Red Sox fire Valentine after one season
The move ends a tumultuous tenure in Beantown for Valentine, who piloted the team to a 69-93 record and a last place finish in the American League East in his lone season at the helm, but isn’t one that Bobby V himself didn’t understand – or expect.
“I understand this decision. This year in Boston has been an incredible experience for me, but I am as disappointed in the results as are ownership and the great fans of Red Sox Nation,” Valentine said upon his dismissal. “It was a privilege to be part of the 100 year anniversary of Fenway Park and an honor to be in uniform with such great players and coaches. My best to the organization; I’m sure next year will be a turnaround year.”
While the removal of Valentine wasn’t unexpected, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington may have inadvertently spilled the beans on the finality of the move last week during an appearance on WEEI radio in Boston, saying that if a change was made, the team would “move quickly” with their search for a replacement.
This past Wednesday afternoon, prior to the Sox’ finale, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman confirmed that thought, quoting a source close to the Red Sox as saying that the team would relieve Valentine of his managerial duties as early as Thursday. A day later that became reality, and the GM himself said that despite making the most of it, being in a bad situation was part of Valentine’s downfall.
“Our 2012 season was disappointing for many reasons. No single issue is the reason, and no single individual is to blame,” Cherington said. “We’ve been making personnel changes since August, and we will continue to do so as we build a contending club. With an historic number of injuries, Bobby was dealt a difficult hand. He did the best he could under seriously adverse circumstances, and I am thankful to him.”
On the field, those aforementioned injuries and personnel moves – including an August trade with the Dodgers that sent Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford west – forced Valentine to use a Red Sox-record 56 players as part of a $173 million total payroll that ranked third in the Majors.
Off the field, however, Valentine was quite polarizing. He began the year by rankling the Yankees during Spring Training, and he had flare-ups with so many of his players – most notably Alfredo Aceves and the since-departed Kevin Youkilis – during the season that Sox management held a players-only meeting in July to listen to their grievances about the skipper.
Then, this past Wednesday, in his weekly spot on WEEI radio in Boston that he felt that some members of his coaching staff, bench coach Tim Bogar in particular, may have been disloyal to him this season.
Still, Red Sox management and ownership alike praised Valentine in announcing his dismissal, and with the move made, looked forward to another new era for the team.
“In our meeting with Bobby today, he handled everything with dignity and class, and it is deeply appreciated,” said Red Sox principal owner John Henry. “Ultimately, we as owners are responsible for arming our organization with the resources—intellectual, physical, and financial—to return to the levels of competitiveness to which we aspire and to which our fans are accustomed. Our commitment to winning is unwavering. It is a commitment to this team, to this city, and to these fans who have supported us through thick and thin.”
“This year’s won-loss record reflects a season of agony. It begs for changes, some of which have already transpired. More will come, and we are determined to fix that which is broken and return the Red Sox to the level of success we have experienced over the past decade,” added team president and CEO Larry Lucchino. “Difficult as it is to judge a manager amid a season that had an epidemic of injuries, we feel we need to make changes. Bobby leaves the Red Sox’ manager’s office with our respect, gratitude, and affection, and I have no doubt that he will continue to contribute to the game he loves so much and knows so well.”
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