"Bill James is a consultant to the Red Sox. He is not an employee, nor does he speak for the club," the team said. "His comments on Twitter were inappropriate and do not reflect the opinions of the Red Sox front office or its ownership group. Our Championships would not have been possible without our incredibly talented players - they are the backbone of our franchise and our industry. To insinuate otherwise is absurd."
The Red Sox are the latest to hit back at James for his comments. James, a famed baseball historian and the father of Sabermetrics, took to Twitter on Wednesday to respond to general criticism from agent Scott Boras, who had ripped teams for tanking during the GM meetings.
"If the players all retired tomorrow, we would replace them, the game would go on; in three years it would make no difference whatsoever," James said. "The players are NOT the game, any more than the beer vendors are."
James's remarks drew the ire of many, including MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark.
"The comments Bill James made yesterday are both reckless and insulting considering our game's history regarding the use of replacement players," Clark said in a statement on Thursday. "The Players ARE the game. And our fans have an opportunity to enjoy the most talented baseball Players in the world every season. If these sentiments resonate beyond this one individual, then any challenges that lie ahead will be more difficult to overcome than initially anticipated."
Several past and current players, including Astros pitcher Justin Verlander, also took to social media to express their discontent with James's comments.
Wonder if the @RedSox win the World Series with a replacement player for @mookiebetts or @JDMartinez14 or @DAVIDprice24 or #Bogaerts or @JackieBradleyJr or #ChrisSale or @RickPorcello or @asben16 or #Devers or @kimbrel46 or........ https://t.co/jtk6lz96y2
— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) November 8, 2018
So smart that Bill James lost touch with reality! True ballers can’t be replaced but you can! https://t.co/nZEjQzgdXz
— Torii Hunter (@toriihunter48) November 8, 2018
The Bill James stuff is completely nonsensical. He mentioned coaches and staff. Go ahead..ask them. They’ll tell you the game is entirely about the players. The players and fans then connect and bond. That isn’t something that gets tossed aside...it matters. 1/