Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Terry Francona has great respect for Red Sox draft crew

Some managers clash with their player personnel people. The disagreement between Billy Beane and Tony LaRussa was chronicled in "Moneyball"; the disgreement between LaRussa and new-age statistics experts was described in Sports Illustrated this spring.

(OK, so maybe it's just LaRussa.)

Terry Francona, on the other hand, spent several minutes this afternoon gushing over the work Theo Epstein and the amateur scouting department has done for the Red Sox. One reporter asked if he ever offered his suggestions, and Francona shot that idea down without hesitation.

"That's none of my business," Francona said. "The only interest I have is trying to show interest out of respect to the guys that are doing it. I can't imagine sticking my head into that room and making a suggestion. I'd be humiliated. I see how hard they work. I see how serious they take it. I see what they've given us. I wouldn't say a word.

"The only time I'd say a word is when it's over and congratulate them on their effort because they wear themselves out trying to get the right people. They've done a great job."

Francona has nothing to do with the process because he won't even see most of the players drafted until they're a year or two or three into their big-league careers. What he does enjoy, though, is reading the reports on the players the Red Sox pick and watching those players' careers progress.

"You hear their names, and you don't see them for a couple of years," he said. "It's really exciting to remember what was said about them and then, when you do see them -- and that's what I've been so impressed with, is when I have these meetings with our player development people and they say this and it comes true. It's pretty neat."

But that doesn't mean he occasionally doesn't meet some of the prospects that visit Fenway Park -- accidentally or otherwise.

"One of the young kids saw me in my underwear today," he said. "I don't imagine he'll be signing with us. ... I was just coming out of the SwimEx. I don't think he's dying to become a Red Sox player."

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