In an interview with Mut & Merloni Wednesday, Sports Illustrated senior writer Tom Verducci said he believes the Red Sox are the third-best team in the American League East going into the season.
“Boston to me is third, because I don't like the shortstop situation,” Verducci said. “It's too important of a position to try to move people around, and certainly to force people in when they are not ready. In terms of [Jose] Iglesias, I don't like that situation. And they're going to need 90 starts from [Clay] Buchholz, [Jon] Lester and [Josh] Beckett. Anything less than that and they are going to be really in trouble and be less than a 90-win team.”
With so many storylines percolating around the Red Sox, Verducci said Carl Crawford's comments about last season and his place in the batting order showed a lack of closure from his disappointing 2011 campaign.
“I just don't know if [Crawford's] comfortable yet,” Verducci said. “I haven't heard the kind of comments. [He should] put the last year behind him and not even address those issues. I'd rather see him just move on, and take the new year for what it is -- a new opportunity.”
Although Verducci's predictions didn't suggest a trip to the World Series, he said Bobby Valentine is the right manager to help restore order in the Red Sox clubhouse, and also that former skipper Terry Francona would become a candidate elsewhere -- possibly as soon as this summer.
“In 2012, I think Valentine is the right guy,” he said. “Especially to get them out from beyond the garbage of last September. I like both guys. Terry is going to be a great candidate for somebody, at some point -- maybe as early as July this year. He'll be that Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden guy who is sitting up in the booth waiting for the next job on everybody's list. And he'll be better for it. I do think there needs to be attention to detail and things cleaned up around the Red Sox, and that's what Bobby does really, really well.
Looking at baseball's big national story, Verducci said he thought Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun shouldn't have taken an aggressive stance in his press conference following the victory of his appeal on a drug test that showed high testosterone levels.
“He went too far,” Verducci said. “All he needed to say was, 'Listen, I've been cleared by the arbitrator. The case was found not have any merit. I've said from the beginning I'm innocent. The arbitrator agreed with me. It's time to move on.' Leave it at that. Just don't throw out innuendos that something nefarious was going on here or we found some things out about the collector himself that makes us suspicious. There was no need to go down that path. And that turns out that it has come back to blow back on him.”
Verducci said even though he is told MLB will not pursue any legal action against Braun, its response to the ordeal illuminated how it felt about the 2011 MVP's acquittal.
“Major League Baseball left it clear that they believe Ryan Braun was a doper and got caught,” he said. “And he got off on a technicality. I think they made their position really clear, and that is unusual in this case.”
The league's vote to have a second wild card team is supposed to be held by March 1. Verducci said he feels the change is imminent, and the reaction from most has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The thing [general managers and players] really like about it is that it really puts a premium on 162 games and winning your division,” Verducci said. “That's where you really separate who the best team is. Now teams are going to play it out down the stretch to make sure they win the division and not finish second.”
Tom Brady joined the show to discuss the win over the Steelers and Roger Goodell's handling of domestic violence cases.
In the final hour of the show, Glenn and Fred recap some of the big stories in the NFL from this Sunday. They also react to post game comments from Coach Belichick and Rob Gronkowski
Ordway and Smerlas break down the Patriots victory on the road in PIttsburgh. In this hour they talk about the Pats success running the ball, and try to figure out what exactly is going wrong with kicker Stephen Gostkowski
Sam Packard is joined by Celtics 2nd Round draft pick Abdel Nader to discuss his path to the the NBA and how he plans to improve his game. Sam then talks to Player Development Coach Nick Friedman from Elite Skills Training, the pre-Draft camp Nader attended. Friedman also gives his opinion on the Celtics performance at summer league and the development of Jaylen Brown.
Isaiah Thomas talks to Glenn and Lou about why he loves Boston, the NBA Money Bump, oh, and some Durant guy
Danny Ainge joins Glenn and Christian to explain the Celtics draft process; and he also discusses the trade rumors that permeated the night.
Chris and Rob talk with former MLB Infielder and current ESPN analyst Alex Cora. Alex talks about some of the moves he saw in the Red Sox-Indians ALDS, and talks about the core group of young players the Red Sox have
We wrap up the Sox season with our final weekly visit with Sox manager John Farrell, on the heels of the news that he will be back as Sox skipper for the 2017 season.
Red Sox Hall of Famer Joe Castiglione wraps up the 2016 Boston Red Sox season
Joey Mac joins Ken Laird on his Saturday show to discuss the David Backes addition and Loui Eriksson departure in NHL free agency
DJ and Pete continue to assess the season that was for the Bruins and look toward the future for the franchise and how they can improve.
DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
Callers weighed in on the Josh Brown disaster and Heath Evans still needs more info on Josh Brown.
Chris Russo called in to defend himself on comments he made regarding John Mara's handling of the Josh Brown domestic violence case.
Nate Burelson said he still needs more information on Josh Brown and headlines with Kirk.
Josh Brown, who is the center of a domestic violence scandal, put out a statement saying some contradictory things that we already know about the Giants kicker. Glenn, Lou and Christian call out Brown and talk about his phony statement.
Yet another member of the Red Sox baseball operations staff is leaving and joining Mike Hazen in Arizona. When the should the Red Sox be concerned? Also, Glenn, Lou and Christian talk about a surprise twist with the vacant Red Sox GM job.
The Pats look like their the best team in the AFC (again), but after Denver's win on Monday Night Football, can they contend? Glenn, Lou and Christian talk about who the biggest threat will be.
We check in with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on a Patriots Monday after the Patriots beat the Steelers.
Dale, Michael and Jerry discuss the win over the Steelers on a Patriots Monday.
We go inside the game with Heath Evans from the NFL Network.
Kirk Minihane, avid runner, talks to Charlie Engle about the passion of running, how running became an addiction that replaced drug related addictions, and Charlie's time in jail. Kirk and Charlie have had similar paths through life and they discuss how a passion for running changed their lives.
Kirk was scheduled to interview Jeff Pearlman but the connection sucked and we called a late audible and interrupted the K&C Post Show podcast. Kirk takes over the K&C podcast and turns into Enough About Me and an epic bitchfest ensues.
Kirk Minihane sits down with Red Sox legend Mo Vaughn to talk to Mo about his playing days here in Boston, why the Sox couldn't have won a World Series in the 90's, and what life has been like since his playing day's have ended.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis rundown the highs and lows of Tuesday's K&C Show with Jon Meterparel on the Dino Casting Couch
Monday's show was a scattered affair w/ Mut joining Kirk & Gerry; producers Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap the Tom Brady interview among other show tidbits.
Thomas returns from hiatus to join Conor in discussing the latest BC football disappointment. They review BC-Cuse and preview the rest of the season.
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