Bobby Valentine was officially relieved of his duties as manager of the Boston Red Sox today. This was overdue, as I argued earlier. I actually have a soft spot for Bobby — he’s a bicycle riding and native of Connecticut afterall. But he was a bad choice to lead this team, even worse than we knew, as we are now finding out. Well, I don’t feel too sorry for him. He made this bed and he’ll be paid $2.5 million next year for doing nothing (John Henry needs to thank Larry Lucchino for this.)
But what also makes today special is that we no longer have to listen/watch/read about this inept squad. Seriously. As constituted in the last few weeks of the season, the Red Sox were absolutely the worst team in the major leagues. There were probably several AAA teams that would have beaten up on them.
Okay, I can understand that the lineup was bad. Too many of their top talents were injured or traded away. That left a pretty skeletal crew of quality players and a bunch of fill-ins. So I can forgive them for not scoring a lot of runs. But what about the pitching staff. The bullpen was pretty healthy — in fact, healthier than they’ve been in a while with the return of Rich Hill and Scott Atchison. The starters still included genuine major leaguers in Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Aaron Cook, Felix Doubront and even Dice-K. And yet this staff regularly got shelled game after game. They averaged 6.6 runs against in their final ten games. The only reason can be that they stopped caring. And that’s too bad, because the position players appeared to be playing hard right to the end.
So, yes, today is the best day of the year, just eeking out the day in late August when Beckett, et. al. were shipped off to the Dodgers.
Ben Cherington is now being given the opportunity to make this into his own team. He has the payroll flexibility to bring in his type of players on his type of contract. And he will be hiring a manager apparently without the interference of Lucchino (let’s wait and see if that’s really how it goes down).
It’s going to be an interesting hot stove season in Red Sox Nation.