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Should Bobby Valentine be fired? Red Sox owner responds

Aug 6, 2012, 6:44 PM EDT

Bobby Valentine Getty Images

Red Sox owner John Henry answered the calls for Bobby Valentine’s dismissal with an email sent to WEEI’s Rob Bradford and others Monday:

I’ve gotten questions about Bobby and about ownership from you so I’ll say the following on the record.

To blame Bobby Valentine for the Red Sox being .500 at this point in the season is simply wrong. A lot has been written about injuries to key players this year. The impact of that on the Sox this year should not be discounted.

Later on the in the email, Henry added that, “We are not making a change in manager.”

Which is probably for the best; if the Red Sox let Valentine go now, it’d suggest the inmates are running the asylum. Valentine has been a pretty good in-game manager for Boston since some early bumps in the road when he was trying to figure out how to utilize his closer-less bullpen, and given the number of injuries they’ve had, it’s hard to argue that the Red Sox have underachieved.

Whether Valentine should be invited back next year is the better question. The Boston clubhouse doesn’t seem like a very happy environment at the moment, and while that can’t be all Valentine’s fault, he’s not exactly one to unify the players (unless it’s in rallying them against himself). His early public comments on Kevin Youkilis certainly didn’t help the former All-Star turn it around, and the Red Sox eventually had little choice but to make a choice between Valentine and Youkilis, resulting in the terrible trade that sent Youkilis to Chicago.

Personally, I think the Red Sox should remove Valentine in the offseason and bring in more of a players’ manager in his place. Making the switch now would send the wrong message, though.

  1. bigfatpaulie27 - Aug 6, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    I sure hope they get rid of him this offseason!

  2. xpensivewinos - Aug 6, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Isn’t he part of the “two year plan?’ You know, until John Farrell becomes a free agent……

  3. willclarkgameface - Aug 6, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    I feel bad for Bobby Valentine. He wanted an opportunity to manage again and they threw one at him.

    He should have done his homework and spoken to Tito about the owners. If he had, he would have realized that they are all mental cases and that no one really wants this job in Boston. The media sucks. The team sucks. The fans suck. The ballpark sucks. Everyone has more interest in seeing the Yankees lose than seeing the Red Sox win. It’s a disgusting atmosphere.

    Feel bad for Bobby. He didn’t deserve this.

    • sabatimus - Aug 6, 2012 at 7:48 PM

      He didn’t deserve this? He signed the contract. If he didn’t know what he was getting into, he shouldn’t have signed. Especially given that he decided to run his mouth about his players.

      • taxed00 - Aug 6, 2012 at 9:12 PM

        Lets not make it sound worse than it was, all he said was he doesn’t see Youk having the same passion that he used to. I can’t see how that’s bad at all compared to some of the things Ozzie has and will continue to say about his players and ex-players. Hell, even Joe Girardi had worse to say about Ivan Nova last week.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Aug 6, 2012 at 9:12 PM

        And it’s not like Bobby V didn’t know what the media or players were like in Boston given that ESPN sent him there just about every week to cover the team. Bobby V flirted with the Marlins a few times and had some other interest as well, which is another way of saying if all he really wanted was another shot at managing a big league club he could have found that in an environment that is less intense than Boston. Truth is he wanted to make big money and have a team that was ready made to win so he waited around until an opportunity like that was offered to him. That’s why he ended up in Boston instead of Florida or Milwaukee (I think they expressed interest at one point but I could be wrong).

      • sabatimus - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:22 PM

        taxed00: 1) Girardi is a poor manager; 2) Ozzie is hardly a benchmark for anything except precisely what NOT to say to the media–any sane owner would’ve kicked him out on his ass long ago, but instead Jeff Loria is essentially giving him carte blanche. As this year in particular has shown, anything Ozzie says should be filtered extensively. Ozzie is the exception to the rule, because he has his OWN rules. Which means there is simply no comparison to Valentine–it’s apples and oranges.

      • protius - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:57 AM

        Bobby V. is not one of my favorite managers, but in my opinion, when he was hired, he was given the responsibility to operate the team as he saw fit.

