By Chris Drosehn – @gopherthetopher
Have you ever had a job where the boss was so overwhelming that it caused a rift in the culture of your work place? Better yet, have you ever had a boss who just didn’t get it? I think we’re finding out more about the 2017 Red Sox this past week than all of last season. The change of attitude I’m hearing out of Spring Training actually sounds like good news for the 2018 version of these Red Sox.
Let’s go over this offseason real quick; John Farrell was fired, and replaced by Alex Cora as the next manager. Other than that, outside of retaining Nunez and Moreland, Boston hasn’t added a single impact power bat from outside of the organization of any significance. Sheesh! How could they possibly be better than last year’s version if they didn’t make a big splash?
Say what you will about how much a manager impacts his clubhouse, or how he impacts a game, but John Farrell negatively impacted things in that clubhouse more than we previously thought. Just look at the comments by Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts this past week.
Bogaerts told reporters down in Fort Myers, “I mean, we all know. We all know what was going on, I don’t think I really want to get into details. The quicker we move on is the better for all of us.”
What could he be talking about?
Mookie Betts stayed in the same vein by saying, “We could have had more fun. Through the rough times, I think those are the times when we could have had a little more fun, instead of being down so much.”
He also said, “I think [there was] just tension in the locker room as far as if things were down.”
Someone is going to have to tell me what they were talking about. It’s not blatantly obvious at all. Nope.
I have to tell you something, I was just being a little sarcastic there. We all know the bulk of the issues Boston dealt with off the field likely stemmed from Farrell. He never appeared to have a handle on the clubhouse, especially with the way David Price handled the media, including the Dennis Eckersley incident. The Manny Machado issue was handled gracefully either.
Could the effect of inserting Alex Cora as the new manager make that drastic of a difference? One thing I can tell you, when listening to this team talk about this upcoming year, they seem positive. And also like they have a new outlook. Their responses aren’t quite the same canned answers we may have gotten a year ago.
Hanley Ramirez said he was basically hitting with one arm last year, yet still managed to hit 23 homers. He went on to say further, “I know that I’m going to hit, and they’re going to find a place for me in the lineup. No doubt. I know I can get 30 homers and 100 RBI’s”
Wait. Is this the same Hanley Ramirez? The Hanley Ramirez who no one can figure out? Usually Hanley says some goofy things, and then goes back to doing whatever Hanley does. Not this time though. He even claims to be adopting certain aspects of the TB12 method. We all know how well this is working for Tom Brady. Can Hanley rewind the clock a little, and deliver on his statements? Time will tell, but he sure is presenting a positive vibe about this season, and it’s a welcome change.
David Price spoke to the media and admitted he could have handled the things differently. He said he’s looking forward to this year, “I came here to win. I knew how tough it was to play here, to pitch here. If you go out and win it, I know all the emotions and everything will be even better in that positive light, I look forward to doing that.”
I’m floored at his comments. Even Price sounds positive about this year. Who talked to David Price, and told him to make nice with everyone? He wants to start over. This might finally be the team which Dave Dombrowski had in mind right after he was hired in 2015.
What happened to this team? What changed? They didn’t add the slugger that we all thought they needed. The front office pretty much brought back the same guys who failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
The only person they didn’t bring back was John Farrell.
Alex Cora has seemingly done a good job in changing the attitude of his clubhouse. I might be giving far too much credit to a first year manager, I understand that. But when you hear this much positivity and optimism from the players, it’s impossible not to notice.
Let’s hope 2018 is huge for them.
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