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Red Sox owner John Henry: “I personally opposed” signing Carl Crawford

Oct 14, 2011, 3:15 PM EDT

Liverpool Football club's co-owner, John Getty Images

During a radio appearance on 98.5 “The Sports Hub” in Boston this afternoon Red Sox owner John Henry explained that he “personally opposed” the team’s decision to sign free agent Carl Crawford to a seven-year, $142 million contract last offseason.

Henry said that he ultimately deferred to general manager Theo Epstein and the front office decision-makers, adding:

We had plenty of left-handed hitting. I don’t have to go into why. I’ll just tell you that at the time I opposed the deal, but I don’t meddle to the point of making decisions for our baseball team.

Which is how an owner should be, although going on the radio to say you opposed a $142 million decision by the GM who just happens to be on his way out of town seems a little shady considering how various unsavory details about Terry Francona’s tenure magically appeared as soon as he was no longer the manager.

On the other hand, at the time of the Crawford signing Epstein did say that he had to talk ownership into the move and Henry also said during the same interview today that “I would have loved for Theo to be our GM for the next 20 years … I did everything I could personally to make that happen.”

And then when it didn’t happen, he went on radio to distance himself and the team from one of Epstein’s biggest moves, which seems to be the Red Sox’s modus operandi when it comes to longtime employees leaving the organization. Oh, and surely Crawford will love hearing about how the owner of the team he’s signed with through 2017 didn’t want him in the first place.

  1. dodger88 - Oct 14, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Right and I’m sure every move that led to the 2004 & 2007 titles had Henry’s stamp of approval.

    This throwing of Epstein and Francona under the bus is going to have me pulling for the Cubs next year.

    • Kyle - Oct 14, 2011 at 3:21 PM

      Exactly. This is pretty weaksauce from Henry.

      • stac266 - Oct 14, 2011 at 9:51 PM

        The way this blame game is going they’re going to need a bigger bus.

    • yankeesgameday - Oct 14, 2011 at 4:31 PM

      he’s probably the one who hired the PI to follow and investing Crawford’s personal life as a way to avoid the signing.

      let’s not ever forget that unseemly piece of gutter dwelling business dealings that came from Theo and the Sox.

      • 18thstreet - Oct 14, 2011 at 4:52 PM

        It’s his money.

      • bigleagues - Oct 14, 2011 at 6:12 PM

        It’s his money, although it is interesting that in 9 years we never heard about this P.I. tail on any other player . . . of course they hadn’t signed any African-American’s to $140 Million deals before Crawford either. In all fairness, Theo said at the time that was a pretty standard thing when dealing with contracts of this size.

        But still, now that the age of innocence has passed with The Trio, I can’t help but think . . . you can take the man out of the heartland, but you can’t take the heartland out of the man.

      • oldpaddy - Oct 14, 2011 at 7:29 PM

        Not true. The sox previous ownership/management (Harrington years) are alleged to have had Mo Vaughn investigated by a PI. The Hit dog loved strippers and bad driving. Imagine if he had been on the ’11 sox? $20 says he would’ve broken lackeys back by august. The Hit Dog didn’t take bad pitching very well.

      • bigleagues - Oct 14, 2011 at 8:07 PM


        Yeah I remember that . . . and my statement was more out of frustration with the way Crawford has been left out to dry. Ultimately his play on the field is his responsibility, but they’ve made this investment and they should support the guy every way possible publicly and privately.

        That said, the Yawkey Trust ownership practices have nothing to do with current ownership.

      • genericcommenter - Oct 15, 2011 at 6:08 PM

        Did he learn that from the Steinbrenners?

      • pjmarn6 - Oct 17, 2011 at 4:55 PM

        It’s the fans’ money.

    • Old Gator - Oct 14, 2011 at 5:25 PM

      How, by the way, does an owner “personally oppose” a deal without “meddling” in the decision making process? Or, put another way: if the owner never expressed his personal opposition to the deal, how did he, in fact, oppose it at all?

      Like just about all of what came out of Henry’s mouth during his mercifully short-lived yet disruptive tenure as owner of the Feesh, this is pure bullshit.

      • addictedzone - Oct 14, 2011 at 6:02 PM

        As a fellow fish fan I would have to disagree. He was probably the single best owner we have ever had, as the others are low down mother bleeping gutter rats.

      • Old Gator - Oct 14, 2011 at 7:58 PM

        How so? Where’s that stadium he swore he would build with his own money? He lied about his intentions right up till the day he sold the team off to Scrooge McLoria and bolted for Beantown. He was as big a liar as Loria – and frankly, Huizinga never really lied to us. He was up front about being disappointed with the attendance, angry about the environmental resistance to his original plan to build “Wayne’s World” and a new stadium west of I-75, and blunt about his decision to trade away his star players and put the team up for sale. He shat on us – but at least he did it with a straight face.

