Thursday, June 30, 2016

Random Thoughts (June 30, 2016)

If you have missed any of the sports radio conversations about the Red Sox in Boston over the last couple of weeks, here's a quick summary for you.

"They need to fi-ah Farell!"

John Farrell is in his fourth season as manager of the Red Sox.  His record in Boston is 288-276 and he led the team to the World Series in 2013 before consecutive last place finishes in 2014 and 2015. His 2016 team is 42-36, reside in second place in the AL East, and currently hold a slight lead in the Wild Card race although their play in June gives little hope for a serious playoff run.

There are plenty of arguments in favor of firing John Farrell.  He is not a great in-game manager and often makes decisions that leave even a casual fan scratching their head.  However, he does have a World Series title on his managerial resume and was also Terry Francona's pitching coach when the team won the World Series in 2007.  When John Henry looks at Farrell, he sees a man who has helped his organization win multiple titles and that alone may be the saving grace for him in Boston.

The issue with firing Farrell right now is that despite the team's 10-16 record in June, it will not solve their problems.

Farrell's potential firing will most likely not solve the serious issues with the team's pitching staff. David Price is not struggling due to Farrell and the same goes for Clay Buchholz, Eduardo Rodriguez, and the majority of the bullpen.  Yes, Farrell is a pitching coach by trade, but at the end of the day the pitchers need to simply pitch better.

Depending on the moves made by Dave Dombrowski, Farrell should get at least through the middle of August before the team decides to make a decision on his future.

If Dombrowski swings a deal or two to significantly upgrade the pitching staff, Farrell should be on notice.  Either the team performs better or he is replaced.

If Dombrowski decides to stand pat and not mortgage the future for a playoff run, Farrell should be able to finish the season unless they simply quit on him.

Red Sox Nation expects a winner, especially after the disastrous 2014 and 2015 seasons.  They see David Ortiz producing at an MVP level at age 40 in his final season and want to ride Big Papi's magic one last time in October.  They see Dustin Pedroia still playing at a high level.  They see Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. emerging as All-Stars.  They know that David Price makes roughly $1-million every time he makes a start.

Red Sox Nation needs to be patient.  Dombrowski has several top prospects at his disposal but unless the team is going to get a bona fide ace in return to pair with Price, then he needs to wait for the Winter to make a move.  I'm not ready to watch Yoan Moncada or Andrew Benintendi blossom into All-Stars if the Red Sox do not get a Chris Sale or Sonny Gray in return for them.

And if Dombrowski decides to fold his 2016 hand, John Farrell should get the chance to finish the season as manager and a decision on his future in Boston can be made in the Winter.


I can't be the only person who doesn't get a good feeling about the Celtics possibly adding Dwight Howard in free agency, right?

Howard has always been a tease since coming into the NBA directly out of high school as the first overall pick back in 2004.  He's a physical specimen with seemingly unlimited ability but he's never truly tapped into that potential in my opinion.

Sure, he's a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and a seven-time All-Star.  Yes, he led the Magic to the NBA Finals in 2009 and back to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2010 and then he helped the Rockets reach the Western Conference Finals in 2015.  I don't ignore the six times he has led the league in rebounds or the two times he led the league in blocked shots.

I just feel like Howard never fully realized his potential in his prime and now that he's getting older and after his 2012 back surgery, he's not the same impact player he was when he was in Orlando.

On paper, Howard would help the Celtics.  He's still capable of protecting the rim and controlling the defensive rebounds, two areas that the Celtics need to improve upon.  Avery Bradley. Jae Crowder, and Marcus Smart are perimeter defense bulldogs that the Celtics unleash on opponents like Sansa Stark releasing the hounds on Ramsey Bolton.  The idea of having Howard in the paint to back them up is certainly intriguing.  Howard is not a big-time scorer but he is a nice secondary option and would give Brad Stevens his first legitimate post-up option which would be a nice wrinkle to his motion offense.

I just can't get over the possible damage Howard could do to the positive culture that Stevens has built in Boston since becoming the team's coach in 2013.  Howard bombed in his one season with the Lakers, has been considered a malcontent in his time with the Rockets, and is persona non grata with USA Basketball.

Howard's negatives should hopefully outweigh the positives.  We all know the Celtics are ready to take the next steps toward title contention but at the end of the day, Dwight Howard would take them backwards instead of forwards.


One player that I'd like to see the Celtics explore in free agency is E'Twaun Moore of the Bulls.

Moore was a second round pick by the Celtics back in 2011 and also spent time in Orlando before going to Chicago.  Due to injures to Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler last season, Moore got a chance to showcase his abilities and has likely earned himself a nice pay day this Summer.

Moore shot 45.2% from 3-point last year, 48.1% from the floor overall, and has earned a reputation as a fierce defender.

While Moore may initially look redundant on the Celtics considering their depth of wing players, there is an expectation that the team will be active in free agency and the trade market over the next few weeks.  In constructing a team to contend for a championship, the team may have to bid farewell to the likes of Bradley, Crowder, Smart, and Evan Turner.  

If that is the case, Moore could be a potentially great fit for the Celtics as a coveted "3 and D" wing player.

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