott Boras for that, although I don’t understand why. It is the agents duty to insure that his client is well versed in all the ramafications of decisions being made. Clearly, that’s something Boras should have made Varitek aware of. Varitek on the other hand is very loyal to not only the Red Sox but also to Scott Boras who has been his agent for the past 16 years.

    Another of Varitek’s reported goals in this meeting was to make it clear to John Henry that he desired to retire with the Red Sox. However, most important to him is his desire to play for more then just next season. Varitek is hoping to land at least a two year deal. So, it’s the length of any new contract and not the dollars involved that appear to be the sticking point. Perhaps the two sides will eventually come to an agreement on a deal that has some sort of a second year vesting option which would allow Varitek to earn the second year. It seems clear that dollar wise, any contract Varitek signs at this point is surely going to be heavily laden with incentives.

    The complete report from NESN’s Heidi Watney is HERE. It is a video report, so you will need your sound turned up.

Jason Varitek and John Henry Meet

By Chris Cue
January 17, 2009

     Jason Varitek asked for and received a face to face meeting with Red Sox principle owner John Henry last night in Atlanta. A meeting his agent Scott Boras was not asked to attend. The results of that meeting are not known yet, but this is beginning to sound very familiar to what Alex Rodriguez did last off season after opting out of his contract. You’ll remember that A-Rod also personally called for a face to face meeting with the Yankees ownership without his agent Scott Boras being invited. He did so after stalled negotiations between Scott Boras and the Yankees made it appear likely he wouldn’t return to the club. The results of that meeting gave A-Rod a contract he was happy with and needless to say, guaranteed that he remained a Yankee. That’s something he said at the time was very important to him.

We’ll have to wait and see if the results of Jason’s meeting with John Henry will end as well as A-Rods meeting with the Yankees did.  Currently, there is no deal to report, but perhaps some positive steps were taken in that direction last night.

For complete details regarding this, visit Tony Massarotti’s latest entry at Boston.com. The link to that story is HERE.

In that article, Mazz notes that all Varitek would say after the meeting was it “Went OK” and that it was his desire to return to the Red Sox for the 2009 season. Mazz also had the following to add:
“….Varitek declined comment when asked if the Red Sox similarly
expressed a desire for him to return. He also declined to address any
specifics as to why he remains unsigned less than four weeks before
pitchers and catchers are due to report to spring training.

Henry could not be reached for comment.

According to a baseball source, it was Varitek who requested the meeting.”

Sean McAdam from the Boston Herald has a bit more to add to this story.
McAdam writes:

“…”We had a meeting and it went well,” Varitek said late last night. “Beyond that, I really don’t want to say much more.”

Reached last night by phone following the meeting, Henry was similarly close-mouthed.

Asked to characterize the meeting, Henry declined, adding to do so “would be inappropriate.”

Henry approached the meeting with an open mind, but according to a
source, was not viewing the get-together as an opportunity to negotiate
a contract with Varitek. For any deal, the team’s baseball operations
personnel would be involved.”

I tip my cap to Jason for reaching out in this case. Something had to be done. Let’s hope they can get a deal worked out that’s in the best interests of both parties very soon.

Update On The Teixeira Saga….

For those that need further convincing…..(I promise this is the last entry I’ll make regarding this) I’d like to offer up a few words from the Red Sox proverbial “Horses Mouth” so to speak.

Maybe some of us were not that far off the mark on this one afterall….(I admit it. I have this overwhelming childish urge to say “I Told You So” to someone, but will refrain for now :-).

From Boston.com (link HERE)

“Henry said he was told Sox were low bidders on Teixeira and Boston wasn’t on free agents list”


“(John) Henry said the Red Sox were unaware of [Teixeira’s wife]
Leigh’s preference for the Yankees, but “felt all along that the
Yankees were going to get the last call”
from Boras. Since the Red Sox
had proposed an eight-year deal for about $170 million, Henry said he
found it curious they were told “that we were the low bidders and
Boston wasn’t high” on Teixeira’s list.

“At one point, I asked Scott, given their feelings, why we
shouldn’t pull out,” Henry said in an e-mail message. “His answer was,
`Maybe you should.’ And we did.”

By leaving the negotiations, it seemed as if the Red Sox were
calling Boras’ bluff and were trying to get him to prove that he had a
better offer from the Los Angeles Angels, Baltimore or Washington. (not the case) As
Henry had expected, Boras still had the Yankees on speed dial, too.

Read the full article from the NY Times HERE: “Teixeira’s wife made the call — Yankees over Red Sox

A Little of This and That….Again

By Chris Cue
January 7, 2009

Heading into the first full week of January 2009, it would be an understatement to say that the Red Sox haven’t made any “Front Page” signings this off season. I would however, like to address what has been done and what has been attempted to be done by this front office.