      • addictedzone - Oct 14, 2011 at 11:32 PM

        For starters, MLB would never have let Henry build his own own stadium. It would be the death of publicly financed stadiums which is what MLB needs to use as their bargaining chip when they threaten to move or contract teams. It worked in Minnesota. It worked in Miami. Now they threaten in Oakland and Tampa and they’ll eventually get new stadiums there too.

      • Old Gator - Oct 14, 2011 at 11:46 PM

        Perhaps, but we’re talking about Henry’s honesty or lack of same. The point is that he lied to us in claiming that he’d build the stadium with his own money. It’s also true that the poor outgunned honky carpetbagger couldn’t hack dealing with the banana republic trapacería y injerto he ran into in Macondo.

        And as it turned out, Scrooge McLoria & Co. had to succor our illustrious city and county councils and the corporate and special interest Wizards of Oz who pull their strings from behind the curtains and come up with a hundred million and change of their own money anyway – not to mention all the fat contracts they had to promise our elected putas would go to their favorite “causes” in the construction industry. Somehow or other Henry wasn’t cut out to handle that stuff – trading by computer will emasculate your social skills that way.

      • Kevin S. - Oct 15, 2011 at 7:23 AM

        Considering the Giants privately financed their own stadium at the same time, I’m not sure how Bud would have been able to block Henry. It’s not like publicly-financed stadiums have dried up, anyway.

      • addictedzone - Oct 15, 2011 at 10:22 AM

        You’re close with the PacBell thoughts but that just emphasizes the point. The planning for PacBell was announced in 1995 and construction started in 1997 and opened in 2000. John Henry didn’t buy the Marlins until just prior to the 1999 season. By then MLB knew that dependency on privately financed stadiums would be the deathknell of new ballparks around the country. Nearly free new stadiums drive ticket sales and profits.

        MLB wasn’t happy with Henry’s comments to build it himself, but not so unhappy they didn’t love him as an owner. When they pushed instead for public financing in Miami and lost, MLB went quid pro quo offering the free spending Henry the Red Sox deal while selling the Marlins to the spendthrift Loria, making it a win/win for MLB. Over the ten years hence, Boston wins a pair of World Series’ and the Marlins end up with a new stadium with 90% of the total debt on the public tab.

        Since the PacBell opening by my quick count…9 new publicly financed ballparks and zero privately financed ones.

      • Old Gator - Oct 16, 2011 at 12:09 AM

        The stadium will cost around $615 million, with $300 million raised by the sale of bonds, $155 million from the Feesh and the balance from tourist bed taxes and a contribution of about $15 million from the City of Macondo. $155mm is about 25% of $615mm. The bond sales are another 47%. Considering that the vast majority of the bonds were purchased by institutional investors, “90% on the public tab” is a bit of an exaggeration.

    • bozosforall - Oct 19, 2011 at 6:22 PM

      That lame attitude by Henry is why he makes the perfect owner for the Red Sox. He’s a whiny excusemaker just like the rest of the Red Sox fan base.

    • bozosforall - Oct 19, 2011 at 6:24 PM

      What a chump Henry is! Perfect owner for the Red Sox, as he is as whiny of a douchebag as the rest of the Red Sox fan base.

  2. lukeslice - Oct 14, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Hey I know what will motivate my new $142 million left fielder to play better and help us win this whiney town a championship…

    • Panda Claus - Oct 14, 2011 at 3:33 PM

      Or most likely it’ll have Crawford looking for an escape hatch out of Boston. While it’s great Henry is being so forthright about the signing, it doesn’t seem like he’s helping anything or anybody by saying this.

      • APBA Guy - Oct 14, 2011 at 4:21 PM

        Does make you wonder if Crawford has an opt-out? We usually don’t hear about these details until long after the deal is signed.

  3. Jonny 5 - Oct 14, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    Why can’t the upper cheese of the RS just stop talking?

    • bigleagues - Oct 14, 2011 at 6:14 PM

      Because no one pays any mind to them when they’re winning.

  4. proudlycanadian - Oct 14, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    When the going got tough, the Red Sox circled the wagons, turned their guns inward and started shooting.

    • Old Gator - Oct 14, 2011 at 11:48 PM

      That would’ve made a great vignette in Blazing Saddles, you know?

