Nick Cafardo definitely has a crush on Bobby Valentine. He’s been Bobby’s biggest booster since even before Valentine was hired to manage the 2012 Boston Red Sox, shucking aside any claim to journalistic integrity in the process. The latest love letter from Nick to Bobby is the perfect specimen.
In Cafardo’s world, Bobby Valentine never makes mistakes, and if he occasionally says or does something that doesn’t work out it is just Bobby’s way:
If Valentine started up the Youk issue all over again Sunday, so be it. He actually doesn’t mind stirring the pot.
He’s refering to comments Bobby made yesterday, implying that the prickly relationship he had with Youk was all due to Kevin’s thin skin. Earlier in the season, Valentine publicly criticized Youkilis for lacking commitment. Youkilis and other players, notably Dustin Pedroia, naturally took exception to those remarks. According to Cafardo:
Youkilis, who returns to Boston Monday with the White Sox, never seemed to get over Valentine’s comment about him and held it against the Red Sox manager, who said as much before Sunday’s 7-3 win over the Rays and may have restarted the Youk Wars.
Notice that Cafardo says Youkilis “seemed” to not have gotten over the issue and the only evidence cited by Nick is Valentine. This is basically a one-sided view of the whole affair. But the question is not whether Youk got over the comments or not; it is whether he felt he could trust a manager.
Cafardo defends the trade of Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox as the right move, making the case that it was simply a matter of choosing young Will Middlebrooks over the all-star Youkilis. Look, I agree and argued even before the trade that Middlebrooks should be starting over Kevin Youkilis. But I do not buy that this was a Middlebrooks vs. Youkilis question. Youkilis has always been a team player. He would not have liked being the back up corner infielder, but he would have accepted that role if he had a manager he could trust.
It was Bobby Valentine who made this trade necessary with his stupid public comments. I wouldn’t have minded the trade so much if they’d actually gotten something valuable in return. But what the Red Sox got is the opportunity to play (career .212 hitting) Brent Lillibridge and (career .247 hitting) Nick Punto for injured Gonzalez and Middlebrooks. And the added bonus of paying 80% of Youk’s salary to hit home runs for a team the Red Sox are competing with for a playoff spot. I find it very hard to believe Ben Cherington would have made that deal if Bobby Valentine hadn’t “stirred the pot.”
But you can’t tell that to Nick Cafardo. Love is blind, you know.