Reader mail: Did Larry railroad the team into the Beckett trade?

December 7th, 2006 → 9:40 am @ // 2 Comments

Jenny — if that really is her name — raised a question in the Johnny Jesus post below. To wit:

“Seth, can you clarify the Josh Beckett deal for me? The way I understand what you wrote about it in the book, it was railroaded through by Lucchino in an attempt to shift media and fan attention away from internal problems in the wake of Theo’s resignation. This was done over the objection of several baseball ops guys, specifically Jed Hoyer. Given the close relationship between Jed and Theo and thus the probable similarity in their viewpoints, I have been assuming all year that had Theo still been GM, that trade would not have occurred. Is this your take? Every time I try to advance this view to others, they call me a ballwashing Theo apologist or something of that ilk. One sportswriter (Bill Madden?) even wrote in all seriousness that the trade was Theo’s fault because he was “in the building.” Some help here? I know it’s not Damon-related, but that section of the book was really self-explanatory.”

I’d say that’s an oversimplifaction, but an oversimplification that has some connection to what went down. I wrote in the book that “Hoyer, in constant communication with Epstein, had been wary about making the trade, but Lucchino had been eager to get it done”; I go on to quote someone with an ownership stake in the team to say that people with the long-term interests of the club were advocating holding off and people who wanted to shift focus away from the front office fiasco wanted it to go down.

And that’s all I said on the matter, out of both space concerns and because at the time I wrote that (back in April) it was unclear, to say the least, how that signing would turn out.* That certainly was true: Larry was the trade’s largest advocate; he got most of the credit; it occurred at a time when the daily headlines were full of “this is as bad as it has been since the days of the Duke” type stories. But there wasn’t a Larry camp that was completely gung-ho and a Jed-Ben-Theo camp that was completely opposed. Instead, it was more of a 60-40/40-60 deal, meaning those in favor of making it were in favor of it 60-40 and those opposed were opposed 40-60. What’s more, those opposed were more worried about Josh’s shoulder than anything else…and that turned out not to be much of a concern.

Hope that’s a little more clear.

* In speaking with a senior member of the baseball ops staff late in the season (i.e., well after the point at which it became clear that Beckett’s season wasn’t going to be all we’d hoped), said staff member said he wasn’t worried about Beckett’s long-term success because a. he’s young, b. he’s had big-time success before, and c. there’s a natural adjustment period for any young player. I don’t know as much about baseball as the baseball ops staff — to say the least — but I was concerned, and that was mainly because his fastball is as straight as John Wayne and he seemed perpetually concerned about throwing breaking stuff. But we’ll see.


Post Categories: Feeding the Monster reactions & Jed Hoyer & Josh Beckett & Larry Lucchino & Red Sox front office & Theo Epstein

2 Comments → “Reader mail: Did Larry railroad the team into the Beckett trade?”


  1. pblanchard

    8 years ago

    After reading the Globe article today about Theo saving the season it is quite clear that they either did not read the book, or do not believe it for some reason.

    I did read the book, and reread this section many times, beacuse quite frankly, I found it amazing, and still do. I think Beckett is very talented, but at the time, and still today, I thought the Sox gave up too much.

    Reply

  2. Jenny

    8 years ago

    Oh, wow. I couldn’t find my comment on the post it was attached to and thought it had disappeared into cyberspace. Now I know why. Thanks very much for taking the time to answer my question, Seth.

    Reply

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