Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bobby Valentine to Red Sox

Check it out - "All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

Bobby Valentine has enjoyed celebrity status. ESPN's former baseball commentator's name was often mentioned whenever a managerial vacancy existed. His popularity rose to championship quality praise. Not bad for a fellow never to manage an American team to a division title. High praise to a former manager out of MLB since 2002.

Enter the Boston Red Sox. One of baseball's top organizations committed to winning. A team coming off a rough 2011 season filled with in-fighting, clubhouse drinking during games and a manager who suddenly quit. Terry Francona was at the helm for Boston's two World Series championships. He was the man who beat the Yankees and broke Boston's curse. Somewhere during the '11 season, Francona lost control of the Red Sox. Various injuries and terrible front office decisions (especially with starting pitching) could be largely to blame. Francona's sudden departure stunned many. He took Boston's bad season to heart. Perhaps, he realized Red Sox players didn't play with any? Perhaps he just wanted out at any cost. End of chapter.

A new page in Boston history is about to be written. GM Theo Epstein is gone - off to Chicago Cubs for millions of dollars. Francona out. New GM Ben Cherington is betting Bobby Valentine is the right man for the job. Question is - what kind of job will it become? A championship opportunity or caretaker for a rebuilding club?

Boston isn't necessarily rebuilding. Or, will they be forced to rebuild? Mostly due to over-inflated salaries of underachieving players. Carl Crawford's first stint in Boston was a complete failure ($20M+/year thru 2017). Lackey pitched like a drunk lackey without any consistency ($15.25M/year thru 2014). Daisuke Matsuzaka ($10M in '12) bombed. As of this moment, Boston has only 12 players signed costing $126,000,000.00! What will Boston due? Rebuilding in the mighty AL East will not be easy or cheap.

Bobby V steps right into the thick of things. Is he just a colorful caretaker until Boston finds a way to reclaim glory days of the 2000's? Or, is this team getting set for some serious wheeling and dealing? This team is carrying expensive dead weight which could curtail aggressive free agent maneuvers. Boston fans will soon find out the direction their team will take once baseball's winter meetings conclude.

Free agency is off to a very slow beginning. Maybe due to economic uncertainties? Maybe owners are finally realizing their players are way over paid? (doubt it). The silence of active free agent signings is slowly becoming deafening. Jose Reyes name was tossed about early on. Pujols to Chicago could be in the works. However, to this observer, a game of chicken seems in play. No teams making big offers to the coveted free agent pitchers. Not much discussion beyond scuttlebutt when it comes to position players. Something will give. I'm guess Epstein's Cubs will be the first to make headlines.

Bobby Valentine in Boston to help discipline a clubhouse drinking team is a bit funny. After all, when managing the Mets Valentines players were caught playing poker in the clubhouse during playoff series vs rival Braves. Bobby V was never known - or respected - as a tough taskmaster. Boston is rolling the dice with Valentine's happy go lucky attitude. I don't see it paying off. Valentine proved many times he's no match for bloated ego's of overpriced ballplayers. Red Sox fans will keep their collective fingers crossed hoping and praying a new face at the helm is all that's needed to restore winning ways.

The only good news seems to be Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury & Kevin Youkilis. These players represent the heart and sole of Boston Red Sox baseball. Boston's pitching is in shambles and should be primary focus #1 from rotation to relievers.

Newcomer's Valentine and Cherington have much work to do. 2012 is filled with vital challenges. Decisions made during this off season will have a lasting effect. Hold on Boston fans - turbulence expected.

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