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Francona “aggravated” by Buck Showalter’s comments

Mar 27, 2011, 2:23 PM EDT

Terry Francona AP

Orioles manager Buck Showalter made a couple of controversial comments in a recent issue of Men’s Journal about some of his opponents in the American League East. He said Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter “ticks” him off and that he’d “like to see how smart” Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein “is with the Tampa Bay payroll.”

Epstein was asked about the remarks last week and played it safe, telling reporters that he hadn’t seen the article and didn’t care to comment. Red Sox skipper Terry Francona took a different route.

The eccentric skipper spoke Sunday with Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe:

“I got asked that the other day and I hadn’t seen it. I got it third-hand and I kind of joked about it a little bit. Then I read it and actually I was kind of aggravated a little bit,” Francona said. “I don’t think that’s anybody’s place. That’s my boss. I was actually kind of aggravated a little bit. It’s not the end of the world, but I thought he shouldn’t have done it.”

“I just thought that was a little bit out of line. I don’t think he’d be appreciating if I said something about Andy [MacPhail, Baltimore's president of baseball operations], which I wouldn’t. It’s none of my business. And for the record, I think Andy’s really good.”

The Showalter-led Orioles went 3-3 against Boston at the end of last season. Given Baltimore’s mediocre roster and the additions that the Red Sox made this winter, our guess is that .500 record won’t last too long.

  1. fanoredsox - Mar 27, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    What has Showalter done? Didn’t he have a chance managing the Yankees? Wasn’t he the coach of the Yankees team that Torre took over and won a championship with? He should realize that Sosa, Palmeiro and Tejada aren’t walking through that door again….. Oh wait the Orioles sucked then too.

    • randomdigits - Mar 27, 2011 at 6:15 PM

      Showalter has won two AL Manager of the year awards. Its certaintly not two rings but the man does have a resume that deserves more respect then you are giving it.

    • steveg51 - Mar 28, 2011 at 2:15 AM

      Ya, but he’s right on.

  2. brianstabell1 - Mar 27, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    the same could be said about many high payroll teams. I think the best use of a payroll happened last year with the San Diego Padres. I mean only three million more dollars for the whole team than A rods paycheck.

  3. mofoe56 - Mar 27, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    buck’s always been a dick…..the Diamondbacks got rid of him and won a World Series…..

  4. wickedworld123 - Mar 27, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    If Epstein has one weakness/criticism, it’s overpaying for certain free agents. Signing high profile guys is not why he has the reputation he does.

    • bigharold - Mar 27, 2011 at 9:39 PM

      I’m amazed that so many supposed knowledgeable baseball fans don’t understand Showalter’s rant. Does anybody even remember exactly what he said?

      ““I’d like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay payroll. You got Carl Crawford ’cause you paid more than anyone else, and that’s what makes you smarter? That’s why I like whipping their butt. It’s great, knowing those guys with the $205 million payroll are saying, ‘How the hell are they beating us?’ ””

      First; there are really two parts to this rant and one concerns the RS and one the Yankees. The first of is clearly Epstein, by name. He didn’t take exception with Epstein just the idea that he’s a genius which, for the record, he’s not. As a Yankee fan Epstein always be Gorilla Boy. The second part is about the Yankees as evidenced by the reference to the Yankee payroll. Clearly Showalter views the advantage both the RS and Yankees have are sort of “degree of difficulty points” in reverse. One may or may not agree and he certainly could have articulated but I think he has a point to a degree. How much credit for the success of the Yankees and RS can be attributed to acumen of either Cashman and Epstein vs the resources at their disposal. And his remarks about Jeter are nothing new either, .. and he’s right. Jeter does jump back on anything inside that he’s not swinging at and he gets that call A LOT!

