Monday, March 25, 2013

How Lacking a Core Philosophy Created the JBJ Problem

One team issue I've touched upon in recent posts is how schizophrenic decisions made by the Red Sox front office feel.  We're seeing this confused attitude displayed again in how the team handles their Jackie Bradley Jr. problem, but it's come up in the recent past, too.

In 2011, for example, the front office spent a boatload of money in 2011 to construct "The Best Team Ever", yet they refused to place John Lackey on the DL in the second half of the season when he was pitching with, what should have been obvious to them, an injury.  It should have been obvious because Lackey sucked in every start, and the former manager later complained that he didn't have the backing of the front office or medical staff to get Lackey on the DL.  So, in 2011 the Red Sox created this gaudy multiyear, 9-figure contracts to win -- yet they wouldn't send an injured starter to the DL and find a replacement who was in good health.

Now in 2013, the Red Sox spend a boatload of money on veterans like Shane Victorino, Ryan Gomes and Stephen Drew.  But when it comes to Jackie Bradley Jr., suddenly the front office is clutching their purse strings with a super kung-fu grip rarely seen outside of a 12 year old boy's bedroom after he just discovered the joys of self-pleasure.

Does this make sense to anybody?  Please tell me that I'm not crazy.

The front office only has themselves to blame for this mess, because they've effectively admitted that Jackie Bradley Jr. is Major League ready.  They could have diffused the decision to place JBJ on the roster a month ago by clearly outlining a path for him as a prospect continuing to develop, setting the expectations of not only the prospect but the fan base, and shuffled him off to minor league camp.  Instead, JBJ is still on the major league squad, and the debate over whether he should break camp on the 25 man roster isn't about his ability -- it's all about the money.

Given that Red Sox fans pay the highest ticket prices in baseball, many of us don't want to hear complaints about money.  Especially after the team just spent money on another member of the Drew family.

We've come to a point where, on one hand, the Red Sox are penny pinching paupers; yet they are more than willing to spend big money in the free agent market on the other hand.  In the meantime, one young prospect who's good enough to be in the big leagues is caught between the two opposite directions that the front office is trying to move toward.

This mess was created by a Red Sox front office that lacks a core philosophy for building and running this team.  If any lesson can be taken from this JBJ situation, it's that a core philosophy is needed.  They can't claim you're building the best team by spending money one minute, then claim poverty the next minute -- fans sniff that bullshit out in a millisecond.  The Red Sox need to pick a plan and stick with it, or continue to miss the playoffs and all the revenues they could be collecting from those games.

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