Boston Red Sox: Bobby Valentine

Notes: Magic number 4 to beat Bobby V

September, 18, 2014
PITTSBURGH -- Quick hits from PNC Park, where the Red Sox will attempt to avoid being swept in a series for the 11th time this season.

• Last season, the Sox were swept just once, a three-game set in Texas Oct. 3-5. That was their fewest multi-game sweeps in a season since 1955, and it was the first time the Sox had played an entire season at home without being swept.

The Sox have been swept at home eight times this season; they have been swept twice on the road: the Rays took three straight in the Trop May 23-25, and the Indians took three straight June 2-4 in Cleveland.

• The Sox are 9-10 in interleague play. A loss Thursday, and the Sox will finish with a losing record against National League teams for the first time since they went 5-13 in 2002. Since then, they have led the majors in interleague winning percentage (139-80, .635).

• The “magic number” remains four: The Sox must win four of their remaining 10 games to finish ahead of the Bobby Sox of 2012, who went 69-93.

Brock Holt, who was examined by concussion specialist Dr. Micky Collins on Thursday, showed improvement, but it’s still uncertain whether he will return to the Sox lineup before the end of the season, manager John Farrell said. If he is unable to do so, Farrell said, the Sox may ask him to play in a couple of games in the Florida Instructional League just to satisfy any lingering concerns that he is fully recovered.

Holt has not played since Sept. 5.

• Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, who went 1-for-4 in his major league debut Wednesday, was not in the lineup Thursday, Castillo giving way to Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field. Bradley is 1-for-23 since his recall from Pawtucket 13 days ago. Farrell said the club will spread out Castillo’s days of rest over the last 10 games; he will continue to play after the season is over, with the Arizona Fall League appearing to be the most likely destination.

Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, who was in town for pregame ceremonies in which his brother Frank, a Pittsburgh judge threw the ceremonial first pitch with LL catching, was among the first to greet Castillo upon his arrival in the team’s hotel Wednesday.

• Farrell said Steven Wright’s knockabout inning in relief Wednesday will have no effect on whether the club finds a way to give him a start before the end of the season. Farrell said Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz will each get two more starts, and will fill in around them.

David Ortiz was back in the starting lineup Thursday after sitting out the first two games of the series. Ortiz needs one RBI for his eighth 30-HR, 100-RBI season, the most in club history, one more than Ted Williams.

Another parting shot from Bobby V

February, 27, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Even in absentia, Bobby Valentine remains the gift that keeps on giving.

Tuesday, Valentine was named the new athletic director at Sacred Heart University, where school president John Petillo acknowledged that the former Red Sox manager was an “out of the box” selection, since he had no prior experience running a college athletics administration.

Bobby V, meanwhile, made no apologies for his part in the Sox finishing in last place for only the second time since 1932.

“I thought I did a hell of a job in Boston,” Valentine was quoted as saying at his press conference. “I thought what had to be done there was done except for winning a pennant. But Connie Mack wasn’t going to win with that team.”

I tweeted out the Connie Mack comment, and asked for reaction. You didn’t disappoint. Here is a Top 10 list of responses received so far:

No. 10: Frank (@jrislate) -- He’s right, but Mack wouldn't have let it become a circus.

No. 9: Jeremy Kullman (@jeremykullman) -- Does inventing the wrap sandwich qualify you to be an Athletic Director these days?!?!

No. 8: A Leslie Livingstone (@leslivingstone) -- I agree with Valentine. The inmates were allowed to run the asylum. That doesn't work.

No. 7: Sean O'Donnell (@seanotax) -- I can see he is truly a leader of men. Best of luck to all the Sacred Heart athletes. I am sure Bobby V has their backs.

No. 6: Life After Bobby (@LifeAfterBob) -- Makes Butch Hobson look like Mack

No. 5: Tom Brodeur (@Tom_Brodeur) -- Typical Bobby V, nothing is his fault. He was a self-centered manager, and his guys knew it... Tito had many more challenges.

