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Is there already a rift growing between Bobby V and Ben Cherington?

Mar 24, 2012, 8:59 AM EDT

Ben Cherington Bobby V Reuters Reuters

When Bobby Valentine was originally hired as manager of the Red Sox, it was suggested that ownership went over the head of newly-hired general manager Ben Cherington to make the call. This led to all sorts of speculation that Cherington was already marginalized and that he would have a difficult time building the ballclub that he wants to build.

That’s an extreme view, of course, but this piece by Christopher L. Gasper of the Boston Globe suggests that a power struggle could already be emerging in regard to key roster decisions.

A wedge appears to be forming between new manager Bobby Valentine and new general manager Ben Cherington on the best way to employ Daniel Bard, starter or reliever, and the best place to employ shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias, Fenway Park or Pawtucket.

Valentine reportedly told scouts from outside the Sox organization he wants Iglesias, not utilityman Mike Aviles, as his starting shortstop. The Sox manager believes Iglesias is ready to play in the majors, which runs counter to the organization’s belief that Iglesias, who is batting .200 this spring with one extra-base hit, is greener than Fenway’s fabled Wall with the bat.

Valentine has been lukewarm, bordering on openly cynical about Bard’s conversion from setup man to starter, a centerpiece of Cherington’s team-building blueprint, and a report, citing an anonymous Sox staffer, said Bard would be returning to the bullpen when the games begin for real.

Reasonable baseball people disagree on things like this all the time, so we could probably find similar situations with all 30 teams right now. You know, one manager wants the top prospect to make the team while the GM would prefer to delay his service time and pick the non-roster invitee with the out-clause in his contract or the player who is out of options. This is everyday baseball stuff. The potentially troubling part is that Valentine might feel that he doesn’t have to agree with Cherington if John Henry and Larry Lucchino have his back.

It’s still way too early to make any judgments about whether this will be a successful marriage, but it will be very interesting to see how these particular situations play out.

  1. emn081205 - Mar 24, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    Man..i am very happy that the Sox hired Bobby V. Primarily so I don’t have to hear his mouth on ESPN now and more importantly so he can keep driving the organization right into the downward spiral that it’s already in..good luck in 4th place this season, Sox!

    • brokea$$lovesmesomeme - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:45 AM

      If the GM and the manager always get along and there isnt some sort of push back on issues from one side or the other than the truth will never come out. Tito and Theo didn’t always get along and they didn’t do to bad. And let’s not forget that we are talking about this in March not August.

      • bigharold - Mar 24, 2012 at 1:28 PM

        “Tito and Theo didn’t always get along and they didn’t do to bad. And let’s not forget that we are talking about this in March not August.”

        Oh, .. sure logic and reason. Are you sure you know how things work around here?

      • brokea$$lovesmesomeme - Mar 24, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        Good point. How about this ” uh-oh we’re are effed”?

      • brokea$$lovesmesomeme - Mar 24, 2012 at 1:40 PM

        Or maybe this, fire BV, cherington is in over his head, and luchino is a bully. This would never have happened if Tito had just kept an eye on the beer and chicken boys. This really never would have happened if they hadn’t signed Lackey. Why did we ever sell Ruth to the Yankees?

      • bigharold - Mar 24, 2012 at 1:49 PM

        Now you’re talking!

    • Old Gator - Mar 24, 2012 at 1:48 PM

      The upper management of the Beanbags is beginning to look like a lobster tank at Legal Seafood after someone forgot to peg their claws. This should definitely be an entertaining season, except not so much on the field.

  2. theonlynolan - Mar 24, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    Well they’re both half right as far as I can tell. Bard belongs in the pen and Iglesias, who can’t hit his way out of a wet paper bag, belongs in Pawtucket. The two should ro sham bo or play rock, paper, scissors as a tie breaker to decide who gets to make personnel decisions from here on out.

  3. gpatrick15 - Mar 24, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Bard belongs in the pen. Plain and simple. When Pap left the closer job should have been Bard’s for the taking. Whether or not he played well enough as the closer should have been determined in spring training, not experimenting with whether he can be a full time starter or not.

    Jose Iglesias has potentially Gold Glove defense, but a Little League bat. Send him down to Pawtucket at least to start the season, and call him up this summer if he improves. Using him everyday in the batting order turns a possibly dominant offense into one with a glaring hole in it whenever Iglesias comes up to bat.

  4. EK Ohio - Mar 24, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Hey DJ, I’ve got a better headline for this “news”:

    “Is the media already imagining a rift between Valentine and Cherington because they desperately want one?”

    Yeah, that’s better.

    • D.J. Short - Mar 24, 2012 at 9:50 AM

      That’s part of the deal in Boston, for sure. I attempted to downplay the story as best I could, because it is probably being overblown. But I do wonder how much influence Valentine already has. That’s fair, I think.