      If I were to venture a guess it would seem that the real audience for his remarks are his own players. He needs to get them to believe in themselves that they are more than the door mat for the rest of the AL East. It’s very similar to the incident in spring training 2008 when Cervelli broke his wrist on a hard play at the plate. The Yankees were pretty PO’d over the incident because it was only spring training. Joe Madden pretty much said “too bad that’s the way we play”. Even at the time it was apparent that Madden was trying to set a tone for what he expected from his players and that it was all the better that the incident happened against the Yankees. Of course Madden’s Rays went out and won the AL that year so in retrospect he didn’t looks like just some jerk. But, there were a lot of Yankee fans that thought that he was a jerk ans asking for trouble.

      These remarks got a lot of play not only because what was said, .. all of which is accurate to at least a degree .., but who said it. Ask yourself; had Ozzie Guillen made the same remarks would it have caused much of an uproar? Not likely. It’s not Showalter’s style to talk trash and the awkward way it came out is evidence that he was out of his element. But, his remarks about Epstein and Jeter by name and Cashman by inference are neither new nor outrageous. If I had any recommendation to Showalter it’d be either quit the trash talking or get a hold of Rex Ryan for some pointers. Of course at the end of the day the O’s will only be as good as the talent on the field but I do expect them to perform better as a result of Showalter’s managing because he is a very good manager, ..trash talker, .. not so much.

    • wickedworld123 - Mar 28, 2011 at 5:13 AM

      Maybe he was referencing the Yankees with the 205MM payroll comment…it seemed to me like he was talking about the Red Sox the whole time, but I guess it might’ve been poor word choice…

      And no, Epstein’s not a *genius*. But I think what people really mean to say is that the Red Sox are an exceptionally run organization, because the GM doesn’t do everything. They develop players well, they invest heavily in the draft and scouting department…hell, they watched Crawford on *and* off the field last year. I think if you brought him to a small payroll team and put some good people around him, he would be disciplined and intelligent enough to do the job, and I’d say the same about Cashman. Bottom line, Epstein is pretty universally regarded inside and outside of baseball as one of the best GM’s in the game, which must mean something. I have no idea what “As a Yankee fan Epstein always be Gorilla Boy” means.

      And this situation has nothing in common with the Cervelli/Rays thing. Maddon was trying to encourage a take no crap, hard-nose style of play, which I’m certainly in favor of…but what kind of example is Buck setting for his young players by being publicly critical of people in other organizations?

      “…had Ozzie Guillen made the same remarks would it have caused much of an uproar? Not likely.”

      Maybe not from Ozzie, but from most other managers, yeah, I’d say it would at least be news worthy…his comments weren’t vile, but kind of douchey.

      And lastly…”Jeter does jump back on anything inside that he’s not swinging at and he gets that call A LOT!”

      Not according to ESN stats and information…”In the interview, Ravech told Jeter that ESPN Stats & Information had determined Jeter had more inside strikes called against him than the major league average.”

      http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/spring2011/news/story?id=6263858

      So basically…his comments were off base, and not necessary.

  5. wickedworld123 - Mar 27, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    And the article also said that the ESPN research department found out Jeter gets more inside pitches called on him than the league average.

    And Boston has never had a $205MM payroll. Whatever you think, his comments are just wrong from top to bottom.

    • wickedworld123 - Mar 27, 2011 at 4:22 PM

      that should’ve said “no matter what you think of Buck”

    • PanchoHerreraFanClub - Mar 27, 2011 at 7:54 PM

      Whenever you see ESPN do stat research beware that they always have an agenda. The fact that Jeter gets more inside pitchers called on him than the league average proves nothing. To make something it assumes that pitchers pitch everyone inside the same amount (and how crazy is that assumption). Perhaps Jeter takes twice the league average of pitches inside. If so then it proves Buck’s statement. Perhaps Jeter takes half the league average of pitches inside. If that is so then Buck’s full of it. Impossible to know based on ESPN’s “research”. Why not do it right? ESPN is either stupid (and assumes we all are) or has an agenda. You make the call.

      • wickedworld123 - Mar 28, 2011 at 4:48 PM

        I haven’t seen the actual research, but I’d assume it’s a percentage, not an actual number of called strikes inside. I mean, an agenda? I know ESPN is a little East-coast centric due to it bringing good ratings, but let’s not get carried away…it’s about ratings, not a bunch of guys sitting in a room cackling and twisting their mustaches thinking of how to make the RS and Yanks look better.

