Tony Massarotti enjoyed some vacation time last week, away from all the drama that is the Boston Red Sox.
So to catch him up on everything, Michael Felger had 10 Red Sox questions prepared for Mazz on Monday:
10. Carl Crawford will reportedly shut it down for the rest of the season and get Tommy John on his left elbow. He had wrist surgery this offseason, months after it was recommended. Now he is having Tommy John surgery in August, after it was suggested back in April. What does this say about the Red Sox as an organization?
“The thing I find most startling about this whole year, these guys are acting completely different as they were at the beginning of the year. They’re passive and reactionary,” said Mazz. “They are waiting too long on all of this stuff. They have become this passive, reactionary franchise. They’ve taken a complete hands-off approach and it’s killing them.”
9. Over the weekend we found out that traded catcher Kelly Shoppach sent out the famous text message picture of Bobby V. taking a nap — from Adrian Gonzalez’ phone. Shoppach has denied doing this, so it this just more smoke from the Red Sox Owners?
“I do believe that Shoppach had a hand in writing it or wrote it himself on Gonzalez’s phone, and the Sox ownership leaked it to put it on Shoppach, who isn’t here,” said Mazz. “This isn’t about one player, this is a conspiracy. Shoppach alone wasn’t trying to get Valentine fired… just because one guy sent the message doesn’t mean he wasn’t speaking on behalf of a group.”
“This situation is so screwed up,” said Mazz, “it’s not just about Shoppach, it’s much deeper.”
8. Red Sox ownership has said they are not willing to hand Cherington a blank check this offseason. But over recent history, after a disappointing season the Red Sox have made it a point to make a big splash. Given the way the 2012 season has gone, should fans expect a big splash this winter?
“I think they’re going to be more cautious going forward. It’s not Cherington I’m worried about, it’s ownership and upper management,” said Mazz. “I don’t think Epstein wanted John Lackey — they did. If their solution is to go out and spend money, Cherington is irrelevant… hopefully the light has gone on up there and they realize they need to get rid of the big contracts, and be more shrewd.”
7. Should the Red Sox trade Jacoby Ellsbury this offseason?
“I think it’s on the list of things you have to look at,” said Mazz. “If you think you can contend for a World Series with Ellsbury on your roster, then no. If you want to address front-end problems, I think you have to explore moving him.”
6. What should the Red Sox do with their due of catchers: Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway?
“You have to move one of those guys, and im leaning toward Saltalmacchi,” said Mazz. “He’s gone backwards, and not just offensively. If you remember last year, his offense went down in the second half too… To me, he’s another guy there that you can use at a chip, because someone will take waiver on Saltalmacchia.
5. Do the Red Sox have a drinking problem?
4. Ben Cherington has said recently that Lester, Beckett, and Buchholz will be foundational pieces to next years rotation. Is he and the Red Sox owners delusional when it comes to Beckett?
“I think they are. To me he is middle to back-end starter,” Mazz said of Beckett. “If they think he’s going to turn it around and be an 18-game winner, theyre deluding themselves.”
“The only question I have, what if you can only eat one (contract between Beckett and Lackey0?” wonders Mazz. “To me, I’d rather eat Lackey than Beckett. Maybe if you keep Beckett and put the right guy in charge, you can salvage enough.”
3. The Red Sox are still one of the better offensive teams in baseball, but are now ranking in the middle to lower half of the league in OBP and walks drawn. What happened to their offensive strategy?
“This to me is one of the greatest mysteries,” Mazz said, noting the absence of Adrian Gonzalez’ discipline at the plate. “Crawford, Aviles, even Middlebrooks, none of those guys take pitches. Somewhere they got away from that developmentally.”
2. Odds are that Bobby Valentine won’t be back next season, so who would replace him?
“I would say (Gabe) Kapler or Mike Stanley,” said Mazz. “They both have respect in the locker room and no-nonsense attitudes. Those are the two names I would throw out there.”
“I want someone who is strong; strong makeup, strong character and not afraid to make decisions,” said Mazz.
1. On that note, who should be in charge of hiring the next manager? Ben Cherington or Larry Lucchino?
“Cherington should make this call, and going forward,” said Mazz. “Larry is a business guy who works in baseball – if they’re making a change at president they need someone with baseball acumen.”