A familiar refrain: Red Sox may be singing co-GM tune

Commentary

December 11, 2005|By PETER SCHMUCK

The Orioles were called a lot of things during the years that Mike Flanagan and Jim Beattie ran the team as "co-GM's," but I don't remember them ever being called "groundbreaking."

Now, there are rumors that the Boston Red Sox will end their outside search for a new general manager and stay in-house with a two-headed baseball operations brain trust.

The Boston Herald reported yesterday that Red Sox president Larry Lucchino is pondering a front office restructuring in which 31-year-old director of player development Ben Cherington and 32-year-old assistant GM Jed Hoyer would essentially work in a front office hierarchy similar to the one that was recently dismantled in Baltimore.

Sounds like overkill to me. The Red Sox have already proved they can operate just fine without one general manager, so why do they need two?

Since the controversial departure of youthful Theo Epstein, the GM-less Red Sox have made a series of significant trades, acquiring front-line starting pitcher Josh Beckett, third baseman Mike Lowell, promising third baseman Andy Marte, reliever Guillermo Mota and second baseman Mark Loretta.

Of course, you've got to believe that Lucchino is behind the curtain ... perhaps trying to prove that Epstein wasn't such a wizard after all.

The Ravens will attempt to parlay the momentum from last week's glorious 16-15 victory over the Houston Texans into an uplifting road victory over the Denver Broncos this afternoon, though the oddsmakers are understandably skeptical.

The Broncos are a 14 1/2 -point favorite, and it isn't hard to envision them knocking the Ravens all the way to Wyoming, but I think the Ravens' defense still has a couple of unused touchdowns set aside for a special occasion.

Of course, I think that gambling is an abomination, but if I were a betting man, I would jump all over those points.

Washington baseball has been a shoot-first-ask-questions-later proposition from the start - just look at the ongoing stadium negotiations - and now the Nationals find themselves in an interesting fix after making the seemingly smooth move to acquire projected left fielder Alfonso Soriano.

Trouble is, nobody asked him if he was willing to move from second base to the outfield after Jose Vidro returns from injury next season ... and he says he's not.

"I have the same position [about moving to the outfield] as I always had when I was with Texas," Soriano told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I said that I'm not going to change from second base."

The Mets have broken the age barrier with the two-year contract they handed to 47-year-old Julio Franco, by far the oldest baseball player to sign a multi-year deal.

Franco, who began his professional baseball career a year before the birth of Sun columnist Rick Maese, is hoping to become the first active major league player to apply for the new Medicare Prescription Drug Program.

USC coach Pete Carroll already has removed himself from consideration for a coming NFL opening, telling ESPN Radio on Friday that he will not interview for any other jobs after the Trojans meet Texas in the national championship game Jan. 4.

"I'm going to have the chance to recruit eight or nine first-round draft picks," he said. "In the NFL you can get one a year. So we're really excited about the place we are. I'm happy to be here."

He also might have mentioned that at USC, he doesn't have to worry about the NFL salary cap.

The No. 2 Texas Longhorns' basketball team didn't show up for its showdown with No. 1 Duke yesterday and got spanked, 97-66. But I doubt that the blowout is a harbinger of what might happen when the No. 2 Longhorns' football team plays top-ranked USC in the Rose Bowl.

I'd be surprised if the Trojans score more than 70 points in that game.

I was a little concerned when I couldn't find the Kyle Boller coin in my new Ravens medallion set ($79.99, credit cards accepted), but the mystery has been solved. It was there all along. It just had a Dwight Freeney medallion on top of it.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

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