The Red Sox would like to build an organization that rivals the Houston Astros for top-to-bottom talent, smarts, and sustainability.
Here's hoping they look anywhere other than the Astros for the man to run it.
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If you've ever wondered what makes Houston a curiously unlikable organization despite an eminently likable roster, let's just say assistant general manager Brandon Taubman ended the suspense during a grotesque display following Saturday's ALCS clincher that was topped only by the organization's appallingly tone deaf series of responses.
As reported by Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated and since confirmed by pretty much everyone in earshot, Taubman picked the champagne-soaked moments after Jose Altuve's dramatic walkoff homer to berate a trio of female reporters over reviled closer Roberto Osuna.
"Thank god we got Osuna," he reportedly yelled in the clubhouse. "I'm so (expletive) glad we got Osuna!"
Additional reporting by NPR has since revealed that Taubman appeared to be directing his malevolence at a journalist wearing a purple domestic-violence awareness bracelet who had previously tweeted about that cause after various Osuna outings in 2018.
The Astros had many ways to handle this situation. They made a choice so spectacularly wrong it highlighted a pervasive institutional rot that should disqualify their chief decision-makers from being handed the reins anywhere else.
I hope John Henry is watching.
How did the Astros respond? They dug a trench, manned the howitzers, and defended Taubman like a modern-day Private Ryan, defiantly declaring Apstein's story a fabrication. Taubman was just a victim supporting a player during a difficult interview, they claimed, ludicrously. When that story got Mutomboed by pretty much everyone in the room, they followed with a classic non-apology. "I am sorry if anyone was offended by my actions," Taubman wrote remorselessly, as if that remained a question open to debate.
Such institutional arrogance has defined the Astros for years, however. They're the same organization that drafted California high schooler Brady Aiken with the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft and offered him $6.5 million, only to halve their offer when they saw something they didn't like on his MRI.
Despite cries that they had done Aiken dirty - he ended up refusing to sign and blowing out his elbow at a post-grad academy - the Astros were rewarded, via a careful manipulation of the rules, with the second pick in the 2015 draft, which they used on an LSU third baseman you've heard of named Alex Bregman.
That was bad, but for pure moral bankruptcy, nothing tops the acquisition of Osuna from Toronto last summer. The immensely talented young closer was only available after being suspended 75 games for beating the mother of his 3-year-old. Swell guy, clearly. While most of baseball - including the Red Sox - considered Osuna radioactive, the Astros viewed him as an undervalued asset and pounced for next to nothing, because, hey, winning.
They then intoned about zero-tolerance policies and abhorring domestic violence, outing themselves as amorally transactional. It felt just as gross then as it does today.
Well now the Astros are in the World Series - they lost Game 1 to the Nationals on Tuesday night, praise be - and their executives are sure to be high on the list of anyone with an opening. Someone like, for instance, the Red Sox.
GM Jeff Luhnow has been mentioned as a pie-in-the-sky candidate, and who knows, maybe Taubman would've been on their list, too, though that ship has clearly sailed to waters where women shut up and cheer for the laundry, no matter who's wearing it (and probably before they're made to wash it).
What Henry and Co. must ask themselves is if anyone associated with the signing of Osuna, the defense of Taubman, and even the physical banning of reporters from their clubhouse - as the Astros did to a Detroit journalist who wanted to join a group interview with Justin Verlander - is fit to run the Red Sox.
Taubman's entitled behavior and the team's contemptible response suggest an organization that sees human decency as nothing more than an impediment to winning.
Red Sox players and fans deserve better, so my advice to Henry is this: cross any Astros off your list and go find someone who will kick their ass.
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