No. 4: Albie Jarvis (@RedSoxPost) -- Bobby V spot-on as usual; what's Mack won lately?

No. 3: Adam Tallman (@Atall33) -- Maybe Bobby V should have dressed up like Connie Mack

No. 2: Blair Landry (@orionisready) -- What's the diff between C Mack and Bobby V? One was born during a Civil War, the other started one.

No. 1: CRL (@Lindowitz) -- “I knew Connie Mack. Connie Mack was a good friend of mine. You, sir, are no Connie Mack."

Olney: Life after Bobby V

January, 29, 2013
Buster Olney writes in his blog about the much-needed culture change at Fenway Park this season. He rehashes some of those Bobby Valentine moments of 2012 that Red Sox fans are trying to forget, and looks ahead at what might happen with this restructured team under new manager John Farrell. Here's an excerpt from his piece:

Valentine is gone, and John Farrell has replaced him. This era is dominated by statistical examinations and projections, and you can try to attach numbers to the Boston additions of Shane Victorino, Ryan Dempster, Mike Napoli and Joel Hanrahan. You can attempt to quantify what it would mean to the Red Sox if Daniel Bard bounced back to pitch the way he did in 2011 and the ramifications of a full season of Will Middlebrooks.

But there's probably no way to fully measure what the change in culture will mean. It will count for something that the players will be excited to go to work again and be invested in the direction their manager is taking them. It will count for something that the staff will be working closely together and that the factions and divisions will be diminished.

Will this translate into one more victory? Two? Five?

To read Olney's full blog post, which also weighs in on the newest Alex Rodriguez PED story, CLICK HERE.

Top 5 Red Sox storylines of 2012

December, 27, 2012
BOSTON -- As far as the Boston Red Sox are concerned, 2012 came to an end back in August when it became clear that the club would miss the postseason for the third consecutive year.

With the relationship between then-manager Bobby Valentine and players continuing to deteriorate, Boston found itself in the basement of the AL East, so GM Ben Cherington quickly started to prepare for 2013.

Even now, as Cherington continues to shape the roster for the 2013 season, many Red Sox staffers have said there’s no need to talk about the disappointing 2012 campaign -- one of the worst in franchise history.

Looking back on last season and coming up with some highlights is nearly impossible because there were too many negatives. Here are our top five Red Sox storylines of 2012:

1. The Valentine hiring: Even though Valentine was officially introduced as the 45th manager in Red Sox history on Dec. 1, 2011, his hiring was a major issue for the entire 2012 season. From the start of spring training, there were issues between the manager and the players, and the manager and his coaching staff. The lack of communication and cohesiveness resulted in the club finishing in last place in the AL East with a disappointing 69-93 record.

2. The Youkilis saga: Even though many players had their own issues with Valentine, the tension between him and Kevin Youkilis was front and center. In April, Bobby V was asked about Youkilis and told the media: "I don’t think he’s as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason.” Those comments infuriated Youkilis and his teammates. Then, when Youkilis strained his back early in the season, the team promoted third base prospect Will Middlebrooks from Triple-A Pawtucket to Boston. Middlebrooks took advantage of the situation and played well. When Youkilis was healthy, his playing time was inconsistent and the rift between him and Valentine grew wider. On June 25, Youkilis was traded to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for outfielder Brent Lillibridge and pitcher Zach Stewart. This offseason, Youkilis signed with the New York Yankees. If Valentine was still managing in Boston, Youk’s OPS against Boston would probably be astronomical.

3. Blockbuster: Speaking of trades, Cherington pulled off one of the biggest in club history when he dealt outfielder Carl Crawford, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, pitcher Josh Beckett and infielder Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 25. It turned out to be a major salary dump for the Red Sox. Crawford never played up to expectations and was often injured during his season and a half in Boston; Beckett was miserable and his pitching performances were sub-par; Gonzalez put up solid numbers but was never the complete player the Sox expected; and Punto gave the Dodgers a solid veteran utility guy. The biggest chip Boston received in the transaction was pitching prospect Rubby De La Rosa.

