SBD/December 4, 2012/Franchises

MLB Franchise Notes: Red Sox Look To Avoid Moves For Sake Of "Wow" Factor

In Boston, Scott Lauber wrote it took a “quarter-billion dollar salary dump, the likes of which” Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino had “not seen in more than three decades as a major league executive, to give the Red Sox a chance at the do-over they so badly needed.” The team in the future would “rather not go through that again.” If the Red Sox were “so inclined, general manager Ben Cherington admits they already could have made a headline-grabbing move or two" in advance of Saturday’s “Christmas at Fenway” ticket launch. Cherington said, “You can always do stupid things that could be a ‘wow’ thing. But we’re trying to avoid those.” Lauber wrote the “hard-learned lesson: When it comes to free agent contracts, the shorter, the better.” Lucchino: “We’re empiricists. We can be taught” (BOSTON HERALD, 12/2).

READY FOR LAUNCH: In Houston, Chip Bailey wrote Astros Owner Jim Crane, President George Postolos and GM Jeff Luhnow are “all in.” They "aren’t tip-toeing through the proverbial tulips hoping for the best outcome." They "aren’t waiting for the ship to come in, they’re headed out to meet it." Their "footprints, fingerprints and sabermetric formulas are all over this organization they took over about one year ago.” TV analyst Jim Deshaies leaving the Astros for the Cubs is “the latest casualty,” and there are “few things” that will return in ‘13 for the Astros. Bailey: “Uniforms, gone. National League, gone. Big salaries, gone. Familiar voices, gone. Familiar faces, yep, gone." Someone "needed to rip off the band aid," as a "simple retooling or minor renovation wouldn't have worked." But few, "if any, predicted the widespread, far-reaching ramifications” (CHRON.com, 12/3).

NINJA FROM THE NORTH: In Toronto, Brendan Kennedy wrote Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is attending “his fourth winter meetings with the attention of every executive in the game.” Fans have “come to expect the unexpected from the cagey 35-year-old.” Agent Matt Sosnick said, “He’s probably the most compulsive of any GM.” Known within the industry for “being meticulous and hands-on, Anthopoulos is lauded by fans at home as the ‘ninja’ for his sly manoeuvres” (TORONTO STAR, 11/30).

SECRETS OF THE TRIBE: In Cleveland, Paul Hoynes wrote, "It is clear the Indians aren't swimming in cash, so they're not going to win many free-agent bidding wars.” But Indians GM Chris Antonetti said that he “has the ability and cash to sign a player to a multiyear deal.” The Indians, who “reportedly lost between $10 million and $11 million last season, are expected to open next season with a payroll close to last season's $65 million” (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 12/2).

STEP RIGHT UP, AND MEET...: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Brian Costa writes if Mets Owner the Wilpon family “indeed has the resources to build a contender" around 3B David Wright in the years ahead, then consider Wright's eight-year, $138M contract "a vital first step in restoring the credibility of the franchise.” If the Mets “emerge from this dark era in the coming years, then consider Friday the day they began to break free of the specter of Bernie Madoff” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/1).
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