        His main task was to help the Red Sox recover from the season ending fiasco that the previous manager admitted was partly of his own doing. With this in mind, Valentine was within his rights to put his own mark on the team, i.e., to put as much distance between the fiasco, and the new regime.

        If he wants to comment publicly about his player’s skills or passion for the game, then it’s his right as the manager to do so. Right or wrong, that’s his modus operandi, and the team’s owners, front office and players knew, or should have known what they were getting when Bobby took the job.

        It is within Bobby V’s job description to make public comments about players. It is not; however, in the job description of a cock-eyed little second baseman, to run his mouth and try to tell the manager how he is supposed to go about his business. John Henry is not paying Robspierre’s cock-eyed little Marat to manage the team; he is being paid to play second base. STFU and do your job.

        I think Pedroia’s faux pas has had as much a negative impact on the team’s moral this season as anything Bobby V. has said or done; especially after the disaster that the Red Sox experienced at the end of the 2011 season.

        The Red Sox just didn’t need the tension and the potential of dividing the team that Pedroia provided by publicly challenging his manager. That is not the behavior of a team leader, or someone who many consider to be the heart and soul of the Red Sox. It was an act of betrayal; the duplicity of a Benedict Arnold.

    • chill1184 - Aug 6, 2012 at 9:48 PM

      Yea because the NY media is so much more classy than the Boston one. Give me a break.

      As for V, he can only take so much blame. In the end the players have to play the game. Also wasn’t it Henry the one who wanted Valentine in the first place? I think it wouldn’t be in Henry’s best interest to boot V after wanting him in the first place which can result in a vote of no confidence from the fans via their wallets.

  4. keithbangedyermom - Aug 6, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    And…..a lot of it is your players SUCK!

  5. djdvd - Aug 6, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    So wait, being a gigantic asshole isn’t a good managing strategy? Oops!

  6. allbucdup - Aug 6, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    Why do owners both with the semantics? What does anyone expect to say, “yeah, idk what the hell Luchino was thinking.” come on…

    • protius - Aug 7, 2012 at 8:11 AM

      Can somebody translate this?

  7. gotampabay52 - Aug 6, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    love that Boston sucks this year

    • wendell7 - Aug 7, 2012 at 7:14 AM

      your team isn’t exactly tearing it up either

  8. uspoika - Aug 6, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    valentine deserves everything bad that happens. he brings it on himself

  9. bigleagues - Aug 6, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    It’s over. I’ve been in Valentine’s corner, but even I can see he has virtually zero chance of making it past the end of the year. And I think there is a real possibility that he is gone by Wednesday night.

    • pisano - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:33 PM

      bigleagues…. one can only hope. How dumb can this f*ck be? talking shit on his players, talk about biting the hand that feeds you! I seriously doubt his sanity. He’ll never manage again after this fiasco.

      • bigleagues - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:43 AM

        pisano,

        sorry dude, I don’t agree. I don’t think this is Bobby Valentine’s fault at all. I’m fairly confident that Gene Lamont (the other guy who would have gotten the job) wouldn’t have fared any better. Bobby certainly needs to better manage his interactions with the media, but have not, and still don’t buy the notion that Bobby Valentine is the problem. I believe he was made the scapegoat by the problem players before Pitchers and Catchers ever arrived.

        Even some in the Boston media began to shift into Valentine’s corner yesterday after Henry’s email.

        If the Sox falter again between now and September 1st, I think the Sox will fire Valentine but only as a last ditch attempt to shake things up – and only because it is the last option.

        Valentine is awkward. He is far from the best public interface that a team can have . . . but he knows his baseball – even if he’s a tad too old school for today’s players. And so generally I do agree he’ll likely never have a MLB managing job again – but this teams performance is not his fault – that responsibility lies squarely in the laps of the players and the front office dysfunction.

        Even after the team showed some legit life last night, I remain skeptical that they can just turn it on at this point. If they could do that – they would have done that late last September – when all they needed was 8 Wins in the month to make the play-offs – rather than the 7 they eeked out.

