In fact, if you ask 10 people who they thought is the most valuable Red Sox player, you'd get probably a half-dozen different responses.
- There will always be those of us who see the on-going tremendous value in Dustin Pedroia.
- Then there are those who are fans of David Ortiz.
- Clay Buchholz whose great start for Boston was important in setting the team in the right direction.
- I'm a huge fan of Koji Uehara, who I think was invaluable for Boston.
- And, I'm sure you would find fans of the steady production of Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, John Lackey, Jon Lester, and Shane Victorino.
Perhaps that's why they are so goodAs baseball moves away from outrageous seasons developed in a pharmaceutical lab, teams are seeing the value of chemistry coming from a psychologist's lab.
This is what motivated Ben Cherington as he cleansed this team of Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez and replaced them with the like of Jonny Gomes and David Ross. The difference is best exemplified as Boston moved from the detached J.D. Drew to the involvement and engagement of his brother, Stephen Drew.
The team contributesThere are only two teams that have 11 different players who drove home at least 35 runs this season.
While you're thinking of the other obvious choice, check out the Red Sox numbers:
|David Ortiz (BOS)||133||502||154||29||98|
|Mike Napoli (BOS)||136||487||125||23||90|
|Dustin Pedroia (BOS)||156||623||186||9||83|
|Stephen Drew (BOS)||120||424||106||13||64|
|Daniel Nava (BOS)||130||441||131||11||63|
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia (BOS)||117||410||109||13||59|
|Shane Victorino (BOS)||119||463||136||14||58|
|Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS)||131||566||169||8||52|
|Jonny Gomes (BOS)||113||302||72||12||50|
|Will Middlebrooks (BOS)||89||325||75||15||42|
|Mike Carp (BOS)||82||208||62||9||42|
The other team shouldn't be a surpriseThis offseason, there was another team that recreated itself with chemistry as the focal point.
Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti knew that the first thing he needed to do was hire Terry Francona as his manager. If there was anyone who could quickly change the culture of this ballclub, Tito was the guy.
“We would not be where we are without Tito,” Antonetti recently told Tyler Kepner in the NY Times. “The impact he’s made on our organization — not just the major league team — has been profound.”
Francona told Kepner, “I get a little careful when they say I’m changing the culture, or being responsible for that. I want to be a part of that, but it’s us doing it together. It’s a complete team effort, and that’s why it’s working.”
Antonetti began looking for the same type of players that Cherington was seeking: guys who could make a difference, not just on the field, but in the clubhouse as well.
One of the guys the Tribe added was 42-year old Jason Giambi, who was being considered for the Colorado Rockies managerial job that Walt Weiss ended up. Francona told Kepner that he had never met a person like Jason Giambi.
“His leadership, his presence, for me not to use that, I would be an idiot. I’ve leaned on him so much. He’s not making enough money, I tell him that all the time. He’s the best influence on players I’ve ever seen — ever, and I’ve been around some pretty good ones.”
Giambi, who will make a great manager sooner than later told Tyler,
“Every single guy — from the Latin players to the white guys to the black guys — I’m tight with everybody. I get to care about them with no ulterior motives. I just want to see them succeed. I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs, and I want them to turn into the best players they can, because I truly believe that’s the gift you give back to this game.”
The Tribe 11
|Jason Kipnis (CLE)||143||541||150||17||80|
|Carlos Santana (CLE)||148||518||138||19||69|
|Michael Brantley (CLE)||145||529||148||9||68|
|Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE)||130||484||117||14||61|
|Nick Swisher (CLE)||139||524||130||20||59|
|Ryan Raburn (CLE)||80||225||62||16||53|
|Michael Bourn (CLE)||126||513||133||6||48|
|Mark Reynolds (CLE)||129||428||94||20||65|
|Mike Aviles (CLE)||118||339||87||9||44|
|Drew Stubbs (CLE)||141||421||97||9||42|
|Lonnie Chisenhall (CLE)||92||287||65||11||36|
Two teams - both most valuable“I think I believe in them more than our numbers,” Francona explained. “Like, our numbers may not add up, but that doesn’t mean we can’t add up. And I think that as long as we believe that, we’re going to have a chance.”
I'm with Terry.
Chemistry makes a Most Valuable Team.