I’m on the record saying the Red Sox hiring Bobby Valentine would be a one-season disaster. I thought the season would at least start before that became evident. It’s only March 24 there are already reports of a serious rift between Valentine and Red Sox GM Ben Cherington. Bobby V wants to nix the Daniel Bard to the rotation experiment and wants 22-year-old shortstop Jose Iglesias, who put up a .554 OPS in AAA last year to be in his starting lineup.
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.
So, why did Cherington want a manager who would, predictably, be hell bent to do what he wanted regardless of what the front office thought? Oh wait, he totally didn’t.
Don’t forget that Cherington didn’t choose Valentine. He was foisted upon him by Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino, the man who runs the Red Sox, after ownership was underwhelmed by Cherington’s choice of onetime Sox third base coach Dale Sveum. Ownership did to Sveum what he used to do to Sox base runners – sent him home without a chance.
But, but…ESPN told me Bobby Valentine was a changed man and everything was going to go swimmingly with the Red Sox, right?
He is a man of bold ideas and uncommon self-assuredness, so much so that he regards his own observations about the game and players as facts, not opinions. Lest you accuse him of being a bit too critical of his players this spring in games that amount to practice.
If Cherington is a disciple of Moneyball, Valentine’s baseball philosophy could be summed up as Bobby Knows Best.
[Photo via Presswire]
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