4. Bye Bye, Bobby: There was much joy in Boston when the Red Sox fired Valentine on Oct. 4 after only one tumultuous season. He quietly rode off on his bike and Red Sox ownership said that Valentine was professional about the situation. Well, that didn’t last long. On the same day the Red Sox named John Farrell as new manager, Valentine told Bob Costas in a televised interview that veteran DH David Ortiz shut it down for the season after the club made that historic nine-player trade with the Dodgers. Valentine also took a shot at his coaching staff. Both comments did not go over well. Valentine’s bench coach Tim Bogar fired back in an interview with the next day, and Ortiz waited until he had signed a two-year extension with the Red Sox before voicing his displeasure with Valentine.

5. Sox get their man: Cherington gave new hope to Red Sox Nation when the club announced they had acquired John Farrell via trade with the Toronto Blue Jays and named him manager on Oct. 23. Almost immediately, Red Sox players spoke out about the instant credibility Farrell brings both on and off the field in Boston. He served as pitching coach for the Red Sox under Terry Francona and Farrell returns to Boston after two seasons as manager of the Blue Jays.

Things can only get better for the Red Sox in 2013. With Farrell back in the mix, a revised lineup and rebuilt clubhouse, the Red Sox are hoping to return to the postseason for the first time since 2009.

So far, those new additions include outfielders Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes, shortstop Stephen Drew, pitchers Joel Hanrahan, Ryan Dempster and Koji Uehara, catcher David Ross and possibly first baseman/catcher Mike Napoli.

The Red Sox also extended David Ortiz’s contract and gave the veteran slugger a two-year deal. Cherington is also looking to extend the current contract of veteran second baseman Dustin Pedroia at some point this offseason.

What are your five most memorable Red Sox moments of 2012 -- good or bad? Feel free to share them on the comments page.

Pedroia on Bobby V: 'We talked well'

November, 6, 2012
As the Red Sox move on from the failed Bobby Valentine experiment, Dustin Pedroia is taking the high road.

In an interview Tuesday afternoon on WEEI, there was no Bobby bashing from Pedroia. In fact, he seemed to take a philosophical view of Boston's disastrous season, and admitted that he’s grateful for some season-ending words of wisdom that Bobby offered the All-Star second-baseman.

“Looking back, I learned a ton from it,” Pedroia said of the team’s challenging season. “I mean, it’s awful that we played so bad, but it’s going to better me as a player going forward and it’s going to better our organization going forward. ... It was awful going through, but, um, I think in the end we’re going to turn everything around and make sure that the fans are proud of our team and ... we’re going to go out there and win a lot of ball games and do it the right way.”

Pedroia acknowledged that he faced some unusually tough times this season, and expressed regret in how he handled a media interview in April involving Valentine’s comments about teammate Kevin Youkilis. His remarks -- "I really don't know what Bobby is trying to do. That's not the way we go about our stuff around here. He'll figure that out.” – came out wrong, he said.

“I regret I said that in that way,” he said Tuesday. “But I’m proud to a point where, you know, to be a team leader you need to have your teammates’ backs under any circumstances.

“I’m a firm believer, man, when a guy’s having a tough time, and everyone has them ... those are the times when you need your teammates, you need everybody in the front office, you need the fans. We need you to stick by us. And I felt like Youkilis was kind of thrown in a corner by himself. When the top dog comes down on you that hard, you know, I felt like Youk needed someone to be there for him to have his back.”

He added, “Without question it came out wrong.”

Pedroia also talked about his relationship with Valentine and shot down any assumptions that they didn’t get along.

“To be honest with you, me and Bobby, we talked well,” Pedroia said, adding that they cleared the air quickly after the Youkilis incident.

“We were great, man. I said that throughout the year,” he added. “But in New York, the last weekend of the year, I had broken one of my fingers and it was a day that I didn’t play, and he kind of sat me down and he said, you know, he told me some great things, and I really, really appreciate it. How to get better, and how to be a better leader, and I really appreciate it.”

