Theo II: He’s Back, And Apparently He’s Going To Take It Again

I no longer know what to think. About any of it, really: the whole offseason in general, to me, was thrown massively into question on Tuesday. You’ll recall that I’d been rather bullish about the moves up to that point; the Beckett deal was – I believed and still believe – a masterstroke, while the Loretta deal was only slightly worse and the Marte deal was even better. All of it happened within a three week span that dramatically changed the face of the Boston Red Sox, a prescription I’d written up for this team way back in October. So, I had been pleased, despite the drama of Theo’s departure, Damon’s defection, and the shrill catcalls of sports radio.
But the sheen is gone now. The sheen is gone because suddenly Theo is back, which is a surprising thing to say. Theo is back, he’s the GM again, everything is hunky-dory. We are now supposed to believe that whatever issues were strong and poisonous enough to get Theo packed up are now settled. We’re supposed to believe that Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer, after being given the top spot, are now happily willing to step back into the shadows for Theo, without a grumble. We’re supposed to believe, as the Coco Crisp deals get more and more bizzarre, that the FO has emerged with some sort of Grand Unified Theory of baseball operations.
It all might be true, but it seems unlikely. I find it difficult to believe that the negotiations of the last three months were as cathartic as the ones in November were destructive. I find it hard to believe that a team that’s undergone this much rapid change and indecision can really be said to be operating under an ironclad philosophy. I find it hard to believe that in an offseason where the GM job has been filled twice by three different people who all now work together in the same FO, there can be no resentments or rifts.
All of this is not to say that I think the Sox are – or were – in any way rudderless or melodramatic. on the contrary, I am impressed by the ability of the Baseball Ops team to accomplish what they did this offseason, despite the drama surrounding them. But when problems exist that are as deep as those that caused Theo to walk away in October, can they ever really be fully solved? Can we be even close to sure that everyone, from Lucchino to the Fenway switchboard operator, are on the same page? We’ve already gotten word that at least one FO official doubted the Beckett deal. We know that there has been tension over the non-starting trade of Manny Ramirez. We’ve seen the hodgepodge series of trade offers aimed at filling the CF hole – a hole which, one way or another, should have been planned for by any FO with anything resembling a Grand Unified Plan.
So, here we are again. In Theo we Trust, and now also in Ben & Jed & Bill & Craig and whoever else. I just hope they really can trust each other, and that the last three months really have been an epiphany. Because what the Sox do not need here is another piece of drama; we’ve had all we can take. Find me a center fielder, find me a RF platoon, and find me at the ballpark. At this point, I think it’s all I can take.