Whether the players, fans, or general manager like it or not, there is a 99.9 percent chance Bobby Valentine will be the next manager of the Boston Red Sox. When Boston inevitably announces that it has chosen the self-proclaimed creator of the wrap sandwich as its next leader, it will be impossible for newly-hired G.M. Ben Cherington to pretend this was his decision. Cherington, who has been with the Red Sox since 1999, interviewed a handful of candidates — mostly bench and base coaches — who had minimal managerial experience at the MLB level. He brought in guys like Dale Sveum, Gene Lamont, and Sandy Alomar Jr. and ended up with Bobby V. This is a celebrity hire, and clearly one that was inspired by John Henry and Larry Lucchino.
That being said, everyone is going to be responsible for making it work. Red Sox fans are crossing their fingers that a clubhouse full of players who admit to drinking beer during games and not caring about a collapse will buy into the Bobby V. way. What that way is, we don’t really know.
Will Boston fans be treated to the Valentine who is a Sabermetrics fanatic and successful teacher of the game of baseball, or the one who had a falling out with the Mets front office in the earlier part of the decade. Time will answer all that, but according to Buster Olney Valentine is not the man some Red Sox players wanted to see walking through the door.
As Valentine emerged as a managerial candidate, some Red Sox players have been upset; they’ve been grumbling to each other, through texts and phone calls. Maybe it’s because they heard Bobby critique their play on the air. Maybe they haven’t liked his tone. Maybe they haven’t liked his smile. Maybe they’ve heard bad things. And the fact is they had no power to do anything about it, because the September collapse completely undercut the credibility of the Red Sox players. If one of them had called the front office to register concerns about Valentine, they might’ve heard laughter on the other end of the line. The Boston players had complete control of the clubhouse in 2011, and we know what happened.
Once he succeeds in learning his players’ first names, Valentine would be wise to let it be known that he’s not going to be walked on by Josh Beckett and company. Francona was reportedly run out of town by the foul attitudes of players such as Beckett and Lackey, so Bobby V. is undoubtedly aware that the challenge of handling the Boston clubhouse will not be easy. Whether it be Cherington, Lucchino, or both, someone feels as though he can make it work.
When you put aside all the drama that has highlighted the Red Sox team over the past few months, you’re left with an unquestionable amount of talent. If Valentine can somehow manage to get the team to put their egos to the side — even if only for a few seasons — Boston is an obvious championship contender with its core of Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, and Jacoby Ellsbury. If the Bobby V. from the New York Mets days meets the Boston Red Sox from September of 2011, we’ll be looking at the perfect storm of big-market failure.Google+