  10. bradybbgoat - Aug 6, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    A good leader should be able to unite men around him and Bobby V clearly has not done so.

    That being said, I feel that the players are the bigger issue here. They have a sense of entitlement that far exceeds their playing ability, and many (Lester, Beckett, Pedroia etc.) simply are not a good as they once were.

    Who knows, maybe some of them will bounce back next year. All I know is that this roster is currently carrying a lot of dead weight that could be better invested with players that are hungry and willing to work hard together.

    Bobby V is an easy scapegoat for a much more complicated situation.

    • sabatimus - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:25 PM

      Perhaps, but definitely agree on the dead weight thing: the Crawford deal was so obscene that clearly Epstein just threw money at players in his final year or two.

  11. oldpaddy - Aug 6, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Gordon Edes (@GordonEdes)
    8/6/12 5:34 PM
    RT @ScottLauber: Asked if Valentine would be manage for rest of the season, Cherington said, “I’m not going to put a timeline on it” #RedSox

  12. baseballisboring - Aug 6, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Look, I actually like Bobby V. He is a good tactical manager, knowledgeable baseball guy, etc etc. In most places, that’s really all you need. Push most of the right buttons and make sure the clubhouse doesn’t fall apart, which it probably won’t. But managing Boston in 2012 is a totally different thing. Managing in Boston is different than most places anyway because of the media scrutiny, but in 2012, after last year’s collapse, a fan-favorite manager being let go, the GM opting to go somewhere else…Bobby V was really the guy they thought was gonna right the ship?

    Again, I like him. He’s a good manager, he’s a little too blunt at times but I think that’s OK. But they hired him knowing that he has a tendency to put his foot in his mouth. They knew he was colorful and he would say some goofy things from time to time. They had to know that if things went south this year, that the media was gonna be all over him and everyone else. What they should’ve done is hired a tactically solid, mild mannered, vague, uninteresting guy who could deflect as many questions from the nauseating media sharks in Boston as possible.

    The worst part is that it seems like ownership stepped in and heavily influenced the Valentine hire. If you hire a GM, you leave him alone to do his job. No, this season isn’t Valentine’s fault. But it’s just another thing they’re gonna have to deal with at a time where they really didn’t need any more problems.

  13. Jason @ IIATMS - Aug 6, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    RedSox management pulled the equivalent of marrying a girl fresh off a lapdance, smitten by the sexiness of a name and a resume…and they’re shocked that it didn’t work out because the personalities didn’t match up once they got to know each other? Har har har.

  14. onbucky96 - Aug 6, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    Bobby, put your ‘stach back on and please return to Japan. This way we’ll be free from you, your managing “skills”, & your lousy insight on ESPN. Sincerely, Red Sox Nation.

    • keithbangedyermom - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:54 PM

      Keep blaming your manager. Tito last year. BV this year.

      Sorry Red Sox Nation…the truth is your team sucks.

  15. turdfurgerson68 - Aug 6, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    Glad to see ownership has his back. I didn’t think he was a good fit for Boston, and still don’t.

    However, once again the Boston media tries to inject itself by calling for his ouster…f them.

  16. alexb64 - Aug 6, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    This entire thing was puzzling. They made moves that send mixed signals. Clearly they thought things were broken that they needed to fire a very popular, winning & well respected manager in Francona. Then they hired Valentine, which says (IMO) that they thought the team was fine. If the team was fine, why get rid of a guy that knew how to handle the media & had the most success any manager had there since 1918? I think a better move would’ve been to hire a “from the ground up” type manager & trade off some the higher paid, non long-term assets like Beckett, Crawford. Youk (who’d have garnered a much better return prior to his start to 2012) & depending on how they really feel about their chances of retaining him, Ellsbury and turning them into prospects that while maybe not Top 5 in all of MLB guys, could’ve been used to help build a new core to go with Lester, Buchholz, Pedroida, A-Gone etc. I don’t think they would’ve been much worse, honestly minus all the drama & rumored in-fighting maybe they could’ve made a surprising run. Even if they were worse, it wouldn’t have been for too long.

