Have you learned your lesson, Mark Melancon?

My kids sometimes get into trouble. And when they do, I’ll send them to their room and let them think about why daddy is mad.

And after about 20 minutes or so, I’ll go into the room.

Usually the first thing I will say is “Have you learned your lesson?”

I think the same can be said to reliever Mark Melancon. The Red Sox traded 2008 Division Series hero Jed Lowrie for Melancon to be a contributor in the bullpen.

He saved 20 games for the lowly Astros in 2011. He must have been able to do something in Boston.
And he did. In 4 April games, he had a 49.50 ERA, lost 2 games and let up 5 home runs in 2 innings.

Not 5 runs. 5 HOMERS! He let up 11 runs in 2 innings.
He let up 2 walks and 4 hits (including 3 homers) in his final game on April 17 in Texas. He recorded zero outs.

He was sent to Pawtucket, just like my kids are sent to their room.

Now he has pitched a month in Pawtucket.
He has pitched 13 innings in as many games. He has struck out 21 batters in those 13 innings and walked none. He has allowed only 9 hits and has a 0.00 ERA for the PawSox, saving 5 games.

It is safe to say that he is better than a AAA pitcher right now.

He’s learned his lesson.
He said he is sorry.
He will finish his spelling homework and not hit his brother.

The Red Sox need a good arm in the bullpen.

Let him come out and play.

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Bobby V, The Lobster and Arnie Beyeler

OK, Bobby V is coming. The Red Sox are Valentine’s team now. And the idea that it will be a calm player friendly environment is as likely as the Red Sox retiring Grady Little’s number.

I think there is only one way Bobby Valentine’s authority can work in Boston: Give him TOTAL authority. Make it clear that it is indeed his way or the highway. Take away as many obstacles as possible of people to challenge him.

Normally I think it is positive to challenge authority. But bringing in Valentine means a change in the culture, and that can’t be done in a half assed manner.

It HAS to be Bobby V’s ship. No “That’s not the way we did it before.”
Otherwise they just should have kept Francona or promoted one of his lieutenants.

Which brings a challenge regarding The Lobster.
Readers of Sully Baseball know that I believe Jason Varitek’s nickname should be The Lobster.

The Red Sox captain is a free agent right now and the reasons to bring him back are hard to find.

He brings a tiny bit of power to the plate and he hasn’t as awful as he was in 2009 when his .209 average and .703 OPS led to the Victor Martinez trade. But he has become subpar offensively.

The traditional arguments to retain The Lobster are his ability to call a great game and his leadership skills.

Well his game calling and handling the pitching staff didn’t help the Red Sox in their historic nosedive. The pitchers all had ERAs with area codes and game plans seemed to change from pitch to pitch.

And his leadership skills didn’t get Beckett, Lester or Lackey’s act together when the team needed them more than ever. If it was indeed Francona’s team and Varitek’s clubhouse, then that needs to totally change with the arrival of Bobby V.

In a way, Varitek would be a relic of the Francona years and one that could possibly act as a tension point to the new manager.

Varitek could represent the classic “It’s the way we do things around here” barrier.
And of course Bobby V is the “If that way was so great, then why was I hired?” counterpoint.

If the Lobster returns, and it isn’t for his bat or pitch calling, then what else could he offer except a place for the veterans to turn to when Bobby V gets under their skin (which he will)?

So yeah, I am advocating that the Red Sox 14 inning win in the Bronx on September 25th be Varitek’s last game as a player in a Boston uniform.

Now the Red Sox are not exactly a sentimental organization. Just witness how quickly Nomar, Pedro, Lowe, Foulke, Damon, Bellhorn, Embree, Manny and Papelbon were shown the door when they were considered to be done. Ask Theo and Tito how cute and cuddly the Sox are.

So Varitek just might not come back and turn up being a backup catcher for the Yankees for all we know.

I think they should keep him in the organization, but away from Bobby V.
How can they do that?

Drive 45 minutes south of Fenway and make Varitek the manager of the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Seriously, his playing days are done and putting The Lobster on Bobby V’s coaching staff could be a recipe for disaster.

Manage the top farm club. Help the pipeline of young players up to the big club, be part of the organization and let Bobby V put his own stamp on the team.

And if (when?) Bobby V implodes and the situation becomes intolerable, he can be let go and Varitek can take over the club with managerial experience and familiarity with the young players he managed and the veterans who he played with.

All that is good, but where does that leave Arnie Beyeler, the current PawSox manager?

Make him the one provision for Bobby V. “You can pick your entire coaching staff except you need to bring Arnie Beyeler in.”

Beyeler has been in pro baseball as a player, scout, minor league coach and minor league manager since 1986 but has never made it to the majors. He’s not about to make waves.

Stick him as the first base coach and Bobby V can have his own bench coach, third base coach, hitting coach, pitching coach and bullpen coach. And that way the young players who played in Pawtucket last year will have a familiar face.

So let’s review what this does…

Bobby V would have real control of the team (and why hire him if you don’t give him control?) The remnants of 2011 leadership would be gone.

The Lobster Varitek would remain in the organization and build up his credentials to come in and bring back some 2004 and 2007 magic if Valentine doesn’t fit. But we also would avoid seeing him clash with Valentine and continue to erode at the plate as he approaches 40.

And Beyeler gets to contribute at the major league level after more than a quarter century of dues paid.

Makes perfect sense to me.
Which is why it probably won’t happen.

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Pawtucket completes the sweep!

Here we are down the stretch and the box score tonight looks like one of those split squad games in spring training.

It’s safe to say that when the season began with images of playoffs dancing in our heads, we weren’t expecting Daniel Nava, Lars Anderson, Ryan Kalish, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Darnel McDonald, Josh Reddick, Yamaico Navarro and Scott Atchison to be big contributors.

But here they are.

And with it, the Red Sox got a sweep in Seattle… granted they resembled the Pawtucket Red Sox… but we can’t get picky.

The Red Sox clinched a winning record and if they split their next 16 games, they will be a 90 win team.

Well as long as the Red Sox keep winning and either the Yankees or Rays lose, there is a slight glimmer of hope.

ONE of the Yankees or Rays will lose tonight. I guess they are still alive. It’s not likely, but were the 2007 Rockies?


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