The Red Sox thought Bobby Valentine would restore order to a coddled clubhouse that disintegrated during the 2011 pennant race.
Instead, he only caused more problems.
The brash and supremely confident manager was fired, the day after the finale of a season beset with internal sniping and way too many losses. Valentine went 69-93 in his only year in Boston, the ballclub’s worst season in just about 50 years.
”I understand this decision,” Valentine related. ”This year in Boston has been an amazing experience for me, but I’m as disappointed in the results as are ownership and the great fans of Red Sox Nation. … I’m sure next year will be a turnaround year.”
A baseball savant who won the NL pennant with the N.Y Mets and won it all in Japan, Valentine was brought in after 2-time World Series champ Terry Francona lost control over the clubhouse in an unprecedented Sep collapse. But the players who made use of Francona’s hands-off approach bristled under Valentine’s abrasive style.
More importantly, they didn’t win for him, either.
Under Valentine, the Boston Red Sox started 4-10 and didn’t break .500 until after Memorial Day. By August, when the contenders were setting their playoff roster, the Red Sox knew they wouldn’t be among them and they traded some of their best players – and biggest didn’t – to the L.A Dodgers.
Without Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, the Red Sox will save $250 million in future salaries and have an opportunity to rebuild over the winter.
But that will be too late for Valentine.
”Our 2012 season was disappointing for many reasons,” director Ben Cherington claimed in a press release announcing the firing. ”No single issue is the reason, and no single individual is to blame. With an historic number of injuries, Bobby was dealt a difficult hand. He did the best he could under seriously adverse circumstances, and I am thankful to him.”
Cherington, who replaced Theo Epstein last offseason, will lead the search for a new manager. The team’s top target is current Toronto manager John Farrell, who has a year left on his handle the Blue Jays. NFL odds
”Our commitment to winning is unwavering. It’s a commitment to this team, to this city, and to these fans who have supported us through thick and thin,” owner John Henry recounted. ”We have confidence in Ben Cherington and the sort of baseball organization he is determined to build.”
One year after a 7-20 September cost the Boston Red Sox a chance at the postseason, the club went 7-22 in September and October to put a punctuation mark on its worst season since 1965. Boston lost its last 8 games, failing even in its role of spoiler as it was swept down the stretch by playoff contenders Tampa Bay, Baltimore and the rival New York Yankees.
That left them in last place – 26 games out – for the 1st time since 1992 and out of the playoffs for the 3rd year in a row.