Do we really have any data about Lucchino's role, though? It seems like everything we have either relies on anecdote/assertion (media "reports" and allusion), or a 30,000-foot view of the organization (in which "Things are good = Lucchino is good" or the converse). I feel like there is startlingly little information available regarding Lucchino's actual role, or which elements of the team really hold his fingerprints.
Until one of the insiders writes the tell-all book some day, most of what we have to go on is inference based on the facts we do have. Rolling this all the way back to the days when the ownership group arrived, we know they wanted a GM who would build the team around the moneyball concept and when Beane turned down the job, the next in line was Theo. The ownership group had just invested a lot of money in this shiny new toy, and it seems obvious they weren't going to hand the keys of the car to a novice GM and let him do whatever he wanted, so the pattern was laid down at the start - baseball decisions would be collective decisions. How much delegation of duties there was is impossible to know for sure, but this much we do. At some point Theo walked away and had to be coerced back into the job. From everything we've heard, the reasons for this were his belief that the powers of the GM had been so diminished that he simply wasn't interested in being the figurehead GM for the Boston Red Sox. With a recent World Series win under his belt, the end of the 86 year drought, and all the publicity and "baseball cred" that came with it, the timing was right. This guy would have no trouble getting a GM job elsewhere in baseball, so he was negotiating from a position of strength.
The exact terms under which Theo returned are unknown but it seems that more power for the GM role, or at least some mechanism by which he had a greater voice in the "collective decision process" was the factor. And then the team went on to win another World Series. But something important had happened. While Theo was gone, the key players who made the 2007 victory possible (Beckett & Lowell) had been acquired in a trade. The details of who made what decisions are somewhat irrelevant. But it was certainly carried out in the absence of ANY GM, much less a fully powered traditional one, so one can see where conclusions might be drawn by some or all of the ownership group (although perhaps not immediately). We also know that the major free agency acquisitions which occurred under Theo's new aegis were a catastrophic disaster. The evils inherent in the Crawford and Lackey contracts have been dissected in depth so I won't repeat the exercise, but there's no doubt that each was a baseball move, and accordingly have to be laid in some part at Theo's feet. Again, exactly how much of a role he played is unknown. But there can't be any doubt that if Theo was now wielding greater power over baseball ops, then his share of the blame is greater than it would have been in the earlier structure.
Finally comes the September collapse. Another episode dissected ad infinitum, but the only thing we care about in this analysis is that we know the ownership held the Manager to be directly responsible, even if only through acts of omission. And the other thing we know is that to all appearances, the one individual organizationally responsible for the manager's performance was the GM (under the post-Theo-walkout power structure). And so first went Tito with Theo soon to follow. Leaving the original ownership group intact, along with most of the baseball operations staff below the manager and GM level. Essentially exactly what was running the show during the interim period when Theo had walked away and the team was functioning without a GM.
What's interesting now is to use those insights as a prism in which to re-examine the way in which the 2012 Red Sox Baseball ops team was assembled. First came the search for a GM. Promoting Ben Cherington from within can be seen as the logical first step toward reconstructing the team under the old model in which ownership has a much greater voice in operations. Overriding Ben's opinion and selecting Valentine as the new Manager is simply a reflection of the new reality. Cherington's GM powers are not those of post-2006 Theo but those of pre-2004 Theo. Maybe even less. Keeping much of the old coaching staff is also explainable since the same thing happened when Tito came on board in 2004 (3 of 6 coaches were holdovers from 2003), which again fits the pattern of an ownership group that is following a previously successful template. Thus the ownership group clearly took on a more active role in 2012, but the results were the polar opposite of what happened in 2004.
Which brings us finally to Larry Lucchino's role in the ownership group, and the extent to which his is the primary guiding hand when it comes to baseball operations. Although we don't know how much leverage Larry has versus that of John Henry or Tom Werner, we do know that another difference between 2004 and 2012 is the growth of the Fenway Sports franchise, in particular the acquisition of the Liverpool team in late 2010. Tom Werner is the chairman of the that organization, so the implication is he's got a lot on his plate in that role. And from a distance, it certainly appears that John Henry is personally putting as much time into growing the Liverpool franchise as he did upon acquiring the Red Sox. So on that basis alone one could reasonably conclude that two key members of the "collective decision group" are contributing less. And in that void, it seems quite likely that Larry has taken on more of a decision maker role, especially given his years of experience as a baseball executive.
Accordingly he certainly appears to be the principal author of the 2012 management chaos, and hopefully the recent visible re-engagement of the entire ownership team is something more than a PR move, but rather a signal that the "collective" is going to get more deeply engaged with, hopefully, better decisions going forward.