Is Valentine the right guy for Boston?
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
At first glance Bobby Valentine becoming the new manager of the Boston Red Sox makes a ton of sense. He's a household name, he lives in Connecticut, has been an above-average manager in this game and absolutely has the ability to handle the media in a pressure cooker baseball town like Boston.
But then you begin think it over and start to pull the layers apart and you quickly come to the realization that this has bad idea written all over it.
Forget the baseball aspect of this for a second. Valentine clearly wasn't new general manager Ben Cherington's first choice. In fact he may have been his sixth and the way it is looking now, the move was made strictly at the behest of president and CEO Larry Lucchino.
Not exactly an ideal situation for an incoming GM when your first major move is taken out of your hands. Perhaps Lucchino had grown jealous of the attention Theo Epstein received and is dead set against having that happen again. Remember Lucchino is the one rumored to have leaked info to Dan Shaughnessy on Epstein and Terry Francona for a smear article back in 2005.
Either way not a banner start for the young Cherington, who has as good of a chance of offering up onfield baseball advice to Valentine as Wally the Green Monster does. Bobby V is in charge and he knows more than everyone. In some cases he is right, but it's often that attitude that eventually drives people nuts.
Bobby Valentine is in charge and he knows more than everyone.
Even if you get past that, though, you take a look at that clubhouse. For the most part it is a highly-paid veteran group that has won. Valentine is a rah-rah guy with a big personality and an attitude of my way or the highway.
You think Dustin Pedroia or Kevin Youkilis need that kind of stuff? Maybe Carl Crawford or Adrian Gonzalez do, but how will they be able to handle a Valentine critique through the press?
Gonzalez didn't exactly win any points in the makeup department with his excuse seminar following this year's collapse and Crawford was less than thrilled at a Valentine complaint while serving as an ESPN analyst.
Believe me there was a reason Francona looked as if the weight of the world had just been lifted from his shoulders at his exit press conference. This was not a fun team to be around at the end.
Now perhaps Valentine is just the right guy for this job. Maybe it would have been too much to ask of a first time manager or an older retread like Gene Lamont to handle. That can certainly be the case too, because like I said there is no question as to who is in charge. This is Valentine's team.
Someone said to me this morning that the beer and chicken stuff wouldn't fly with Valentine there.
This is the same guy who sat in a dugout with a fake moustache after being ejected and had members of his team playing cards in the locker room during a playoff game. Valentine may not be as easy going and player friendly as Francona was, but he's not exactly Bill Parcells either.
Francona stood behind all his players right or wrong. Valentine has no problems throwing people under the bus.
Valentine's smug attitude rubs a lot of people the wrong way. I'm sure this move isn't sitting well with a few Boston players. But then again, maybe that's not such a bad thing either.
I know one player who will welcome it with open arms and that is right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka. Valentine often spoke of how the Red Sox mishandled Dice-K, a pitcher he is quite familiar with dating back to his days in Japan managing the Chiba Lotte Marines.
Valentine is a great baseball mind. And if you don't believe me I'm sure he'll mention it a few hundreds times between his introductory press conference in Boston and the opening of spring training down in Fort Myers in March.
Let's not forget this is a guy who claims to have invented the wrap sandwich.
But as likely as he is to manage a winner, he's just as likely to turn the whole clubhouse against him.
Valentine is a great manager and can still be one. But not for this team. Not at this time.