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Great moments in ringing endorsements: Bobby Valentine edition

Nov 22, 2011, 6:21 AM EDT

Bobby Valentine

The central dynamic in the Bobby Valentine/Red Sox thing is that ownership wants him and is going to get him and GM Ben Cherington has to get cool with that.  To that end, Valentine interviewed with Cherington yesterday.  The New York Times has a story about it. My favorite part:

Cherington was said in some news media reports to initially have favored Dale Sveum … But according to one of several people in baseball canvassed by Cherington for a report on Valentine, he is actually intrigued by Valentine and not opposed to hiring him.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s the “actually” that gets me there. I know the reporter put that in there, but it seems meaningful. Like, there’s some off the record stuff which would suggest that Cherington hates this but — no, really — he actually, if you can possibly believe it, likes Valentine. Or is at least intrigued which comes before liking. Maybe he could like him. Possibly.

Yes, that’s a total over-read. And for all of the focus on this now, Bobby Valentine is a good manager and there’s every chance he’ll be good for the Red Sox. And even if he’s not the best fit for this job, let’s be honest here and remember that a manger’s impact is often wildly overstated. Short of handing the job to Maury Wills or something, the world will not end no matter who the Red Sox hire.

But I still can’t shake the idea that the front office imposing Valentine on Cherington like this is bad news. Maybe this happened way more with Theo Epstein’s major decisions than we realize, but it just seems unhealthy for Cherington’s first real decision as general manager to be taken away from him like this.

  1. xmatt0926x - Nov 22, 2011 at 6:40 AM

    He’s a very quirky guy. When he’s on Baseball Tonight I find myself constantly watching him and his wild facial expressions when one of the other panelists are making a point. He can’t just sit there with a straight face. It’s strange.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:21 AM

      It’s his teeth. They run the show.

  2. paperlions - Nov 22, 2011 at 7:06 AM

    Who seriously thinks Valentine has “one of the sharpest baseball minds”?

    If that is so, why has it been 10 years since he’s had a job in any capacity in MLB? Having an active mind and being smart are not the same thing….while thinking is nice, thinking badly isn’t really a step up from not thinking.

    • bigharold - Nov 22, 2011 at 11:17 AM

      Valentine is a smart manager, he’s pretty good. But, the issue is he’s comes across with a little too much personality and maybe a hint of arrogance which is why I think he hasn’t been hired elsewhere in MLB. The very things that in this case make him appealing to the owners, his strong demeanor and reputation, in some ways also hold him back.

      I think what’s at risk with the owner overriding Cherington forcing Valentine on him that even minor differences between him and Valentine run the risk of being played out in the media and overblown. If Valentine thinks he has leverage with the owner there is always the risk that whether he exercises it or not it will be percived that he’s going over the GM’s head. That is not an ideal situation for a first time GM to be in, .. certainly not in a media intense city like Boston.

      Tactically he’ll be OK and, at least initially, he’ll be fine with the players but he’ll need to work on his his relationship with Cherington. If this gets off on the wrong foot it could go south in a hurry but it certainly isn’t inevitable.

  3. Gordon - Nov 22, 2011 at 7:51 AM

    Love the picture

  4. proudlycanadian - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:05 AM

    According to a story on by Dapper Dan “Valentine is the right sox fit”. I realize that a lot of Red Sox fans hate Dapper Dan, but I found today’s story to be a hoot.

  5. amaninwhite - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:09 AM

    Cherington “actually” thought that he’d be able to make his own decisions without interference from ownership.

  6. purnellmeagrejr - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    enjoyed the Maurty Wills mention – now there was a manager who was able to keep the game in perspective.

  7. purnellmeagrejr - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    enjoyed the Maury Wills mention – now there was a manager who was able to keep the game in perspective.

  8. Chris Fiorentino - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:57 AM

    “not opposed to hiring him”

    Shouldn’t the GM hire someone that he wants, as opposed to someone he is “not opposed to hiring”? Red Sox are in big trouble if the ownership is going to run the baseball operations.

    Next story…

    “Red Sox sign Pujols for 10 years and $300 million dollars. GM Ben Cherington wasn’t actually opposed to this signing and was intrigued at the prospect of paying Pujols $30 million a year when he is 39, 40 and 41.”

    • paperlions - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:08 AM

      That’s the thing, Cherington isn’t doing the hiring, or even the choosing.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Nov 22, 2011 at 9:32 AM

        That is why they will fail. Nothing good comes from ownership meddling in the day-to-day baseball operations…see Yankees, New York 1982-1994.

      • yankeesfanlen - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:02 AM

        Chris, even I agree with that, but it was obtaining joy through the preposturous.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:21 AM

        Chris, while I don’t disagree with the premiss about “Nothing good comes from ownership meddling in the day-to-day baseball operations…” It should be pointed out that even though the Yankees missed the post season in 1982 through 1994 that in 5 years 1983 through 1987 the Yankees compiled a record of 454-355 and in 3 of those 5 years won 90 or more games.

        Like I said I don’t disagree with you premiss about management interference. I could even bring up Levin’s hiring of Soriano over Cashman’s objections as further proof. But I did want to clarify that 5 year period from 1983/1987.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:37 AM

        uyf, I believe George would be rolling in his grave if he heard you saying that a season in which the New York Yankees did not make the playoffs was nothing more than a complete and utter failure. Of course, if he understood both of our points that his meddling helped contribute to all those years of not making the playoffs, he would already be rolling in the first place.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:41 AM

        Chris, I have not doubt the “Boss” has rolled over in his grave a couple of times during the 2011 season…and the Yankees made the playoffs.