    Instead they went with the “band-aid for a bullet wound” move in Bobby V who despite wanting very much to return probably deep inside wants more to be a baseball celebrity than a manager at this point in his life.

    • ptfu - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:38 PM

      Yeah, the whole “fire Francona” thing was weird and unnecessary. But the team got rid of him for whatever reason, and they needed a manager.

      I submit that Bobby V was and is the right guy for the job. Think back to last season. Chicken & beer. Perceptions of veterans not caring. Dysfunctional clubhouse. In this case, you DON’T hire a players’ manager: that empowers the veterans to run the show, which is/was part of the (image?) problem.

      No, you hire a loudmouth disciplinarian. Someone who will ride herd over the vets, and who will BE the story as often as not. You want a lightning rod for your players so the attention they do get is for what happens on the field instead of off it.

      The veterans will hate it. They’ll whine and complain and be pissy. But it’s what they need, and especially what the team needs. Hopefully the vets show their maturity and stabilize the team–if the players unite, it’s a victory, even if they unite against the manager.

      Bobby V isn’t the band-aid for a bullet wound. He’s the second bullet wound that makes you forget about the first one. After a few years his act will get stale and you get rid of him–either the vets have stabilized things or they’re fully out of control and you trade ‘em and rebuild. But for now, Bobby V is the medicine the Red Sox need, even if it’s a bitter pill to swallow.

  17. buffalomafia - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    As a Yankee fan I say bring back Francona! He is one hell of a great manager!

  18. mornelithe - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    While I agree blaming Bobby is an absolutely stupid thought, only surpassed by blaming Francona for last year. I believe the excuse that injuries have hurt this team are an absolute joke. Throughout all the injuries this season, the Sox have been one of the top offenses (3rd in runs, hits and total bases currently). No, the problem with the Red Sox this year is pretty clear.

    Josh Beckett and Jon Lester have combined for 10 wins and 40 losses. That will sink any team.

    • keithbangedyermom - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:58 PM

      It amazes me that some Red Sox fans think this situation is on the last two managers. It’s on Theo partially and the players mostly. Your team isn’t that good. WAKE UP.

    • taxed00 - Aug 7, 2012 at 8:20 AM

      Beckett and Lester have combined for 10 wins and 40 losses despite only starting 40 games? That’s impressive.

      • mornelithe - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:48 PM

        Baseball-reference.com has Beckett with 18 Game Starts, and Jon Lester with 22. My math’s a little rusty, what does that equal?

      • mornelithe - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:49 PM

        Oh jeez, yeah I see what I did there, I meant 10 wins out of 40 starts. My bad, sorry for the sarcasm.

  19. sabatimus - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    Nobody’s brought up “clubhouse cancer” yet. Given the Youk and Pedroia thing, and the value of first impressions, it’s entirely possible that members of the team view Valentine as a cancer. And yes, while it is the players’ job to perform, a cancer can undermine an entire team.

  20. rockthered1286 - Aug 7, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    And to think Bobby V PASSED on the O’s before taking this gig. I can only imagine how screwed up this team would be with him behind the bench… God bless Buck!!! Bet BoSox fans are envying the O’s bench boss these days as they look up from the bottom of the division!!

  21. pellypell - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    Come on, you don’t say you have intentions on firing your manager, you just fire him. What else does one expect Henry to say?

    Imagine ownership coming out and saying, “yes, he will be fired”?

    The first time ownership mentions Bobby getting fired will be when Bobby gets fired.

  22. sparky1002 - Aug 11, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Firing managers should only apply if the manager is failing to use the team talent in a way that creates the greatest chance of winning. Mr. Valentine deserves to remain as manager and the prima donna’s on the team causing disruptions in the team deserve to have their respective asses kicked by the management and owners as a means to get the point accross that their job is to play baseball to the best of their ability and do as their ordered by the manager the owners hire. But I guess it`s easier to fire one lone manager rather than support that same manager when he`s trying to bring some sense of responsibility to a team that appears to be out of control. Beer anyone??

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