Valentine’s lone season in Boston resulted in a 69-93 record
In the aftermath of their worst season since 1965, the Boston Red Sox announced on Thursday that they have dismissed manager Bobby Valentine. In a press release, club officials said they will search for a new skipper immediately.
Valentine’s lone season in Boston resulted in a 69-93 record and a last place finish in the American League East. During his brief tenure, Valentine had a tense relationship with his coaching staff, players and the media.
“Our 2012 season was disappointing for many reasons,” said Executive Vice-President/General Manager Ben Cherington, who made the announcement and who will lead the search. “No single issue is the reason, and no single individual is to blame. We’ve been making personnel changes since August, and we will continue to do so as we build a contending club. 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.”
After he was hired last off-season, Valentine kept three members of predecessor Terry Francona’s coaching staff – bench coach Tim Bogar, hitting coach Dave Magadan and bullpen coach Gary Tuck. In a radio interview before Wednesday’s season finale against the Yankees – a game Boston lost, 14-2 – Valentine said that he felt some members of the coaching staff tried to undermine him and that he did not feel full loyalty from all of the coaches.
Starting in spring training, Valentine drew the ire of certain players. Reportedly, some players were upset that Valentine berated a teammate during February drills. It has not been confirmed which player Valentine directed his anger, but speculation is that it was Mike Aviles.
On April 15, Valentine publicly questioned whether Kevin Youkilis still had the same passion for the game that heonce exhibited. Pedroia defended Youkilis in statements to the media, questioning Valentine’s intentions. Valentine apologized, but he encountered issues with players, coaches and media members all season. Youkilis was afflicted with injuries and ineffectiveness, and was later traded to the Chicago White Sox.
In August, media reports surfaced that there was a players meeting with ownership about Valentine in June. According to those reports, a group of players requested Valentine’s ouster. Players were displeased that the manager kept starting pitcher Jon Lester in a July 22 game that saw him surrender 11 runs. Multiple sources acknowledged that the meetings occurred, but it was never confirmed that players asked for Valentine to be fired.
Also in August, the Red Sox roster was further depleted when the team traded Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers for James Loney, Ivan De Jesus, top pitching prospect Allen Webster and two players to be named later (infielder/outfielder Jerry Sands and high-ceiling pitcher Rubby De La Rosa).
“This year’s won-loss record reflects a season of agony,” said Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino. “It begs for changes, some of which have already transpired. More will come. We are determined to fix that which is broken and return the Red Sox to the level of success we have experienced over the past decade.
“Difficult as it is to judge a manager amid a season that had an epidemic of injuries, we feel we need to make changes. Bobby leaves the Red Sox’ manager’s office with our respect, gratitude, and affection. I have no doubt that he will continue to contribute to the game he loves so much and knows so well.”
The Red Sox are expected to pursue Toronto manager John Farrell, who formerly served as Boston’s pitching coach and has one year remaining on his contract with the Blue Jays. Last season, the Red Sox approached Toronto, which reportedly asked for starting pitcher Clay Buchholz as compensation. This off-season, the Blue Jays could get a reliever like Daniel Bard in exchange for Farrell if they opt to let their manager talk to Boston.
It is expected to be a busy off-season for the Red Sox as they are tasked with hiring a new manager, attempting to retain David Ortiz and Cody Ross, upgrading the starting rotation and filling holes at first base and a corner outfield spot.
“Ultimately, we as owners are responsible for arming our organization with the resources—intellectual, physical, and financial—to return to the levels of competitiveness to which we aspire and to which our fans are accustomed,” Red Sox Principal Owner John Henry said. “Our commitment to winning is unwavering. It is a commitment to this team, to this city, and to these fans who have supported us through thick and thin.
“We have confidence in Ben Cherington and the kind of baseball organization he is determined to build.”
Several baseball writers have predicted that Valentine will be vocal about his Red Sox tenure after his firing, but the former Major League player and longtime manager in the majors and Japan was diplomatic with his initial comments.
“I understand this decision,” Valentine said. “This year in Boston has been an incredible experience for me, but I am as disappointed in the results as are ownership and the great fans of Red Sox Nation.
“It was a privilege to be part of the 100 year anniversary of Fenway Park and an honor to be in uniform with such great players and coaches, ” he added. “My best to the organization. I’m sure next year will be a turnaround year.”