    • urfinished - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:08 AM

      I hate to tell you bud, but where there is smoke, there is fire. Everywhere Bobby V has been, he has butted heads with the “higher ups”. He is a great baseball mind, but it has never ended pretty for him. He was worshipped in Japan so that worked out quite well. In other words, Cherington better be ready to stroke that ego or this will end poorly. I’m not saying it cant work, but there is a reason he was not offered a major job in almost 10 years. This could either be really good or really bad…time will tell.
      And while the media will fabricate anything into a story, Bobby Valentine will absolutely butt heads with Cherington. We’re about to find out how good of a hands-on GM Cherington is in dealing with talent.
      This hiring baffled me…there seemed to be better options available, but people can change and if they learn to work well together it could be very strong. The Henry family loves smart people…and Valentine is smart. Emotionally…mehhh.

      • paperlions - Mar 24, 2012 at 1:12 PM

        Valentine thinks he is a great baseball mind, there isn’t actually any evidence that he knows any more or understands any more about baseball than any other guy that has been around the sport for decades. He seems like an average baseball mind with an above average ego and an even bigger mouth.

        He does love to hear himself talk….he’ll be in front of more cameras and microphones now than when he was with ESPN doing 1 game/week.

  5. 13yrsmlbvet - Mar 24, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    That relationship will implode in time. Both guys are as arrogant as can be, Valentine publicly and Cherington privately. Their dick measuring contest will not end nicely. Throw Lucchino in there and it’s a mess all the way around.

    • oldpaddy - Mar 24, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      I know that luchino and bobby v are arrogant, but how do you know that charington is? Not saying he isn’t, just asking you to elaborate on your comment.

  6. j0esixpack - Mar 24, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    This is stupid. Cherington and the owners hired Velentine to be manager. Now let him manage.

    If the players aren’t good enough, go get better players.

    But if you don’t trust your manager to manage, go get another manager.

    • Ari Collins - Mar 25, 2012 at 8:49 AM

      The manager’s job is to manage the roster that his boss, the GM, gives to him. Obviously they should work together, and the manager should give his input on which players are ready for the majors, and which role best suits a player, but it’s not ultimately the manager’s decision.

      In other sports, maybe, the manager’s as much an executive. But in baseball, he’s a field manager only.

      • j0esixpack - Mar 25, 2012 at 11:40 AM

        While nothing in baseball happens in a vacuum (GMs make decisions with the input of the coach and vice versa) ultimately a manager’s ability to be a good field manager is DIRECTLY connected to his ability to decide who sits on the bench and who plays.

        And while contract options obviously can play a role in Major/Minor league moves, when players know that a Manager is begin blocked from calling up a player he wants, that completely undermines his credibility as a manager who can reward or punish.

        No one’s talking about giving Valentine the GM checkbook – but if there’s a player he wants from Pawtucket who he feels deserves to play more than a journeyman player, let the manager manage.

  7. legacybroken - Mar 24, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    Maybe in 20 years we’ll be talking about the Beer and Fried Chicken curse that began the Red Sox downfall.

    • oldpaddy - Mar 24, 2012 at 12:51 PM

      At this point the Sox should embrace the chicken and beer image that they’ve made for themselves. Hell, Popeyes chicken should sponser the sox pitching staff!

  8. hushbrother - Mar 24, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    I’d wager a load of dough that if things came to a head, ownership would have Cherington’s back. I’m guessing this is ownership subtly conveying that to Bobby through the media. But that doesn’t mean there’s any real dissension at play here. Everyone involved wants this to work out well.

    • daisycutter1 - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:55 AM

      Pay up. Lucchino and Henry hired Valentine when Cherington wanted Sveum. It’ll take a lot for ownership to not have Valentine’s back should things get especially ugly in Boston.

  9. pisano - Mar 24, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    If the expression “ship of fools” was in the dictionary you’d see the entire Red Sox organizations picture right next to it.

    • gpatrick15 - Mar 24, 2012 at 10:28 AM

      I don’t know if Bobby V will be the one to lead us to another World Series title, but I sure want him to be the guy. I think he’ll be a good enough manager after the whole team gets on board with the Bobby way of doing things. He has one of the most talented rosters in the entire league, one that, after the collapse, still won 90 games. If Bobby can get production from the talent he has been given on the roster, a long postseason run isn’t entirely out of the question. If Beckett, Bucholz, Lester, Bard, and whoever makes the fifth starter (4th AND 5th if Bard is put back in the pen) all remain moderately healthy and the offense puts up it’s usualy amount of runs, then I see no way we finish outside of the playoffs. 90 wins should be easily attainable. 1st place in a tough AL East would be a challenge, of course, but I think we can do it.

