“I don’t know,” ace lefty Jon Lester [stats] told the Herald yesterday. “It’s always been a demanding place to play, but until the last two years, it always was about baseball. Now we’ve got things written and said about guys’ personal stuff as human beings, as people. Now you’re starting to question people’s manhoods. That’s where it gets hard.”
But Lucchino is unconcerned that the Red Sox’ year-long soap opera will dissuade potential free agents from wanting to play for the team — even though David Ortiz [stats], the club’s longest-tenured player, has said he’s tired of the ceaseless drama.
“I don’t think that’s a long-term danger,” Lucchino said. “I do think there’s probably a little bit of a reservation on the part of some players, perhaps with respect to the grueling media coverage. You’ve just got to make sure you pick the right people and personalities to come here to be able to withstand that.”
So much to say about this. First off, this was a concern after last September's hit piece. Back then we asked, 'Who in their right mind would want to come work for Henry and Lucchino after the attempted character assassination of Francona'? The owners have not done a single thing to change the answer to that question. While this Yahoo! article isn't pretty, it is NOTHING like that Globe piece after last season. That was truly ugly.
Secondarily, Lucchino is right. You need to pick the right people to play and work for the Red Sox organization. That's something that these guys do understand. That's why they creepily stalked Carl Crawford since birth. There's a lot of pressure on these players from the fans, media and organization. Too much pressure, and unwarranted pressure in some instances, but that pressure isn't going away. If the guy doesn't have the mental makeup to handle it, let him play elsewhere.
Lastly, pardon me if I get a little giddy with the thought that the Red Sox are going to have trouble shelling out $150 million contracts. They may be forced to do something unorthodox like develop their own players again! Oh, the humanity! I kid about it, but we've been calling for the Sox to wind down the spending spree for a while now.
But, honestly, none of this matters that much. The Sox are able to offer players insane amounts of money. Moreso than most other teams. Players chase the dollars, regardless of who is signing the check, or which cap they have to wear. That's not always the case, but it's the case often enough that we don't have to worry about the Sox getting frozen out of the free agency market.
Of course, if Ortiz doesn't re-sign, that could all change. Ortiz saying he's sick of the drama, and backing that up by packing his bags? That could be disastrous. The Sox need to re-sign him, whether they want to or not, to put up a happy facade.
Rest of the links:
Herald - Little suspense in weekend series at New York | Larry Lucchino acknowledges 'hits' | Globe -Red Sox, Clay Buchholz defeat Orioles | Mets send Beato to Boston to finish Shoppach deal | WEEI -Who will want to be a Red Sox after all of this? | CSNNE - Notebook: Brass' presence gives Sox a boost | Pedroia lets his play do the talking | Buchholz emerging as Sox ace