It’s all over but the official announcements.
After weeks of speculation and earnest negotiation, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein resigned his post over the weekend to take over what basically amounts to the entire Cubs organization.
Chicago is expected to officially introduce its new president of baseball operations tomorrow — the same day the Sox should trot out Ben Cherington as Epstein’s replacement.
Cherington certainly brings the right pedigree for the job.
But like Epstein, he’s faced with a gargantuan task. Here’s just some of what he needs to do from Day 1 on:
1 Close the Epstein chapter: As of press time last night, the clubs had not yet agreed on a compensation package for Epstein. The ship has sailed on Boston getting anything great, but Cherington needs to nab what he can ASAP.
2 Replace Francona: The Sox had been waiting on Epstein to truly start working on a managerial hire. That time is now. Our advice? Just back a truckful of loonies up to John Farrell’s house and get it over with. He’s been the obvious choice for years.
3 Re-sign Scutaro:?Yes, the Sox have other choices at short. But picking up Marco Scutaro’s option should be a no-brainer. He’ll come cheap — $6 million at most, versus a $1.5 million buyout — and he posted a 1.019 OPS in September.
4 Regain control of the clubhouse:?Trying to treat big leaguers like children is always a losing proposition. But clearly, something needs to be done to snap the Sox’s clubhouse back into shape. How? A strong manager would help, as would suggestion No. 5.
5 Let a big name go: The Sox ended last season acting like a bunch of spoiled, entitled millionaires. A shakeup is obviously necessary. That means a big name or two has to go … we’re looking at you, David Ortiz and Jonathan Papelbon.
6 Ditch John Lackey: Regardless of what the Sox need to do to get rid of him,?Lackey cannot come back next season. He, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester have become the symbols of the collapse, and Lackey is the only expendable one. Pay someone to take him.