I have to admit, when the Red Sox first signed Bobby V, I was incredibly jealous. All us die-hard Mets fans have a very special, soft spot in our hearts for Valentine. He was the man that lead the Mets to consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in franchise history (the only time in franchise history…you know, now I’m just making myself sad). He took an underdog squad to two straight NLCS appearances and the only World Series appearance of my lifetime. The man can’t do wrong in my eyes, plain and simple.
With that said, it was pretty clear that from the start, Bobby V wasn’t going to be an ideal fit for Boston. For starters, historically speaking outspoken managers for any of the pro sports teams in Boston have never had any success and rarely find favor with the media. To my knowledge, I can’t think of a one that has found comfort there. Terry Francona was clearly a player’s manager, same goes for Doc Rivers.
Valentine picked fights with players in the locker room that weren’t used to their managers challenging them in that way. It clearly didn’t work with Kevin Youkilis, who was traded to the Chicago White Sox because of the chaos being created by the story. Dustin Pedroia, the undisputed leader in the clubhouse, had no problem going public with his despise of Valentine throughout the season.
However, putting all the blame on Valentine’s shoulders, though clearly a typical Boston move (that’s right, I said it!), is both unfair and incorrect.
For starters, there wasn’t one player of note that exceeded preseason expectations, or even lived up to their expectations. The team was decimated by injuries throughout the entire season. The pitching staff was, well, terrible. Everybody seemed to play the course of the year with a chicken wing and beer-mixed hangover. And, of course, there was the blockbuster trade that sent half the roster’s payroll and talented players to Los Angeles that pretty much put a bow on a hellish season.
If Red Sox fans think giving Bobby V the boot is going to be a quick fix and everything is going to be OK now, think again. This roster needs a complete makeover. Outside of Pedroia, there isn’t anything for certain at any position in the organization.
For one, the starting rotation is a mess. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz had very poor seasons. Poor enough that I think Red Sox fans aren’t unhappy about the inevitable return of John Lackey (yikes). Will Middlebrooks looked very strong in his debut to the Majors, but there are few scouts that think he’ll transform into an All-Star caliber option at third. Jacoby Ellsbury had another injury-plagued season, and is one year away from free agency. Or, as he likes to call it, freedom. In fact, outside of Pedroia and David Ortiz, there is nobody in the line-up that anyone would even consider league average heading into 2013.
Red Sox fans will feel better today and tomorrow knowing that Bobby Valentine is no longer the manager. But the suffering is just beginning. The team’s a mess, and no manager is going to fix it overnight.
As for us Mets fans…hey, Sandy Alderson. Want to distract us from another disappointing season?
You know what to do…