The "Try not to go Overboard right after the Collapse" offseason preview

It's now about 10 minutes after "The Collapse" was completed, and I'm writing in the hopes to try and temper the collective anguish (unlikely) and keep the negative atmosphere from festering too long. In the name of civility and level-headedness, I am going to attempt to take a look at where the Sox should go from here.

SPOILERS: And it's not to "fire everybody." But casualties will be made.

So where to start? Watching this last month of baseball unfold, I have no doubt in my mind that the players were the most to blame for the Collapse. They showed no heart, no drive, and no desire to play past September. When things started going sour, they had no sense of urgency and just didn't seem to care. To lay the bulk of the blame on the coaching staff would be misplaced, but that's not to say there needs to be some changes in the staff.


Coaches/Front Office/Non-Players

Terry Francona: Let's start with the manager. For anyone to suggest he should be fired seems ridiculous. The man won 2 World Series titles and is the 2nd winning-est manager in team history. Say what you want about the talent winning those titles, Francona was a key cog. Should he have been a leader down the stretch this month? Absolutely, and hopefully Tito can see that. Somebody posted an MLBTR piece in one of the gamethreads, and admittedly it was a bit disturbing. But to fire him outright is not the right choice. At most, the Front office behind the scenes should send him some kind of message that this will not be tolerated again, and that he's not invulnerable, but that they won't fire him now   VERDICT: KEEP


Curt Young: And let's have our first scapegoat. The pitching was underachieving throughout the year, not just during the Collapse. He was expected to improve a talented staff and instead it got a LOT worse. The guy didn't seem to have a clue, and there are many guys that could do better. He is the easiest casualty, despite only being with the team for one year. VERDICT: Termination


Dave Magadan: The Red Sox were 1st or 2nd in most major offensive categories, so the bats can't be blamed too harshly. The bats would seem to go through their dry-spells at times, but there's very little a coach can do about it. By and large Magadan has been perfectly adequate a hitting coach, and firing for the sake of firing people would be more harmful than helpful. VERDICT: KEEP


Training/Medical Staffs: This one should be obvious. The franchise as a whole needs to go in another direction here. Two years in a row, this team has taken huge hits on the injury front. It's the responsibility of the training staff to manage the players strength and conditioning, aka preventing injuries, and it's the medical staff's responsibility to PROPERLY diagnose player injuries and design rehab programs to bring players back quickly, but not before the player is completely healthy and able to compete at the necessary professional level. Neither of these qualifications have been met, not by a long shot.  VERDICT: Termination.




John Lackey: Let's get the big hoss out of the way first. He's been awful. Just awful. I'm not going to waste our time re-hashing how awful. Anyway you spin the numbers, it was a bad year for the guy. I'd like to think he was too focused on his wife's cancer to focus on pitching effectively and would come back next year and improve, but then his whole divorce thing popped up the other day, and that's probably going to just make things worse. At three years and way too much money left, it's going to be hard to find someone who would give up anything for the guy, but if something comes up, then it's time to let the guy go. Otherwise, strap in and plug him into the back of the rotation. Verdict: Trade if possible, otherwise, gotta KEEP


Carl Crawford: First of all, he can't go anywhere, his contract makes it virtually impossible, so I'm not going to pretend he'd be gone. But more importantly, let's cut the guy a little slack. The dropped catch at the end is going to draw even more flak, but honestly, you can't fault him for tonight's loss. It would have been an amazing sliding catch if he did hold onto it, and it wasn't his fault Papelbon only knew how to throw one pitch effectively. I tried to stick by Crawford through his struggles and I'm going to keep doing so. My best-case scenario is that he comes back next year and produces. He just needed a year to adjust. See Curtis Granderson if you don't think it can be done. I don't think he'll jack 35 home runs like Granderson, but he proved you can come back in the big market after a bad first year and produce. Verdict: Don't Panic give him another year.


Jonathan Papelbon: This is tough one. On the one hand, the Sox survived this Collapse as long as they did because of Paps. On the other hand, he is beginning to pile up these big-game collapses. The closer market is rich in arms this offseason, and if it comes cheaper to add another closer to team up with Bard in some 8-9 combination, then it should be time to say goodbye. If the market dictates that Paps can be had at a reasonable price, however, then locking him up to a moderate 3-year deal would probably be the best.
The devil you know is better than the devil you don't.  Verdict: Keep if he can be signed reasonably. Let Go if not.


Quick Hits on the others because I'm tired now and writing is hard:

Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, J.D. Drew: Shed the weight, let these guys be. Drew is probably going to retire, and Wake and 'Tek very well should. It'd be better than bringing them back cheap and playing the game for another year trying to "get by" relying on them.

Kevin Youkilis, Jed Lowrie, Marco Scutaro: Interesting scenario. Youk's developing a bit of a health problem and his defense has fallen off pretty far. He never could find a groove offensively this season. Lowrie on the other hand has the making to be an excellent hitter, but he too has found it near impossible to stay healthy for an extended period of time. Scutaro has gutted it out for the last two years, but he too has been nipped with injuries. If the Sox could flip Youk or Scutaro and acquire a SS/3B with a better health history, it may better serve the team, but it's tough to see such a move happen smoothly.

Potential FA's: The big name free agents don't seem likely to fill the major holes for the club. Jose Reyes would command big money for talent that Ellsbury, and hopefully Crawford, could already provide. C.J. Wilson would appear to be a great get for the rotation, but at 31-years old and a later bloomer, he screams of big-contract bust wherever he goes. There's a few interesting SP options like Mark Buerhle, Edwin Jackson, Joel Pineiro and Jason Marquis, but they all have their drawbacks.  If the Sox want to make some big acquisition to help the team, it'd be more likely to come via trade than Free Agency.


Until next Opening Day, rest easy fellow Sox fans. Get a good night's sleep. Maybe take a sick day tomorrow. Don't make any drastic actions, and most importantly, stay calm. Keep your cool and we'll all move through this together.


And of course, get ready for the Bruins title defense:

Boston Bruins 2012 Goal Horn {HQ} (via XxAnzeKopitarxX)

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Over the Monster

You must be a member of Over the Monster to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Over the Monster. You should read them.

Join Over the Monster

You must be a member of Over the Monster to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Over the Monster. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.