Is it possible for a manager and a general manager to have a falling out before a team has played a single regular-season game under either person’s rule? Prior to Saturday, I would have told you it’s highly unlikely. That was before the Boston Globe reported that new Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington and new manager Bobby Valentine are already experiencing a power struggle.
Two young players appear to be at the heart of the disagreement. For starters, Valentine is reportedly not thrilled about the idea of having Daniel Bard as a starting pitcher, and after what he has seen throughout spring training he may already be planning on having him return to the bullpen at the start of the regular season. Cherington’s plan for the future of the team includes Bard as a starter.
The other issue involves 22-year-old shortstop Jose Iglesias. Iglesias is said to be a tremendous fielder, but many believe his bat is not MLB ready, as he is batting .200 this spring with one extra-base hit. According to the Globe, Cherington would rather see experienced utility man Mike Aviles at shortstop to start the season while Valentine is ready to let Iglesias have the position.
Depending on how the differences play out, this could be much ado about nothing. Perhaps Iglesias will begin the year in the minors. Maybe Bard will start and hold his own or return to the bullpen and dominate. Winning heals all, but from the sound of it the relationship between Cherington and Valentine — who was the choice of Boston’s ownership and not Cherington — is not all that strong. At the very least, this will be one of many story lines to monitor as the season gets underway.
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