Edes: Bogar likely 'held his fire' on Bobby

October, 25, 2012
ESPN Boston's Red Sox writer Gordon Edes appeared on WEEI’s “Dennis & Callahan” on Thursday morning to discuss the Bobby Valentine fiasco, the new positive vibe on Yawkey Way after John Farrell’s hiring, the David Ortiz contract situation and more.

Talking about Valentine’s televised interview with Bob Costas, which aired the same day the Red Sox introduced Farrell as their new manager, Edes said, “It’s incredible to me that Bobby Valentine was able to upstage John Farrell’s day, but maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised.”

Edes discussed his colleague Joe McDonald’s article on bench coach Tim Bogar, and Bogar’s rebuttal to Valentine’s harsh criticism of his coaching staff.

“I suspect that Bogar, being the kind of guy he is, held his fire on a lot of this. That he could have gone into chapter and verse and made this a much more damning accusation, but he didn’t want to play that game,” said Edes.

Edes warned that the Costas interview is probably not the last we’ve heard from Valentine.

“You know, the tales from the crypt aren’t going to end from Bobby. I suspect that he probably has more targets in mind that he’d like to take down,” said Edes.

Edes went on to talk about prospects for next year’s coaching staff and roster, and shared what he knows about David Ortiz’s future in Boston.

“I was told that the two years have been agreed upon already,” Edes said of Ortiz’s contract talks.

“Ortiz would like in the neighborhood of two years, $25 million,” Edes said. “I think in the end the deal will be less than that because while David will benefit from the security of having a second year, he also has to be realistic that he wouldn’t get those kinds of dollars on the open market.”

Edes noted that he expects that once Ortiz gets his contract finalized, “he’ll have a few things to say” in response to Valentine’s implication during the Costas interview that Ortiz quit on the team.

“The bizarre part of that was that Ortiz, at least publicly, was one of Bobby’s strongest supporters this year,” said Edes.

To listen to the full interview, click HERE.

Bobby: Middlebrooks crack didn't happen

October, 24, 2012
Bobby Valentine, in his first in-depth interview since being fired as Red Sox manager, took aim at a few other targets beyond his hotly disputed allegation that David Ortiz shut down for the last six weeks of the season because of the team’s mega-trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Appearing Tuesday night on the “Costas Tonight” program on NBC Sports Network, Valentine again singled out his coaches for causing some of the problems he encountered last season.

After Costas stated that Valentine did not select his coaches -- Valentine has acknowledged he did indeed have input in their hiring -- Valentine related a story in which Tom Landry, the former Dallas Cowboys coach, had advised him years ago to make sure his coaches “speak your language.’’

“I should have heeded that advice,’’ Valentine said. “I should have made sure the coaches were my guys.’’

Valentine had said in a radio interview on the last day of the regular season that he had felt that some of his coaches undermined him. Asked by Costas, Valentine said “snags” had developed that caused communication “not [to be] flowing the way it should.’’

[+] EnlargeBobby Valentine
Anthony Gruppuso/US PresswireBobby Valentine said he found teammates' reaction to his yelling at Mike Aviles during spring training "mind-boggling."
A sympathetic Costas dismissed Valentine’s early-April comment about Kevin Youkilis as “benign,” even though it led the Red Sox veteran to demand a trade (and his subsequent departure), then related the tempest caused by his “Nice inning, kid,’’ comment to rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks after he’d misplayed two balls.

“Just because this is the fact-checking era,’’ Valentine said, “I don’t think it ever happened.’’

After the interview aired, Middlebrooks sent out a tweet in which he concurred.

“He's right,’’ Middlebrooks wrote as @middlebrooks on the social-media site. “Never happened. Just to set things straight.’’

Left unsaid was that the story probably would have never come to light except Valentine related it for the first time on his weekly appearance on WEEI, then elaborated on it the next day in his daily media session.

