Summarizing the Town Hall Meeting
As previously blogged, I attended a town hall style meeting tonight at Worcester Technical High School hosted by NESN. GM Ben Cherington and Bobby Valentine answered a myriad of questions from the crowd. I took my sister who is an avid Red Sox fan. It was a fun event. It was free. And I didn’t embarrass myself too badly, but you can be the judge of that when the program airs tomorrow night at 10 PM on NESN. Let’s hit on a couple quick notes.
- Worcester Tech’s campus is beautiful, and the auditorium was an ideal venue to play host to an event like tonight’s. I’m used to a plethora of aluminum chairs in a gym with a basketball hoop in the background. This was the opposite. Very professional. NESN has four microphones set up. Two were on each side of the stage–about seven feet away from Valentine and Cherington. The other two were situated towards the rear, just before the beginning of the second level of seating. The NESN employees did an excellent job ensuring that question-askers were in the right spot, at the right microphone at the right time. Tom Caron did a superb job hosting. He seamlessly transitioned between questions from the audience to general inquiries you would expect from a standard interview. I thought it was really well done.
- I’m going to guess that 25-30 questions were asked. Half of the inquiries were made by Sox fans who were no older than 12. Pretty brave of the young fellas. When I was that age, I was just trying to avoid getting beat up, forget posing questions in front of hundreds of people to members of Red Sox brass.
- It was a good question, but, contrary to popular belief, Valentine is not related to Greg “The Hammer” Valentine.
- But he may have invented the wrap.
- I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said I didn’t end up shaking my head at a
fewton of the questions that were posed to both Valentine and Cherington. One member of the audience has to be related to Marco Scutaro. Right now, do I believe that it was a shrewd move by Cherington to ship Scutaro to the Rockies? No, not yet. But this guy was really, really unhappy with the first-year GM.
- I had told myself and a few buddies that if I did get the chance to ask a question, I would. The opportunity did present itself, and I took advantage of it. I immediately regretted my decision. Naturally, I was placed at one of the stage-side microphones (to the left of Cherington and Valentine). I was hoping to be escorted to one of the mikes towards the back of the auditorium in order to decrease the amount of sweat that seeped from my palms. When it was my turn, I asked the question that I believe is the most relevant question of the offseason: (quoted roughly) “The Marco Scutaro trade freed up close to $8MM in luxury tax dollars. $3MM has been allocated to Cody Ross, and $5-6MM is left. If you, as the GM of the Red Sox, are unable to obtain a quality starting pitcher before the season or at the trade deadline, will the Scutaro trade be viewed as a failure?”
–Cherington’s response is what you would expect–loaded with jargon about how the financial flexibility can’t just be attributed to Ross’ signing because there are players on the roster (Adrian Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, etc.) who will receive more money in 2012 than than they did the previous year. Essentially, the Red Sox look at payroll through a macro, not a micro, lens. In other words, the fiscal flexibility gained through the Scutaro trade could be used now to pluck a guy like Edwin Jackson or Roy Oswalt off of the market or utilized later for any number of roster moves that may or may not have a direct effect on the 2012 season (signing a draft pick, for example).
Remove the cameras and the audience–Cherington would agree that the success of the Scutaro trade is contingent upon the Red Sox ability to acquire a quality starting pitcher between now and the beginning of August. If that was not the case, the Red Sox would not still be involved in talks with Oswalt and Jackson.