Will Bobby V last the season?
Boston and Texas square off on Wednesday in the midst of Red Sox turmoil
Things went from bad to worse for the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday. The club was trying to deal with the mess created by manager Bobby Valentine when he questioned Kevin Youkilis' intensity over the weekend, and then the Sox went out and lost 18-3 to the Texas Rangers. We're only a couple of weeks into the season but it's time to wonder: Will Bobby V make it through the season? That, plus talk of Josh Hamilton's future in Texas and a second base debate, as we look ahead to the Red Sox-Rangers tilt on ESPN's Wednesday Night Baseball, a game that can be seen on ESPN2 and on WatchESPN.
1. True or false: Bobby Valentine will make it through the season as Red Sox manager.
Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick), ESPN.com
True. It's never easy transitioning from one managerial style to another -- especially in a market as highly scrutinized as Boston. The Red Sox are still dealing with a beer and fried chicken hangover. But I don't see Valentine quitting, and ownership isn't going to invite chaos by pulling the plug in-season. The Sox will play better once the schedule eases. Bobby V will last the year, at which point everyone will take a deep breath and reassess.
Jason Wojciechowski (@jlwoj), Beaneball
True. Rabid though the New England media and fans may be at times, the Red Sox do not appear to be an organization that operates in response to external sturm und drang. Bobby Valentine is the same man he was in late November when he was hired, and I think general manager Ben Cherington knows that.
2. True or false: This is Josh Hamilton's last season with the Rangers.
Crasnick: False. Sure, Hamilton's injury history and off-field issues will give the Rangers some pause about a long-term deal. But those concerns are going to hinder his market value even more elsewhere. Hamilton needs a strong support system, and he has that in Arlington. The Rangers have a Texas-sized pot of money at their disposal, and he's still their best player. In the end, I think Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan find a way to get it done.
Durrett: 50-50. It's a coin flip to me. I would have said "true" when the season started, but the sides are talking and Hamilton is comfortable in Texas. The question is if there's a deal out there both sides can live with after 2012.
Wojciechowski: True. The temptation to keep the core of a great team together will be strong, but if there's a team that can see past the hype to recognize that Ian Kinsler is the team's best player, not Hamilton, it's the Rangers. There's a reason the team locked up the second baseman last week.
3. Who would you rather have: Dustin Pedroia or Ian Kinsler?
Crasnick: Pedroia. It's hard to go wrong when there are two right answers. Kinsler has more home run pop, an 85 percent stolen base success rate and those cool high socks. Pedroia is better defensively and has that .373 career OBP. They're the Joe Gordon and Bobby Doerr of their generation. But Boston's guy gets the nod here by a few scruffy hairs on his chin.
Durrett: That's tough. I'll take Kinsler. He's got so much versatility at the plate and can move from second to another position later in his career. He's a spark plug for the Rangers' offense.
Wojciechowski: Pedroia is 13 months younger than Kinsler and has played 154-plus games in three of the last four seasons. Kinsler, by contrast, just played the first full season of his career in 2011. I can't pick between the two on performance, so I'll take Pedroia's slightly greater probability of surviving the next five years.