"[Middlebrooks] came into the dugout, he made a couple of errors, and I said, ‘Nice inning, kid,’’’ Valentine said. “I had thought I had established a relationship with him where I could say something like that to him, kind of smile, relax him a little. Maybe he grimaced, I don’t know.

"Somebody overheard it and decided that it was a very dreadful thing for a manager to ever say to a young player and decided to repeat it a few times that it was a dreadful thing.’’

Valentine then related a story of how as a young player he had made three errors in a game on Seat Cushion Night at Dodger Stadium, and that fans threw seat cushions at him. A newspaper account in the Los Angeles Times of the game in question made no mention of Seat Cushion Night or anything being thrown at Valentine.

In sarcastic tones, Valentine described to Costas the incident in spring training in which he took shortstop Mike Aviles to task during a popup drill, and how some of Aviles’s teammates afterward met with the manager in his office.

“The thing with Aviles, it was absolutely mind-boggling,’’ he said. “Guys came into my office and said, ‘Please, don’t yell at Mike like that.’… I’m still incredulous.’’

Later in the interview, he again referred to that incident.

“Was I surprised that guys came in in that situation?” he said. “Yeah. I think that’s unique to that group of guys. I don’t think it’s indigenous to all of baseball. I pray it’s not because it’s not functional. The tail is wagging the dog, and taking a vote every time you have to decide how to do things.

“A leader needs to lead. He leads by forming the path, padding down the path and other people following him. You can’t have the guy at the back of the line coming up and deciding which direction you’re going to go in.”

(Read full post)

Bobby V: Ortiz 'decided not to play'

October, 23, 2012
Former Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine on Tuesday said slugger David Ortiz sidelined himself after a brief return from an Achilles injury -- not because of soreness but because the team made a blockbuster deal that sealed their playoff fate.


Do you believe Bobby Valentine when he says that David Ortiz ''decided not to play anymore'' this season?


Discuss (Total votes: 63,004)

Ortiz was on the disabled list from July 18 to late August with a strained right Achilles. He went 2 for 4 with two RBIs in a one-game return Aug. 24. The next day, the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers was made official.

The Red Sox were 60-66 on Aug. 24, 13 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the AL East and 8 1/2 games out of a wild-card spot.

"He realized that this trade meant that we're not going to run this race and we're not even going to finish the race properly and he decided not to play anymore," Valentine said in an interview airing Tuesday night on "Costas Tonight" on NBC Sports Network. "I think at that time it was all downhill from there."

Ortiz returned to the disabled list on Aug. 27 and never came off it.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington vehemently denied the former manager's accusation when reached by for comment Tuesday night.

"I wouldn't be trying to re-sign him if I had any concern about David's commitment to baseball or to the Red Sox," Cherington said. "During a trying year, David was a leader for us on and off the field. Unfortunately, an Achilles injury cut his season short. It was a tough break in a season full of tough breaks for us."

The Red Sox and Ortiz are closing in on a two-year contract extension that could be finalized in the next week, according to a baseball source.

Updated: Red Sox managerial candidates

October, 16, 2012
The Red Sox have begun their search for a new manager, having already interviewed two candidates: Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach and Yankees bench coach Tony Pena. Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus is up next to interview Wednesday, followed by Orioles third base coach DeMarlo Hale on Thursday. Below are profiles of those candidates, plus others the Sox should consider. Blue Jays manager John Farrell is still the favorite, but it's still unclear whether the Jays will let him go.

Who's your favorite? Share your thoughts by ranking these candidates with our Rank 'Em feature.

Podcast: Gordon Edes on Mike and Mike

October, 5, 2012
ESPN Radio kicked off its first day in the Boston market (850 AM) with Mike and Mike broadcasting live from Gillette Stadium. One of their first guests was's Gordon Edes, who discussed the firing of Bobby Valentine, exactly where things went wrong for Bobby, and most importantly what's next for the Red Sox. Listen to the podcast HERE.

