In the video above and the Q&A below, Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino and general manager Ben Cherington talk to ESPNBoston.com about the firing of manager Bobby Valentine.
On management's meeting with Valentine on Thursday: “It was as professional as it could have possibly been,” Lucchino said. “He was polite, constructive, mature and yet there was still a frank exchange of views as well. We were really pleased with the two-hour session we had with him.”
Cherington on his being in position to fire people: “I’ve been in different positions of having to let people know that they were let go, but certainly not at this level. It was difficult for all of us,” Cherington said. “Any of us who are involved in these things, it’s not what you want to be doing because it’s a reflection that something’s gone wrong, and what’s gone wrong is on all of us. He handled it well and with a lot of maturity. We had a good candid conversation and hopefully we took something out of it.”
On the future of the rest of the coaching staff: “Haven’t had a chance to talk to the coaches,” Cherington said. “I’ll do that soon. We would expect the manager to have a strong voice in filling out the staff.”
On the extent to which Valentine's firing represents a mistake on management’s part: “Just because it didn’t work out this year, given the way circumstances played out and adverse things occurred, it does not mean there was a flaw in the selection process necessarily,” Lucchino said. “I do think we would have been feeling more pleased if we selected a manager who would be here for years to come, but we made this choice in good faith and Bobby worked very hard this year under adverse circumstances. It’s unfortunate that he will not be here in future years, but he leaves with our respect and admiration and our gratitude.”
On why this season was such a failure: “I think we failed,” Cherington said. “Our record at the end of the season was what it was and it’s on all of us. We’re all collectively responsible and I’m right in the middle of that. It’s certainly not fair to put the lion’s share of responsibility on Bobby. He was dealt with a lot of difficult issues and things happened outside of his control. But we are where we are and the results weren’t good and we are looking to move forward. As we look forward to building the next team, we felt like to truly have a fresh start and provide some momentum moving forward, and a jolt to our offseason and next year, we needed to make a change in the manager’s office and start anew there.”
On the attributes they are looking for in the next manager: “I’m not comfortable addressing that because it sounds too much like an analysis on Bobby Valentine’s shortcomings and we’re not going to get into that,” Lucchino said. “We need to press a reset button because of the dismal performance of the club and we all share the responsibility for that. By answering that question we end up criticizing someone who we do not intend to criticize. We don’t think it’s fair or proper to do so on television or publicly or in any form for that matter.”
“It’s a year later than it was last year and it’s doubly important to find someone that we can get behind and who can build some stability, create some stability in that office,” Cherington said. “We don’t want to be going through these changes this often and it’s important to this franchise and to all of us to find the right person to be a part of restoring the Red Sox to where we should be.”
On whether having prior big-league managing experience matters: “We haven’t discussed this with each other, but I’ve been asked that question and I’ve said that it opens my eyes to see new data coming out of Chicago and St. Louis and so we would be foolish to disregard it. Whether it will guide us, I'll just say it’s another data point,” Lucchino said.
“Where we are in the importance of finding the right person moving forward, we should not restrict ourselves in any way in our search,” Cherington said. “The canvas should be open. There’s no particular type that we’re looking for. It’s just the right person, and the right person for us in 2013 may not be the right person for someone else or may not have been the right person for us two years ago. We need to find the right person for us moving forward.”
On potential candidate John Farrell: “We’re not prepared to talk about any candidates,” Cherington said.
On the timetable for making a hire: “We want to find the right person first. We’d like it to take less time than we took last year. We’ve got to find the right person first,” Cherington said. “We’ll dive into it and we have a little bit of a head start at least because last year I wasn’t named GM until late October, so we’ll get going and focusing on getting the right person.”