  6. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Mar 27, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    Francona, if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen. You managed the 2nd highest payroll in MLB to a spot out of the playoffs last year. Boo hoo, poor little rich team.

    The general idea of the comment from Showalter were on point, even if some of the specific were a little off. The Red Sox and the Yankees have nothing to bitch about that isn’t of their own FO making. I cry myself to sleep every night thinking about how hard of a job those GMs have.

    • JBerardi - Mar 27, 2011 at 6:17 PM

      The general idea of the comment from Showalter was stupid. Baltimore is not Tampa Bay. They’re a great baseball town with a beautiful park. If the Os where any good, they’d be printing money. The only reason they don’t have the revenue that the Red Sox enjoy is because they’ve sucked for about a decade now.

      In any case, Buck should shut his mouth until his team shows they can even beat the Blue Jays in a full season.

      • PanchoHerreraFanClub - Mar 27, 2011 at 6:29 PM

        And following your logic, if the Royals didn’t suck they would have more money than the Yankees. Yeah sure.

        Last time I checked Baltimore ranks 22nd in media markets, Boston ranks 10th, and TB ranks 20th. So, you are right, Baltimore is not TB, it is lower. In raw numbers (what really counts) Baltimore has about half the audience that Boston does.

        Keep on eating that government cheese in your van and don’t let the facts get in the way. Again, I cry myself to sleep for poor Theo, the genuis that gave JD $15M and gave a Manny.

      • Ari Collins - Mar 27, 2011 at 8:13 PM

        A) J.D.’s actually been worth his contract according to ANY total value metric. And I have no idea what “giving a Manny” is. And, umm, if you’re going to criticize someone’s intelligence you should probably know how to spell words about intelligence, “genuis”.

        B) Media market is hardly the whole picture. TB isn’t a baseball town with a rabid fanbase, a great new park, and a rich baseball history. It’s pretty much the opposite of that, compounded by the fact that not only is their park terrible but it’s in about the worst location to take advantage of that population center.

        C) Baltimore has never been a low payroll team, and, in fact, has been a high payroll team plenty of the time. They’ve just spent their money very poorly for a good while now.

        D) If I agree that a manager talking shit about a GM is a little unprofessional, can I have some government cheese? Can it be horseradish cheddar?

  7. jamie54 - Mar 27, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    Oh and by the way, what was Francona’s record as manager of the Phillies? Not too good was it (285-363). Much easier to manage when a payroll buys you better player’s isn’t it? Just shut up Francona, you’re not all that anyway.

  8. dirtyharry1971 - Mar 27, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    gotta love how terry and the redsuk fans cant handle reality and the red suk fans resort to name calling, very typical.

    • Ari Collins - Mar 27, 2011 at 7:56 PM

      hypocritical namecaller is hypocritical

    • JBerardi - Mar 27, 2011 at 8:20 PM

      who’s resorting to name calling?

    • bceltics1010 - Mar 28, 2011 at 11:51 AM

      Let me guess dirtyharry1971, you’re a wankees fan?

  9. Ari Collins - Mar 27, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    All of the people criticizing Terry Francona: he’s just saying that talking shit about his boss is unprofessional. He’s kind of got a point. Even if Buck’s right, he’s kind of being a jerk. Francona ain’t the best field manager, but he’s always a professional.

  10. Panda Claus - Mar 27, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    Much ado about nothing. Buck called Francona to apologize and also said he was talking light-heartedly about those things in the interview. Buck is known for his sarcasm and was just having some fun during that talk.

    Let’s get back to the matter at hand. The “real” baseball season’s almost underway.