    • gpatrick15 - Mar 24, 2012 at 10:30 AM

      Meant the above as a regular post, not as a reply.

  10. chiadam - Mar 24, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    Who has the final say on Iglesias? The manager decides who ultimately plays, but the general manager decides who ultimately makes the team. This is why the manager and general manager should disect the roster, you know, before hiring the manager.

  11. deathmonkey41 - Mar 24, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    There’s only one possible solution- duel at twenty paces.

    • cur68 - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:13 AM

      With pig spears.

  12. bloodysock - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    If they don’t clean this circus up, they’ll become the baseball version of the Jets.

    • paperlions - Mar 24, 2012 at 1:15 PM

      Funny, I was thinking when reading the post how much Valentine sounds like baseball’s version of Rex Ryan.

  13. skeleteeth - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Why isn’t there any discussion about Pedro Ciriaco making the club or not? Who cares about Iglesias. He isn’t ready.

  14. drewsylvania - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    It’s the Globe. They have more trolls than Lord of the Rings.

  15. buffalomafia - Mar 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Lets go YANKEES!

  16. Jack Marshall - Mar 24, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Oh, PLEASE. Dan Duquette constantly acquired players for Jimy Williams that Williams just refused to use. The Sox brain trust decided that the Sox should use a bullpen by committee (actually Bill James’ ‘use closers when the game is on the line” theory), structured the team that way, and Grady Little was too dumb to figure out how to do it, so it bombed without really being tried (about half his pen ended up as closers elsewhere).

    Would Valentine let the brass shelve a pitcher like Buchholtz for the rest of the season like Francona did last year, with the team desperate for a starting pitcher, without making a stink? No…which is why he’s an upgrade. Disagreements of this sort between managers and GM’s are normal; the Sox just had an atypical period with an unusually compliant manager, and it happened to work.

    • mcsnide - Mar 24, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      They made the decision to shelve Buchholz when they were on pace to win 100 games. Everything I’ve read about lower back stress fractures indicates that athletes need 5-6 months of recovery time. A pitcher’s a lot more dependent on his lower back than you or I at a desk job.

      But yeah, Terry sucked for not screaming at management and demanding that Buchholz rub some dirt on it and pitch.

      • Jack Marshall - Mar 24, 2012 at 7:05 PM

        They didn’t have to keep him shelved later, when they had to trot out people like Miller, Bedard and a fading Wakefield.Pete Abraham and others on the beat say that CB could have pitched. They pitched Curt Schilling with a damaged ankle. Francona was complacent. Valentine is never complacent.

  17. randygnyc - Mar 24, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Go back and look at my posts before valentine was hired. I said valentine doesn’t sign with the red sox without full control of baseball operations. Cherington was emasculated when valentine was hired, even if he doesn’t know it yet.

  18. j0esixpack - Mar 24, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    It’s also stupid to suggest Cherrington is emasculated because he has less than full control. Of course he lacks full control. So did Theo at that stage in his career and the owners always retained the power of the purse.

    This is only a problem for Cherrington if he makes it a problem.

    But let the manager manage or get a new manager.

  19. racksie - Mar 24, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Gosh, Bobby Valentine is letting his ego getting in the way? I agree this is probably normal stuff for evry team in baseball. The difference is Bobby V. puts it in the news.

  20. racksie - Mar 24, 2012 at 3:45 PM


  21. randygnyc - Mar 24, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    @joesixpack- what I am suggesting is that BobbyV wouldn’t have taken this job without getting guarantees from ownership that he had full control of baseball ownership. I am also suggesting that Cherrington has never been informed of it. I guess, over time, it’ll be clear to everyone, including Ben.

  22. pisano - Mar 25, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    The season hasn’t even started and Bobby V is getting most of the Boston press, I have a feeling he won’t have a long career in Beantown. He seems to have somewhat of a small mans complex.

  23. aceshigh11 - Mar 25, 2012 at 4:56 AM

    The GODDAMNED Globe…

    …always, always, ALWAYS trying to manufacture controversy.

    I generally enjoy their writing and outsized personalities, but articles like this infuriate me. This is nothing but media-driven shit-stirring.

    Of course Dan Shaughnessy (CHB) is the worst of the lot, but Bob Ryan, Tony Masseroti, Chad Finn, and Chris Gasper (the man who wrote this particular article) all have their “moments” every season.

  24. 1historian - Mar 25, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    This is funny. This is nothing more than the annual bs from the fans, the team, the press and any other moron who happens on the scene.

    The only thing they ALL love more than fightin’ feudin’ and fussin’ EVERY YEAR is – nothing.

    And that includes winning championships

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