  5. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Oct 14, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    “And when we went out to dinner at Jasper’s that one time, and I got the lobster cause Theo recommended it, it was actually subpar! And the one time we went for a walk together in Brookline to talk about the A-Gone extension, it totally rained, and the walk was Theo’s idea! And when my wife and I were fighting over money, I was using Theo’s methods of persuasion to win the argument, and I didn’t!! Man, Theo is such a poopiehead doodooface!!” ~John ‘Hipster Glasses’ Henry

  6. jehzsa - Oct 14, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    I see he still has not recovered from the fall in his yacht.

  7. bigleagues - Oct 14, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    O’Henry, O’ great and wealthful one . . .

    stick to futures commodities and signing the checks and try to not speak when spoken to by the media anymore and in time we’ll all be just fine.

  8. thefalcon123 - Oct 14, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    Is it just me or is it a wee bit classless to say you regret signing a player while he’s still under contact?

    • bigharold - Oct 14, 2011 at 5:24 PM

      Not to mention more than a wee bit counter productive.

    • Ari Collins - Oct 15, 2011 at 11:24 AM

      He never said he regretted it. He said he thought the player was a poor fit for the team at the time.

      • bigharold - Oct 15, 2011 at 12:38 PM

        It’s still counter productive and classless. If Crawford doesn’t turn it around the words “personally opposed” will be uttered by a TV announcer, and the majority of the Nation, every time Crawford strikes out for the next six years. In fact, if the RS get to the WS and Crawford is spectacular and is the WS MVP, that will spawn a heard of “personally opposed” stories.

        Classless, counter productive, just plain dumb.

  9. daisycutter1 - Oct 14, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    This is glorious. What an implosion.

    Thank you, Boston Red Sox, for helping make the Yankees’ dismal playoff loss go down just a little bit easier.

    • bobdira - Oct 14, 2011 at 3:55 PM

      And every other team look at itself and say “at least we’re not Boston”.

      • bigharold - Oct 14, 2011 at 5:26 PM

        How bad is it then Mets are talking smack about you. If it wasn’t for the Dodgers …

    • bigleagues - Oct 14, 2011 at 6:24 PM

      Meanwhile, despite a patchwork pitching staff, the possibility of its ace opting out and going elsewhere, a second consecutive early exit from the playoffs and just 1 World Series title in the last 11 season – the Yankees are a model of tranquility and about to re-commit long term to Cashman.

      The “Bronx Zoo” of the 1970’s and 80’s is no more . . . while the “Boston Zoo” is apparently just getting its legs under itself.

    • henryd3rd - Oct 15, 2011 at 9:14 AM


  10. nolanwiffle - Oct 14, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Perhaps the “spy” sent to tail Crawford for months prior to the signing witnessed Crawford drinking beer, eating chicken, and playing Xbox down in Tampa.

    Not Henry’s kind of ballplayer?

    • bigleagues - Oct 14, 2011 at 5:58 PM

      Wait . . . what?!

      No one and I mean no one has placed Crawford with the Buddha Belly Boys.

  11. icelovinbrotha215 - Oct 14, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    So then why did you sign the check? Hindsight is always 20/20.

    • 18thstreet - Oct 14, 2011 at 4:53 PM

      Doesn’t that go without saying? It’s his money. If he didn’t want to spend it, he could have said no.

  12. bobdira - Oct 14, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    JH thought process……Maybe The Rays will take him back, oh, no wait, they have a better left fielder at a cost of WHAT??!!?

  13. jehzsa - Oct 14, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    Rumor is Papi just called Cashman to say hi.

    • henryd3rd - Oct 15, 2011 at 9:22 AM

      Hi, you’ve reach the voice mail of Mr. Cashman General Manager of the NY Yankees. All free agents DH’s over 35 need not leave the names, numbers or purpose of their calls. We have sufficient DH’s, prima donnas and oft injured journeymen on our rooster at this time. Have your agent or agents contact us in four years when those expiring contracts come off our books. Good field, good hit and thick skin a must.

  14. poprox13 - Oct 14, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    I didnt want them to sign Crawford either……

    • protectthishouse54 - Oct 14, 2011 at 5:06 PM

      I’m a Yankee fan and neither did I. I still wish they hadn’t. Sometimes it takes a year to adjust, especially when you go from Tampa Bay to Boston. Last year, Granderson was a platoon player. This year, he was an MVP candidate. I’d bet good money on Crawford turning it around.

      • bigharold - Oct 14, 2011 at 5:44 PM

        “I’d bet good money on Crawford turning it around.”

        Of course if one is getting crucified in the press and the owner goes out of his way to state that he wasn’t in favor of signing you in the first place.