  11. ukraineshaqfan - Mar 27, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    Let’s examine the facts. The homegrown Red Sox include Pedroia, Youk and Lowrie, potentially 75% of the starting infield. Compare that to Showalter’s infield of Reynolds, Hardy, Roberts and Lee, 25% homegrown. Sox and O’s will both start one homegrown outfielder. Bard setting up Papelbon, both homegrown. Accardo setting up Gregg, not so much. O’s have the homegrown backstop, but Lester and Buchholz get the edge over Matutz. Epstein didn’t draft Youk, but his record of building from within is beyond reproach.

    • bigharold - Mar 27, 2011 at 9:57 PM

      “Epstein didn’t draft Youk, but his record of building from within is beyond reproach”

      Than explain why SS has been a black hole for the RS during his tense despite repeated attempts to correct it including trying to trade for A-Rod, (which was a complete fiasco), and two high priced FA.

      Step back from the kool-aid, Epstein is not “..beyond reproach”

      • Ari Collins - Mar 27, 2011 at 10:25 PM

        I suppose “beyond reproach” is TECHNICALLY incorrect, since there are (surprise!) positions at which the Red Sox have not always had a great homegrown player. But his record of building from within is actually surprisingly good for a high-payroll team. And, as the original poster pointed out, it’s a better record than the Orioles have.

        The Red Sox are moneyball with money. There are plenty of high-payroll teams that have squandered a financial advantage recently (Mets, Mariners, and Cubs come to mind), so clearly it’s not just a matter of Theo having lots of money at his disposal.

        Sure, he makes his share of mistakes, mostly on the FA market, where your chances of a bargain are much smaller. But the team has been built by its farm system, whether through graduating stars and role-players or trading for the same. Most of the high-priced players have been accumulated by identifying and trading for players in their peaks, and then having the financial muscle to extend them.

        Theo has used a combination of money, trading acumen, statistical analysis, and excellent drafting and development to build a team that has averaged 95 wins a season. Pretending that it’s just money is foolish on Buck’s part.

    • bigharold - Mar 28, 2011 at 1:16 AM

      Epstein is responsible for drafting two position players and four pitchers that are anything to write home about. That is far more than “..TECHNICALLY incorrect..” regarding being beyond reproach.

      Also, comparing Epstein to the O’s for developing is useless considering their current GM, Andy MacPhail has less than four years in the position while Epstein has been the RS GM for eight seasons. How many of the players that Epstein was responsible for drafting were making contributions at a major league level, significant or otherwise, after three years? I think that figure would be just about zero.

      Care to admit it or not, Cashman and Epstein will never be able demonstrate their true ability because they are GMs for two of the richest teams in baseball. And, pretending that money isn’t a great big part of it is even more foolish.

      • ukraineshaqfan - Mar 28, 2011 at 8:56 AM

        You should feel free to point out another successful team, as in WS winner and perennial contender, that has a better track record of developing homegrown talent. I’d wager you’d have a hard time with that. Also, the 04 Sox were patched together with retreads and castoffs. Mueller, Millar, Bellhorn, Arroyo, Timlin, Roberts, all played huge parts in bringing home the trophy and all could have been had by just about any club willing to offer a contract. If Epstein is a genius, and I’m not certain he is, it was on display in crafing this team more than any other.

      • ukraineshaqfan - Mar 28, 2011 at 8:57 AM

        Oops, forgot the biggest steal of them all, some nobody released by the Twins named Ortiz.

      • bigharold - Mar 28, 2011 at 10:43 AM

        “You should feel free to point out another successful team, as in WS winner and perennial contender, that has a better track record of developing homegrown talent. ”

        The New York Yankees.

      • Ari Collins - Mar 28, 2011 at 12:36 PM

        Depends on how far back you go. The Yankees had a highly productive farm system in the ’90s, but it hasn’t been as good in the oughts, despite some excellent-to-great players like Cano, Wang, and, once he establishes himself, Gardner.

        That said, they have an amazing pool of young talent right now, led by Montero and that deep if volatile group of pitching prospects. If a couple of them live up to their full potential, it’s going to be an exciting time to be a Yankee fan.

  12. bobwsc - Mar 28, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    Tito needs to let go of the John Lennon’esque spectacles.

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