Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner wanted “sexy” players to boost the team’s waning television ratings after its disappointing third-place finish in 2010, according to former manager Terry Francona, a desire that led to the acquisition of new stars, huge contracts, and ultimately the historic collapse of September 2011.
The ownership group commissioned a $100,000 study by an outside consultant to determine how to make the team more marketable. The result: Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, both of whom proved to be busts in Boston.
“Our owners in Boston, they’ve been owners for 10 years,” Francona wrote in his book, “Francona: The Red Sox Years,” which was excerpted in Sports Illustrated this week and will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt next week. “They come in with all these ideas about baseball, but I don’t think they love baseball. I think they like baseball. It’s revenue, and I know that’s their right and their interest because they’re owners — and they’re good owners. But they don’t love the game. It’s still more of a toy or a hobby for them. It’s not their blood. They’re going to come in and out of baseball.”
The book, co-written with Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, tells of the discord that led to the 2011 collapse and provides Francona’s view of his subsequent firing after eight seasons and two World Series titles.
Henry did not respond Tuesday to requests for comment, and Werner declined to comment on specific criticisms in the book, saying, “We had unbelievable success together for many years, and now our focus is on 2013.”
You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month
Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.
- High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
- Convenient access across all of your devices
- Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
- Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
- Less than 25¢ a week