        Crawford certainly is a bust yet, .. merely under performed. However, there is no way that he isn’t hearing and reading all this nonsense and wondering what he got himself into. All of which does not bode well for the RS. He may return to form but until he does, .. all thing considered, .. this has all the appearance of a bad signing that could well make the Chone Figgins signing look like a bargain.

      • unclearnie - Oct 14, 2011 at 6:36 PM

        Any incite on Wells turning it around?

      • henryd3rd - Oct 15, 2011 at 9:42 AM

        Granderson’s production increased at the end of 2010 once he brought into Kevin Longs philosophy of hitting. 2011 was his coming out year and compared to Austin Jackson one of the players that they Yanks had to give up it was a steal.

  15. dowhatifeellike - Oct 14, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    I wish my team’s owner would stay out of those decisions too. If you’re gonna pay someone to be the GM, let the guy earn his money.

  16. uyf1950 - Oct 14, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    …and let’s not forget how it was reported early on how the Red Sox shadowed him prior to his signing to make sure he was a “good person” (my words). But that was the basic intent of what they were doing. If Crawford doesn’t regret his decision to sign with the Red Sox he surely has to be having second thoughts. As apparently the Red Sox are.

  17. aceshigh11 - Oct 14, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    I’m really starting to dislike the Sox ownership. They’re showing their true colors now that their little “investment” isn’t working out so well anymore.

  18. charlutes - Oct 14, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    I fail to understand what benefit he thinks he will bring himself or his team with these comments.

  19. rjostewart - Oct 14, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    I’m starting to wonder if John Henry just isn’t as smart as I thought he was.

    • oldpaddy - Oct 14, 2011 at 7:39 PM

      Maybe Theo isn’t either. I figured ownership had more to do with the free agent signings than Henry is taking credit for.

  20. kinggw - Oct 14, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    What a prick.

  21. KC Downey - Oct 14, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    Hey Aaron – link to the story on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s website instead –

    – Also, please refer to the station as 98.5 The Sports Hub and not “CBS Radio”

  22. bigleagues - Oct 14, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    The Trio could do no wrong for 9 years, but now they can’t stay out of their own way.

    This is really the first time that Henry, in particular, has been under the microscope with such a razor sharp focus and he is not doing well.

    Worse he appeared on WEEI’s arch nemesis the Sports Hub. EEI is the Red Sox flagship. I very rarely listen to Boston sports radio during the season, but the aftermath of something like the Sox collapse is always a great time to tune in.

    As expected Ordway has been going hard at Henry today over his statements and whereas just this morning talk hosts in general have been giving the benefit of the doubt to ownership – even in the wake of the leaked info on Francona – such deference has eroded rapidly this afternoon.

    The gloves are officially off and if you think its been bad to this point, we are back to pre-2004 amplification of each little move – with the caveat that the entire City not only expects but demands a winner.

    Make no mistake, the Red Sox need to take drastic action to regain the confidence of this fan base. At least one of Lackey or Beckett will have to go if not both. Varitek and Wakefield era has to be over. And the Sox will have to bring in a couple of high character, low maintenance types – even if its more symbolic than substantive.

    And the off-season fun is just starting . . . SpookyWorld will be at Fenway this year. yeah.

    • mabunar - Oct 14, 2011 at 11:34 PM

      WEEI == Red Sox puppet

      The only thing Ordway goes hard for is an all you can eat buffet.

      I don’t like Mazz or Felger much better, but they challenge more than EEI does.

      Shaugnessy…disregard every single thing this guy says. He’s self propaganda supreme. He’s still mad that the Curse of the Bambino is over.

  23. xpensivewinos - Oct 14, 2011 at 6:32 PM

    This guy is a creepy scumbag. But then again, so are Werner and Lucchino.

    Seems to me that the Red Sox have been winning despite these guys.

    The 2011 team seemed to take on the personality of their ownership group………….not their manager or GM. No wonder they’re so incredibly unlikeable.

  24. ogre2010 - Oct 14, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    This is getting out of hand and petty

  25. ezwriter69 - Oct 14, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    Must be exhausting throwing all those people under the bus, and pushing any hint of blame away from yourself… so much for the buck stops here… why would anyone voluntarily play for this organization of weasels, and especially weasel number one JH???

    • daisycutter1 - Oct 14, 2011 at 9:43 PM

      And how about finding a new manager?

      Ownership thanked the last guy – the manager in the dugout when the team won its first World Series in 86 years followed up by another title 3 years later – for his 8 years with the team by disclosing his marital and (alleged) prescription drug problems to the Boston Globe.

      How can anyone expect to be treated any better after the way they crapped all over Francona?

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