Red Sox manager Terry Francona will be answering questions on NESN.com this offseason. Send questions to his mailbag.
Here’s his sixth installment.
Obviously, running a team is a dynamic endeavor, but do you ever tire of the "horse trading" mentality that seems to have taken over with rosters?
–Jay, Greenwich, R.I.
That is not a term I have heard before in reference to the Red Sox, but I suppose you are referring to the turnover in teams as opposed to the way it used to be. With free agency and the growth in salaries, teams are constantly looking for ways to remain competitive and also balance their budgets. That is why you see more and more players non-tendered every year. We are very fortunate here in Boston, where we have very generous owners who allow us to always be right smack in the middle of the game.
2. With Alex Gonzalez going to the Blue Jays, the Red Sox have a need for a shortstop again. Has Troy Tulowitzki’s name ever come up, or is he an untouchable? I was hoping last fall after he had surgery that the Sox would try to get him.
–Mike, Pittsfield, Mass.
I have to refrain from publicly commenting on any players who are under contract with another team. Good way to get me in trouble! Gonzy did a really good job for us, and we wish him well in Toronto (except, of course, when they are playing us).
3. What impressed you the most about Victor Martinez after seeing him play on a daily basis? Did any of skills surprise you?
–Harry, Dorchester, Mass.
I first got the chance to see Victor play in 2001, when I was with the Indians as an advisor. He was in A-ball then, and has really developed into a middle-of-the-order, front-line player. All the positive things we heard about him in Cleveland were true, and we are looking forward to having him for a full year. What he did last year (catching a new staff) was very difficult. He handled himself flawlessly. With a half-year's experience under his belt, things will only get better.
4. Where do you see the young phenom, Casey Kelly, playing in the future — pitcher or shortstop?
–Ed, Brattleboro, Vt.
That is a really good question — and an important one also. I suppose, from a personal standpoint, I hope he pitches. I can see him impacting our major league club much faster as a pitcher. He is a unique athlete to be able to do both. I think it will be important for him to choose fairly soon so he can get on the road to helping us win games in Boston.
5. What did you think of the umpiring during this year’s postseason? Are you in favor of instant replay?
–Karen, Tewksbury, Mass.
I think for the most part, umpiring is very good. With all the slow-motion cameras and angles that we have now at our disposal, every single call can be reviewed and analyzed. When it takes three or four slow-motion replays to prove a call, I generally give the umpires a break. I thought some of the calls in the playoffs were unfortunate. Some very good umpires made some mistakes. I do think we (as an industry) can do some things better, but I am not in favor of running to the replay booth every five minutes.
I hope everyone had a healthy, happy and safe Thanksgiving!
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