Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here... highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
And now Epstein and Francona are both gone, and trust is again at a crossroads on Yawkey Way. Do the Red Sox owners trust Cherington to make the right decision in hiring a manager? At the moment, that appears to be very much in doubt, as Cherington seemed headed in one direction, narrowing in on Dale Sveum as his preferred candidate, while ownership appears to be championing another, Valentine.
Lucchino initiated the contact with Valentine, currently an analyst for ESPN, and while Cherington was present at the first meeting with Valentine nearly a month ago, Cherington had given every indication publicly that his choice was likely to come from the original list he had drawn up and made public. Valentine's name was not on that list. The other finalist, Gene Lamont, was on that list.
Can the Red Sox win with Valentine as manager? There should be no doubt. The Red Sox remain a very strong team, one that will show up in spring with a few things to prove. And no one can seriously question Valentine's ability to manage.
But can Ben Cherington trust him? Can the baseball operations staff trust him? Can the players? Steve Phillips, who as Mets GM had fierce battles with Valentine and lobbied for his firing, now says the turbulence that existed in New York was not all of Valentine's making and that Phillips bore responsibility too.
ESPNBoston | Red Sox tangled in issues of trust
Kudos to Gordon Edes for finding a new angle for the never-ending managerial search.
And he's probably right. It's probably more important how the ownership and front office work together than who exactly is sitting on the bench thinking about which lousy reliever to bring in. At this point, I really don't care who we pick. Bobby Valentine? Gene Lamont? Whatever.
It's more just strange that it's taking so long. At this point, what's the holdup? What could they possibly be discussing? Yesterday afternoon Tony Massarotti suggested on Felger and Mazz that perhaps they're still in on John Farrell -- his theory being if they inquired a second time (the time the Blue Jays rebuffed them by asking for Clay Buchholz), perhaps they've gone back a third or fourth time and we just haven't heard about it. I'm willing to go with that theory, because with no future interviews planned, I can't figure out what's keeping them.
Either way, the alleged discord is more troubling than who ends up making the game-to-game decisions. If ownership and the front office aren't on the same page, we're going to be in trouble from an organizational standpoint.
On page 2, there may be front office turmoil for one of our rivals.
The Astros obtained permission to interview Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, according to Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle. The Astros have asked to interview a handful of candidates, but Friedman, a Houston native, is clearly their top choice, according to Justice. The team dismissed GM Ed Wade less than two weeks after owner Jim Crane completed his purchase of the franchise.
MLBTradeRumors | Astros obtain permission to interview Friedman
Color me excited. Nothing would please me more in the baseball offseason than to have the happy Rays story to start to fall apart. I'm at a point now where I hate the Rays as much as, and sometimes more than, the Yankees. I'm so tired of hearing about how fun they are, and Joe Maddon's glasses, and the extra two percent (although it was a good read), and their unending farm system.
Sure, they do things the right way given their situation. But the entire country doesn't have to jump on the bandwagon just because they don't spend money.
I hope Friedman signs a bigger-than-Theo deal with Houston, Tampa's infrastructure falls apart, and we can go back to a two-team (or maybe three-team, given the Jays' rise) division. Then David Price can sign with the Yankees for $200 million and blow out his arm. Evan Longoria can regress into a slightly above average player rather than a perennial MVP candidate. Interest wanes, and Friedman's replacement trades for Carl Crawford to try to get fans back.
OK, now I'm just dreaming.
ESPNBoston | How Bobby V stirred the pot in 2000 | Source: Red Sox search down to 2 | Herald | Push the button, Larry | Source: 'serious interest' in David Ortiz | Jonathan Broxton is returning to the Dodgers | Globe | Hoping to settle in nicely | Red Sox search drags, but it could end soon | Has situation ever been mismanaged | CSNNE | Sox' managerial choice will show level of trust in Ben | Report: Ortiz drawing 'serious interest' from teams