Bloody Sox

Red Sox Rants — and other random opinions about sports

Archive for the tag “Bobby Valentine”

Why today is best day of Red Sox year

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.

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Why Bobby needs to go

Even by his own admission, this season has been “miserable” for Bobby Valentine. Yesterday he jokingly threatened to punch radio talk show host Glenn Ordway in the mouth. If he only could have followed through on that, Bobby would have probably raised his popularity. Ordway is an asshole. But that’s beside the point. It was a stupid thing for Bobby to say, even if Ordway deserved the comment. Bobby is, after all, an adult. He’s been a professional broadcaster. He’s done hundreds, if not thousands, of interviews with the media. He should by now know how to handle himself.

When Ordway asked him if he’d “checked out” on the season, Bobby should have calmly said something to this effect:

Glenn, I’m glad you asked me this question because it gives me the chance to assure all Red Sox fans that my number one priority is helping this young team get through the remaining games of this season. What we do in September will help get them ready for next April. We’ve got a lot of young players, rookies even, who will go on to great careers, and the rest of this season is a chance for them to learn the right way to play the game. That’s what I’m here for.

He didn’t say that, of course. But that’s what the remaining games of this season should be about, and the very reason Bobby needs to go.

While it is not all his fault, Bobby Valentine is now a negative influence on this team, and negativity is contagious. Why would John Henry and company want to keep subjecting the likes of Jose Iglesias, Ryan Lavarnway, Ryan Kalish and the other young players on this team to this corrosive atmosphere? Keeping Bobby Valentine in the dugout is stupid and seems only calculated to prove some inconsequential point, and to save Larry Lucchino from the embarrassment, since Valentine was his choice.

I feel bad for Bobby Valentine, but he has been a major contributor to his undoing. Time to put him out of his misery and ours.

Recipe for Disaster

The Boston Red Sox will open the regular season in under two weeks, but it seems that the organization is not all on the same page regarding its goals and direction. It all goes back to last year, when there was a clear schism between new GM Ben Cherington and team president Larry Lucchino about who should be the manager. Lucchino won the day and the club hired Bobby Valentine. Now you don’t hire Bobby V. unless you are going to make a serious playoff run. They gave him only a two-year contract, so you know the pressure is on him to win now by fixing the clubhouse and getting the most from his talented players.

But Ben Cherington spent the winter putting into place modest pieces, and not even bothering to seriously address the team’s three biggest issues: the 4th and 5th starting pitchers and right field. Then he trades his starting shortstop in a salary dump in which he gets virtually nothing back. Does all that sound like a GM who expects to win this year? Not to me. It sounds like a GM who wants to start getting his ducks in a row for the future — and I have no argument with that. It’s just that I don’t think anyone bothered to tell Bobby V.

Now there is controversy about whether or not the Sox should start the season with young Jose Iglesias as their shortstop. Iglesias is by all accounts a whiz with the glove. It’s his bat that’s questioned. Cherington seems to want to let Jose season some more in the minors, while Valentine is pushing to have him take the field as one of the starting nine. If your goal is to win this year, then Iglesias has to be your shortstop. The Red Sox biggest issue last year was that the starting pitching didn’t go deep enough into games, which taxed the bullpen and left them flailing around when it mattered most in September. Iglesias at short helps the pitchers. And it isn’t like he is competing with Cal Ripken for the job. Mike Aviles couldn’t break into the Royals starting lineup. If you’re telling me the Red Sox offense is going to need his bat, I’m going to have trouble not laughing in your face.

Ask anyone in the Red Sox organization what the goal for any year is and you’ll be told it is to win the World Series. They’ll never admit to rebuilding or retooling, because they don’t want to lose their lovely string of sell outs. But in fact all the evidence points to the idea that Cherington doesn’t believe this team can win this year, so he’s looking to the future. I’m just not so sure anyone else int he organization knows this. Certainly Bobby Valentine doesn’t seem to be on the same page as Ben, and that means something is going to have to give. As Larry Lucchino has already hung his young GM out to dry, I suspect Ben Cherington is in for a long first year on the job — if he makes it that far.

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