Schilling: Valentine 'set up to fail'

October, 4, 2012

Appearing on "SportsCenter" Thursday night, Curt Schilling said that Bobby Valentine was set up to fail and never had a chance to succeed as Red Sox manager.

Schilling said the hire was blundered from the outset. "The players didn't want him there, the GM had other ideas, and this was put on the GM by ownership," he said.

Schilling said ultimately culpability for the poor season falls on the players, but added that Valentine "made it harder on himself and his players" at every turn.

Schilling also mentioned DeMarlo Hale and John Farrell as possible hires who would command the respect of the players, but said the Red Sox have a lot of holes to fill and are far away from contending in the AL East.

Stats & Info: Bobby V by the numbers

October, 4, 2012
Here are a few nuggets to digest while we transition to the post-Bobby V era:

1. Bobby Valentine finishes with the worst career record for a Red Sox manager since Billy Herman, who went 128-182 from 1964-1966 (min. 130 games). It is also the worst record for a Red Sox manager in his first season since Shano Collins in 1931 (min. 130 decisions).

2. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Valentine is the fifth different manager in the expansion era to last one season or less in a managerial job, after managing 2,000 games prior to taking the job (Billy Martin did so twice).

3. Valentine’s teams have made only 2 playoff appearances in his 16 seasons. His 2,351 games managed are the 13th-most all-time by any manager that made 2 or fewer playoff appearances. But only one of the 12 managers ahead of him managed in the wild card era (Tom Kelly).

4. He has also led his teams to only one pennant. His 2,351 games managed are the 10th-most all-time by any manager that has won one or fewer pennants.

5. The Red Sox were Valentine’s third major league team. This season played out a lot like his first season in his previous two stops (Mets and Rangers). He turned those teams around quickly and then had sustained success with them.

6. One blemish on his record is that in 16 seasons, he has never led his team to a division title. Among the 48 managers that have managed at least 16 seasons, the only others to never finish first were Frank Robinson, Jack McKeon, Bob Ferguson and Jimmy Dykes.

7. The Red Sox have had a franchise-record 56 players appear in a game this year (previously 55 in 1996). There were 27 different players on the disabled list and the 34 DL stints were the most for any team since at least 1987.

8. Red Sox entered 2012 having endured arguably the worst September collapse in history last year. Things have not been any better this season, and their record since last September 1 is better than only one team in the AL.

Francona's advice for Sox going forward

October, 4, 2012

Shortly after Bobby Valentine was fired by the Red Sox on Thursday, former manager Terry Francona, now an ESPN analyst, was on SportsCenter to share his thoughts on Bobby V’s short time in Boston and what the club should look for in its next skipper.

Specifically, Francona named four men he thinks the Sox should consider. Not coincidentally, all four were on his staff during his managerial tenure in Boston.

“I’ll give you four names,” Francona said (video above). “If this was my decision, this would be the direction I would want to go: John Farrell is a name that is already being thrown around. Now, he’s the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, so there are some issues there. (Orioles third base coach) DeMarlo Hale, well respected. (Former Astros manager) Brad Mills, well respected again. (Red Sox bench coach) Tim Bogar.

“All guys that have been working there in the past through the good times. They would immediately have the players’ respect -- and I am talking about (Dustin) Pedroia, (Clay) Buchholz, (Jon) Lester, (Will) Middlebrooks -- moving forward.”

Francona also offered advice for the next Sox skipper, some guidance that Valentine perhaps should have heeded during his season in Boston.

“You can’t be prepared for it. It’s 24 hours a day, every day of the week,” Francona said. “The biggest thing is you don’t need to go looking for news because it will find you. You have to recognize it is a little different animal and you have to try to create an atmosphere where the players can just play and not worry about the things on the periphery.”

He added:

“Regardless of what’s going on on the periphery, they have to go play. But in my opinion you try to make it as easy as possible for them to just do that. Put them in a situation where they can succeed, and then if they’re good enough they’ll be OK.”

Francona thinks Valentine’s inability to keep things in house made his job more difficult.