First, a subject by now most of us are probably sick of, but I continue to read comments about it so maybe I’m in the minority here. Frankly, I’m over the whole Mark Teixeira to the Red Sox issue. I’ve made my opinions known on that deal long before he joined the Yankees. However, there remains a large number of fans that continue to blame the Red Sox front office (mainly John Henry and Theo Epstein) for “not getting it done”. Well, I’ve got news for you.

In an interveiw with Mike Francessa on WFAN (link HERE), Mark Teixeira made it known that his wife was a huge factor in his decision. “My wife loves New York” he said. What he said he was looking for when trying to decide on a team is the following:
1). Close proximity to his extended family in Baltimore and Atlanta.
2). His family’s happiness
3). A chance to win every year
4). The contract
Mark also said that the Yankees were always in the mix noting that Scott Boras and Brian Cashman had kept an open dialogue all along.

I read an article by Tony Massarotti (a well know Teixeira lover and critic of the front office in this)  that Mark had made up his mind that New York is where he wanted to play 2 weeks prior to agreeing on a contract.  You’ll remember that the Red Sox met with him 1 week prior to him agreeing to terms with the Yankees.
The link to the Mazz article is HERE and here’s the quote.

“…..let the record show that Teixeira acknowledged that he
all but decided on the Yankees two weeks before Christmas, during a
Dec. 12 dinner with his wife, Leigh, at the cou ple’s Dallas-area
country club. And let the record show, too, that the Teixeiras’ weekly
date came precisely six days before the Red Sox’ fateful and fruitless
visit to Dallas
in hopes of closing a deal with the player.”

He made that decision based on the 1-4 criteria mentioned above as described in the Francessa interview. These are no longer rumors, they are facts. Now here’s my question. How can someone acknowledge that Teixeira never intended to sign with Boston, yet still hold the front office accountable for “not getting it done”? You can’t have it both ways here. It doesn’t wash unless you think they should have offered him a contract that essentially was worth 10 years and 220 million dollars. If that’s the case, then you’ll have to excuse me if I think you need your baseball head examined.

The gut feeling I have here is that John Henry’s email he sent to the press after meeting with Teixeira, meant what it said. “It’s clear we are not going to be a factor”.  I suspect that the Red Sox contingent that met with Teixeira knew what was going on and bowed out of the race so they wouldn’t be used any further. That’s not a fact, but purely speculation on my part.
The facts are he was never realistically going to play for the Red Sox. So, is it finally possible we can put this issue to bed? I sure hope so. I’m beyond tired of it.

Second on the list is a look at what the Red Sox have done recently. We’re talking about the signings of Brad Penny, Josh Bard and the latest, (yikes!) Nick Green. I think it would be fair of you to say I’m not overly impressed with these signings. However, other then Brad Penny, Bard & (yikes again!) Green may never make the Major League club. Bard was signed to a non-guaranteed contract and (OK I won’t say it again) Green was signed to a minor league deal that included an opportunity to comepete for the middle infielder bench role.

These are not “Front Page” signings. They do however serve a purpose, even if that purpose is only for us to kill more time by asking more questions.
Questions like:
Is Bard really going to try and catch Wakefield again?
Is (omg) Green really here in case we trade Lugo?
Is Penny really our 4th starter?

Call me a “pollyanna” or a “Glass half full” kinda guy if you will, but I really have a hard time believing that those 3 acquisitions are considered by the Theo Epstein to be “The Master Plan” going into the 2009 season. If they are, heaven help us. No, I think we still have some work to do in the “Let’s improve the team” department. I don’t think Theo is quite done yet. I do think that this team as constituted (minus the catching vacancy), is ready to compete next season and keep us close enough by the trading deadline to warrant a significant move at that time if one is not available now. Still, I think a move or two will be made prior to opening day. Stay tuned because this isn’t the final solution (we hope).

Third and finally, as teams begin to firm up their rosters, watch out for all the “Expert” predictions that will follow. You’ve seen it before. Several weeks prior to the season openers, these folks line up and write about who will and who won’t be in the running this year. Take these with a VERY large grain of salt. There is no evidence that any of these people will come any closer then  +/-10 games to the final results. In fact, if you want to call yourself an expert and predict how many games the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays will each win, do the following:
Get a dart board and hang it on a wall
Re-label the numbers on it starting with 87 wins and ending with 97 wins
Blind fold yourself
Throw a dart.
What ever number it lands on is as good a guess as any of the so-called experts. Trust me on this one. Sure, you’ll find out by seasons end that one or two blind squirrels were able to find a nut, but it won’t be because they knew something you didn’t. It’ll be more luck then anything else. When you’re looking at a  plus or minus 10 game variable in Baseball, that 10 is a HUGE number. The games are played on a field not a chalk board and there’s good reason for it.