The Final Four GM candidates
(Getty Images and AP Photos)
It's Down to the Final Four as Lucchino Bounces
Millar and King from GM Contention
Red Sox Apprentice: With the winter meetings in Dallas only five days away, the Sox have narrowed down the field to the final four GM candidates. CEO Larry Lucchino dismissed former Sox first baseman Kevin Millar and longtime Red Sox fan and author Stephen King today.
Millar, reached at his home last night in Beaumont, Texas, was upset with the late scratch. “I realized I was a long shot of Jack Daniels (to get the GM position),” said Millar. “But after all I’ve done for the team ... the whole ‘Manny being Manny,’ ‘Cowboy Up,’ ‘Skin it to Win it’ 'Tell 'Em We're Coming and Hell's Coming with Us'... that’s all me. You’d think they’d want more of that in the front office. Where are they gonna get their t-shirts like ‘#@%! Everybody. All We Have is Each Other’ now? I don’t know squat about general managin’ but I would have been the face of the organization. They got plenty of guys down in the bowling alley to figure out who to bring back. But the one move I was going to make was to sign a first baseman. A guy who’s ready to have a big year, loves playing in Boston, a guy who knows how to win, a guy who knows how to work the media up front and behind the scenes if you know what I mean ... that’s right, me, Kevin Millar, right back at first base. And for a whole lot less that Konerko, too. I love it. I loved the move ... apparently Mr. Lucchino had other plans so it looks like this cowboy is riding off into the sunset once and for all but ...” Millar went on for another two hours talking about his past, his future, and anything else that popped into his head.
One well-placed anonymous industry source familiar with Lucchino’s thinking told BDD that “Larry (Lucchino) spent most of Thanksgiving weekend knee-deep in the works of Stephen King, reading 'The Tommyknockers,' 'Pet Sematary,' 'The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon,' all of 'The Dark Tower' stories and 'Faithful,'" which King wrote with Stuart O’Nan. "Lucchino then declared to John Henry that he was 'scared as hell' to hire King, fearing most that he would re-sign the ancient Tom Gordon as the team’s closer and write another snoozer with O’Nan."
Henry, who’s not a big fan of King’s writing anyway, agreed with Lucchino’s decision to block the writer. King would not comment on the decision but is planning to write about the interview experience in an upcoming book, “The Real Green Monster.”
Lucchino spoke in the Crown Royal room at Fenway just after 2 a.m. regarding not only King and Millar’s departure, but also Katie Couric, Grady Little, Dan Duquette and George W. Bush, who are all out of the running.
“The good news is we’ve got four extremely strong and qualified candidates remaining in El Tiante, Ms. Damon, Wally, and that Hall of Fame writer,” said Lucchino. “We are continuing with the interview process and still hope to make a decision before the winter meetings to give the new GM plenty of time to familiarize him or herself with the history of Boston, the organization, the baseball ops personnel, our players, the free agents, our plans, our budget, how we work together, etc. We’ve got plenty of time. No need to worry.”
“Regarding the candidates who are out of contention, we were deeply disappointed that Ms. Couric decided to drop out and yes, it’s true, the sticking point was the money and Bud Selig flatly rejected the $15 million annual salary it would have taken to hire Katie. Does anyone want to pay $100 for bleacher seats? Well, that’s what would have happened if we hired her for the money she was looking for. Tom (Werner) communicated to us that she would not be available for the compensation we had offered which was slightly over Billy Beane money ($2.5m per year).”
“Dan Duquette? Puhleeze. We interviewed him as a courtesy,” said Lucchino. “And now he’s taking credit for the (Josh) Beckett trade. Frankly, he’s been out of the game too long and in the twilight of his baseball career if you will. His big idea was to keep Manny happy by giving him another $5 million a year in salary. And he wanted to sign (Johnny) Damon for eight years at $20 million a year ... bidding against himself again. It’s the only game the guy knows. Is it any wonder we decided to go with Mike Port over him when we first came in?”
“Grady as you know now realized he wasn’t qualified to become GM of the Boston Red Sox, he was only hoping we’d rehire him and fire Francona. We decided not to do that at this time so Grady’s legacy in Boston remains sealed. John Henry reminded me that he wanted to fire him after his first season as manager, but Theo and I voted to keep him on the job for the ’03 season ... and he burned us. I won’t be fooled again. But we all wish Grady the best of luck in his interview with the Dodgers today.”
“As far as President Bush goes, he would have been eliminated if he didn’t bow out to fix the mess that he’s created in Washington,” said Lucchino. “Maybe if I was still dating Mrs. Arnold Schwarzenegger I could be convinced to change parties, but John, Tom, and I are lifelong card-carrying democrats as you all know. It (Bush as GM) simply would not have worked. And if the President can’t find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, it’s highly unlikely he’ll be of any use in helping us find a replacement for Johnny Damon in center field. I’m sure Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett, Mike Timlin and the rest were very disappointed to see the President bow out, but up in the Ivory Tower, we all had ear-to-ear grins.”
“I think we all just grew tired of Kevin Millar’s act. He’s fine in small doses, but the prospect of having him run amok in the front office every day was just too much to take. He can certainly talk the talk, but rarely walks the walk. And his ‘grand plan’ of re-signing himself to play first base again, while palatable to Francona, was unacceptable to Jeremy Kapstein and the rest of the brain trust here.”
“As far as Stephen King goes, I read a lot of his books over the weekend trying to get a feel for the guy. What I came away with is that he knows very little about baseball. I know he has great seats to all the games, but he doesn’t actually watch the games, he just catches up on his reading. If any of you read ‘Faithful,’ you’d realize that the book’s co-author Stuart O’Nan, the guy who grabs foul balls from kids at Fenway, is the one who actually pays attention to what’s going on in the field. King said he hoped to bring Tom Gordon back to close for us, mostly so he could write ‘The Guy Who Loved Tom Gordon.’ I think I liked Duquette’s plan better.”
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