“The one thing that bothered me a little bit was that everything seemed to play out in public,” Francona said. “Again, there’s a lot of stuff that happens in the clubhouse during the year, and that’s not the worst thing. But you find a way to fight through (the issues) and make it better. And when you do it publicly it’s harder to do and that seemed to happen quite frequently.”

Francona added he was disappointed to hear Valentine say he felt undermined by some of his coaches during a radio interview on Wednesday.

“Those are some coaches with some pretty high integrity,” Francona said. “Different strokes for different folks. If I had a problem with a coach I would go tell him. I’m not sure I would choose to do it on the radio. But again, everybody’s personality is different.”

As for Valentine’s legacy, Francona thinks that could still depend on whether Valentine goes down swinging or fades into the sunset.

“I don’t know, and part of that will depend on how he decides to go out,” Francona said. “There’s going to be the postmortems. And I know all about that, that’s not fun in Boston. They always want to know the reasons and if they don’t know they’ll make some up. We’ll see what happens. ... From what I know, he hasn’t been real shy. So, this will be interesting.”

Finally, Francona looked ahead to the 2013 Red Sox, saying he thought the team was in much better shape than it seems.

“The glass is way more than half full than probably the normal Red Sox fan feels today,” he said. “You start off right away with (Felix) Doubront, Lester, Buchholz, (John) Lackey -- I know they don’t want to hear that, Lackey is coming back after Tommy John (surgery). That’s four pitchers right now, that I’ll take my chances with them.

Andrew Bailey comes back healthy, Dustin Pedroia is a tremendous player. Will Middlebrooks is a star in the making. Jacoby Ellsbury a year ago was second in the MVP voting. So it’s not bare. Now, they have big decisions to make and they have some money to work with and they have to make good decisions, but the glass, in my opinion, should be half full.”

Olney: Bobby's tenure a complete disaster

October, 4, 2012

In the video above, ESPN's Buster Olney said Red Sox ownership really had no choice but to fire Bobby Valentine.

"I don't think you can understate what a complete disaster Bobby's tenure with the Red Sox was. ... It was a derailment right from the beginning in the relationship between Bobby and the players, and that's why the Red Sox had to get rid of him. I think if ownership had decided to keep Bobby, you would have had players in that organization basically say, 'If he's gonna stay, I want out.' That's how bad it was."

Olney said that the team's next manager is likely to be "welcomed with open arms."

"As one person said to me, it's a great opportunity for the Red Sox's next manager," he said.

Sources: Spring incident was a crossroad

October, 4, 2012

In a column posted this morning (Insider Insider), ESPN Baseball Insider Buster Olney relays a story from spring training that started the ball rolling in the wrong direction for Bobby Valentine and his relationship with Red Sox players:

According to sources within the organization, Valentine had asked for a change in the way that cutoff plays were run, and when he walked onto a field very early in spring training, what he saw almost immediately was that shortstop Mike Aviles was not where he wanted him to be. Valentine loudly and profanely questioned Aviles' aptitude, others in the organization say. What Valentine did not know at that moment was that the Red Sox players hadn't yet been instructed on where to go in the new cutoff alignment.

Aviles is highly respected, a grinder, and other players were bothered enough by the exchange that three leaders on the team -- Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez -- went to Valentine to express concern and provide context for Aviles' mistake. Gonzalez, sources say, asked Valentine that if he wanted to get on a player verbally, the first baseman would be OK with being a target, because he could take it.

It was a moment that others in the organization now look back on as a crossroad in Valentine's year as manager, because in that instant, Valentine could have gone one of two ways.

He could have listened to the players, embraced what they were saying, called a team meeting the next day and built on the incident. He could have apologized to Aviles and then told all of them, in so many words, Mike, you should know that these three guys over here -- Ortiz, Pedroia and Gonzalez -- have your back and are really good teammates, and that's a great thing. And I'm really feeling good about what we have in this room.

"But it didn't go that way," said a member of the organization.