Patriots provide inspiration to another Boston team


Football teams trying to replicate the Patriots system by hiring coaches or executives away from New England have not found much success over the years.

Bill O’Brien had a promising first year at Penn State, but Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel, Scott Pioli, Eric Mangini and Josh McDaniels haven’t been able to come close to replicating the winning that Bill Belichick and the Patriots have done. That isn’t stopping a Boston team from another sport from looking to the Patriots’ way of doing business for a way to help themselves recover from a horrible season.

Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington said Tuesday that the team has used the Patriots as a guide during their offseason. Cherington says that the team is prioritizing versatility in their free agent signings after watching the Patriots make good use of it on the football field.

I think we’ve learned a lesson from the lack of protection in different areas and depth in different areas,” said Cherington, via “I guess it’s a little bit of a page out of the Patriots’ book, having guys who can cover different things. It’s important. Seems to me that the teams who get the six-month season and can afford the real droughts, tend to be the ones that have a bunch of guys who can cover different spots. Inevitably, you’re going to have guys out. That has been something we’ve talked about a lot.”

Whether it is shifting Devin McCourty between corner and safety, last season’s occasional running play by Aaron Hernandez or Troy Brown’s late career moonlighting as a defensive back, the Patriots have certainly made good use of versatility over the years. Having a catcher who can also play first or a pitcher who can start or relieve works along those lines and makes a lot of sense, although the difference in financial versatility between baseball and football makes it hard to take too much inspiration from the gridiron to the diamond.

The Red Sox roster has been larded in recent years with overpaid veteran players who no longer produced at a level equal to their salary. In the NFL, generally speaking, such players get cut or reduce their salaries to give teams a chance to spend money on players more likely to help the team. Baseball’s fully guaranteed contracts make for different decisions when it comes to team building and make it much harder to back out of mistakes than it is in the NFL.

14 responses to “Patriots provide inspiration to another Boston team

  1. Since the Red Sox (and the Bruins, and the Celtics, for that matter) have won a title more recently than the Patriots have, exactly why should they follow the Patriots’ example? Is it their desire to be a perennial playoff team that can’t deliver the final win?

  2. They should look at their own sport and division and see how the Tampa Bay Rays handle the versatility issue and salary situation with one of the lowest in the league. They have been competitive since the ownership take over by Stu Sternburg and GM Andrew Friedman, those are the ones the Red socks management should look to for acquiring players with versatility.

  3. If tampa had the financial resources that Boston had, they would be spending much more freely. Tampa has done a nice job in the past few years, but it is not a sustainable approach. See Oakland, Minnesota, etc. It may get you close for a couple of seasons at best.

  4. mazblast says: Dec 5, 2012 11:25 AM

    Since the Red Sox (and the Bruins, and the Celtics, for that matter) have won a title more recently than the Patriots have, exactly why should they follow the Patriots’ example? Is it their desire to be a perennial playoff team that can’t deliver the final win?
    Unimaginably absurd assessment.

  5. What the Red Sox did over the past two days would be the equivalent of the Patriots giving matching 3 year 39 million dollar guaranteed contracts to Terrell Owens and Plaxico Burress.

    So, um, yeah. Maybe Cherington needs to pay closer attention to how the Patriots actually build their team.

  6. I remember 4 or 5 years ago the brainstrust behind the various Boston teams had a joint think-tank session. Notable by their absense were the spend crazy Red Sox.
    They can definitely learn a thing or ten about the diwnside to throwing money at problems – regardless of whether the salary cap can be circumvented.

  7. Any time you can look at a football team as your inspiration to put together your baseball team, you have to do it.

  8. Yes, Mazblast 3 out 5 superbowls in the last 10 years is just awful. Huge Pats and B’s fan, but the Bruins have a way to go before they can match the success of the Pats, since the RedWings are the NHL equivalent to the Pats.

    Not that the NHL is even relevant at this point.

    But to the Sox issue, it’s a lack of front end pitching not versatility. End of story…

    Apples and oranges. The Sox engine can’t help themselves, appreciative the two championships, but they are nothing but shills for themselves now.

  9. Funny how well the “Patriot Way” works while you have Tom Brady.

    Sure, let’s just ignore going 11-5 with Matt Cassell as the starting QB.

    It amazes me that people continue to forget this.

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