What began as murmurings as far back as April has become a full fledged tidal wave of debate and speculation in Red Sox Nation. Should Bobby Valentine be fired? And the answer is a resounding YES.
As this is being written, the Red Sox have fifty games to go, after another discouraging loss today. They sit at 55-57. The season has been a continual parade of a bad stretch of games followed by just enough of good games to get the hopes up. Then another losing streak follows. They have been the definition of a mediocre ball club all year.
To get to 90 wins and to have any wild card hopes, the Sox need to go 35-15 ( .700 winning percentage) from now on. Does anyone have the remotest hope that this team can go 35-15 under Valentine? No, there is no evidence of this happening. Is there any chance the Red Sox could catch fire under an interim manager ( Bogar, Arnie Beyler, anyone) and play .700. Do not bet the house on it, but this would not be the first pro sports team to catch lightning in a bottle after a managerial/coaching change. Maybe a change would not improve the Sox, but it sure as hell will not make them any worse.
And for those of you who say the players own responsibility for all of this mess, not Valentine, ( and more on that in a moment) this would constitute a final 50 game trial for all the players. If the club does not light up the sky under the new guy all the more reason for Ben Cherington to unload any and all of the players this winter that he can.
Peter Abraham of the Globe posted a spirited defense of Valentine just days ago. The first half of his piece seems to blame the current and previous front office members for most of the mess. This may very well ring true be is completely irrelevant of the case against Valentine. Pete Abe also states Valentine gets high marks for building a bullpen on the fly and his handling of this bullpen. Personally I think Valentine's use of the pen has been weak especially in two areas: always having guys warm up 2, 3, or even 4 times in a game and in his penchant for using 4 guys in the sixth inning and not having any one left for match ups in the 8th or 9th. Plus he has worn guys like Padilla and very likely Aceves out.
Abraham also credits Valentine for getting most out of all the scrubs he has used due to injury. If he gets credit for their success, why is it the star players get complete blame for their disappointing seasons, not Valentine. You cannot have it both ways.
But the "in game" skills of Valentine are not the reason he should go. First to the rationale that this is entirely on the players. Again to quote Peter Abraham's piece " they need to significantly change their roster not the manager." The point so many are missing here is it is not an either /or proposition. Yes, the players take a big share of the blame, that has nothing to do with the fact that Bobby Valentine has failed in every way as manager of your Boston Red Sox. He has not communicated or led this team. He also has not come as advertised. He was supposedly a glib, hard ass, take no prisoners manager when it came to his players, the media, or anyone else. He is NONE of that. He can barely speak coherently enough to get a point across. He has not really taken any player to the woodshed publicly all year ( unless you count the half hearted swipe at Youkilis early in the season). If he was truly some brash," I am in charge here" guy don't you think he could have found a few targets so far this miserable season.
As Lou Merloni, a survivor of the 2001 Joe Kerrigan Red Sox said on the Comcast Baseball Show, this team's issues have only smoldered near the surface because everyone in the clubhouse has still believed they can win it all. But, Lou asked, what happens when they reach the point where they know it is over? How bad will it get? And I add, how would a complete meltdwown help the 2013 Boston red Sox
One possible response to this year's debacle is to go young in 2013 trading some vets for more kids and have then join Middlebrooks, Doubront, Kalish, Lavarnway, etc. if this comes to past does anyone want Bobby to be the guy to lead these kids and rebuild the Red Sox? Does any one believe that Valentine lasts beyond the end of his contract which expires at the end of 2013? Then why wait another day. Start rebuilding this franchise by admitting their (Lucchino's) mistake and fire him now.
I may not have stated my case sufficiently but I know something is horribly wrong with this team and I know Bobby Valentine is not the manager for this team. In an attempt to sum up I refer you to 1960's Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart. In 1964 while hearing an obscenity case, said I shall not define it ( hard core pornography), BUT I KNOW IT WHEN I SEE IT.
Bobby Valentine has failed as Red Sox manager... I know when I see it.