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A culture crisis for Red Sox

Kevin Youkilis trade rumors hotter than ever.

Despite a winning record of late, the major story with the Boston Red Sox is not what is taking place on the field, but rather what is taking place off it.

There is no denying the fact that the Red Sox' culture is a mess, from the front office all the way down to the players. Thus, it was no surprise reading ESPN's Buster Olney's blog posts from last weekend.

Olney wrote, "...the Red Sox are a splintered group, with a lot of players and staff unhappy for a lot of different reasons. If they do come back and make the playoffs, it's not going to be because of a united clubhouse. It's toxic - but that doesn't mean they can't win."

There have been issues with the manager, staff and players dating all the way back to spring training. By many accounts many of the issues stem from a lack of communication from all parties involved.

The Red Sox are not a team. They are 30 or so individuals displaying the Red Sox name on the front of their jerseys.

There is no team unity like many Red Sox teams in the past. The clubhouse is divided on whether they like their manager or not. The team and manager have criticized the umpiring more than ever this year.

Quite simply, the team seems to be playing for themselves as individuals, rather than each other and a team.

In a game that goes 17 innings and the team has used all of their pitchers in the bullpen, a gold-glove first baseman should not be volunteering to pitch. A starting pitcher should step up and offer their services, not watch a utility outfielder pitch and eventually lose the game.

When a starting pitcher is forced to miss a start because of a trip to the disabled list, another starter who could have pitched a day earlier than originally scheduled, but still on regular rest should take the ball, not say he needs a few extra days off.

All of these are signs that there is some serious disconnect in the clubhouse.

It is not far-fetched to say that almost the whole roster is available to be dealt before next month's trade deadline. Things do get tricky because a number of players have signed long-term, large sum contracts, which might have an impact on whether or not a team would want to trade for them.

One thing that is close to certain is that the Red Sox need a serious change in culture to be considered a real "team" once again.

 
 
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