Red Sox’s shake up signals Valentine’s return
The big shake up in Boston should leave no doubt about the immediate future. Bobby Valentine has won the immediate skirmish there and undoubtedly will be back next season to fulfill the second year of his contract as manager.
The deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers gave the Red Sox about $260 million in salary space to immediately rebuild the club, but it removed the dissidents from the clubhouse. It took guts for Red Sox management to do this and that group should be commended. The process, though, really began earlier in the season when Kevin Youkilis was moved to the White Sox. But the bleating and the losing continued since then.
“Yes, it was necessary,” Valentine told the media about the trade. “It just didn’t seem like it mixed as well as it should. It has nothing to do with the individuals in the trade.”
Oh, it certainly did. And if Dustin “that’s not the way we do things around here” Pedroia doesn’t watch it he will be the next go. David Ortiz, down now with what appears to be a season-ending foot injury, will almost certainly be allowed to leave via free agency. And with that the Red Sox will be free of the Theo Epstein era, even though it ended with the Red Sox winning a rare pair of World Series titles.
To be sure, the results of this season do not stand alone. The Red Sox haven’t been a very good team since last August. They are 68-86 in nearly one full calendar year.
“It’s been a large enough sample size going back to last year that we needed to make more than cosmetic changes,” Boston’s first-year general manager Ben Cherrington said.
By dumping the two players making more than $200 million in salary over the course of the next five seasons — Gonzalez and Crawford — the Red Sox now should have a running chance. So does Valentine. The players and some members of the Boston media tried to run him out of town. One of the members of top management told me recently that the Red Sox weren’t going to be “bamboozled into doing that.”
Now the front office seems to have made its choice. There’s the old adage that you can’t get rid of the team so you have to get rid of the manager. Well, this time management got rid of the team.
Like Larry Bowa, Valentine’s a veteran old school guy who manages out of chaos. A team should know that when it hires him. Now it’s time to leave him alone and give him the opportunity to see what he can do.