        All I was trying to say is that some years it takes more then just being good, it also takes just a little bit of luck to get to the “promised land” in baseball.

  9. deathmonkey41 - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    The new manager’s name should rhyme with Brady Nittle.

  10. uyf1950 - Nov 22, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    Getting back to Bobby V. It’s my feeling that if the Sox do hire him (and I think they will) his act will get “old” in Boston pretty quick. At least that’s my opinion.

    I believe there is a time and a place for everybody and everything. I don’t believe Boston is the right place for Bobby V and especially not now.

    • bigharold - Nov 22, 2011 at 11:22 AM

      Perhaps but remember Valentine is a response to a perceived deficiency. Also, don’t discount the possibility that he’s learned a few things in the last ten years. Not getting a MLB managers job in the last ten years has had to make him think about why.

      If they do hire him, .. at least it won’t be boring.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 22, 2011 at 11:59 AM

        bigharold, I have no doubt you are 100% correct about it being a response to a perceived deficiency. But I also believe “what you see is what you get” and I think that’s particularly true in Bobby V’s case.

        I’m just waiting to see what the Sox do about the players that actually were responsible for the September collapse. In my opinion so far all the Sox have done is use people as scapegoats for certain players poor performance. And in my opinion they have not attacked the underlying problem. It’s just very hard to me to believe that the ownership of the Sox would want to start the 2012 season with virtually exactly the same group of players. I understand that for the the middle 3 1/2 months of the season they played lights outs. But for arguably 8 to 10 weeks to start and end the season some of those same players did a very, very poor job of preparing themselves for “battle”. Just my opinion.

      • paperlions - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:00 PM

        Does anyone remember the Mets teams Valentine managed? They make the 2011 RS seem like choir boys.

      • bigharold - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:35 PM

        I agree with you regarding the scapegoating but frankly a lot of that seems to be the product of an almost irrational need to explain the collapse that just took on a life of its own. And, it was exacerbated by the local media adding fuel to the fire t every opportunity. It appears that the greater their effort at damage control the worse the damage appeared.

        As for starting the “..2012 season with virtually exactly the same group of players.”, .. do they rreally have much of a choice? Francona is gone because you can’t fire all the players.

        There biggest weakness last year was their pitching and frankly there isn’t a lot of decent pitching available. Nor is it like that the RS are going o go out and get a big FA pitcher. I’m guessing that they are a little snake bit from Lackey and Crawford. And, the pitching situation was made worse by the departure of Papelbon and losing Lacky to TJ surgery, (He sucked but he he did throw a lot of innings). They will have to make do with their starters and build a pen. Maybe the Cubs will give the RS a sweetheart deal for Garza but I wouldn’t hold my breath. The real question for next year is do the RS bring back Ortiz or do they go get another DH? Who is playing RF?

        I don’t think the RS require a major overhaul just some tweaking and a new voice in the manager’s office. Regardless, I think the RS will go as far as their pitching can take them. The problem for the RS is at the moment, that doesn’t look very promising.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:50 PM

        bigharold, I understand exactly where you are coming from with your explanation. I don’t disagree with you about the Red Sox will only go as far as their pitching will take them but i do think they have some “offensive” issues that need to be addressed “before” the start of the 2012 season. For example you mentioned RF. Do they go it on the cheap with Reddick or some platoon in house guys. Or do they bit the bullet and tray and get a RF’er that can provide some pop in the order and play defense. Then as far as I can see there is the question of Youkili’s health he has not been healthy for the last 3 years and to expect him to man 3rd base on a day to day basis is folly. And lastly the Sox can NOT afford in 2012 a season from Crawford like 2011. They need to figure out what’s up with him. At least those are my opinions.

      • bigharold - Nov 22, 2011 at 2:35 PM

        A lot of what the RS do will depend on Ortiz. If they bring him back I think they are more likely to try to deal in house or sign a relative inexpensive RFer. Maybe sign Cuddyer. Beltran’s name has been bandied about but that looks like a bigger risk health wise than Drew was the last few years. I really don’t see them taking the risk. If Ortiz walks, which I doubt, than the urgency becomes greater and I could see them signing Beltrtan.

        Youkilis, they’re sort of stuck with. He’s not cheap but nor is he expensive, unless you factor his health, which has been shaky the last couple of years. I think they perhaps sign a 3B if Ortiz walks and make Youlkilis the DH. It all depends whether they like the RFers or 3B available after the dust settles with Ortiz.. Pedroia and Youkilis, still, scare me when they come to the plate in big situations.

        Crawford, .. they have to hope they get better from him. If not it’s going to be a long 6 years for everybody in the Nation. If he gets off to a poor start it might well turn ugly. Regardless, there isn’t much they can do about it.

        I think they should see if there is a catcher available with some pop as a back up but regardless they needs to jettison Capt. Sucker Punch. For all his alleged leadership qualities he didn’t do much to stop last season’s collapse and he absolutely stinks behind the plate.

        Frankly they scored a lot of runs last season and if Ortiz returns I don’t think they need to add much to do so again next season, .. assuming all perform as expected. Of course from time to time that is a big assumption. Nevertheless, I think the RS need to focus on their pitching before anything else. Ortiz is central to the offense but it’s not so much that their dead without him but his situation will drive the strategy for building next years line up.

  11. deathmonkey41 - Nov 22, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    Have they interviewed Mike Quade yet? Another excellent choice!

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