Valentine lasted one season, and he added mayhem to a team that expected a turnaround after the previous year. His brash personality clashed with his players, and the team was befallen by injuries and poor play. The result: a 69-93 record, the worst in nearly 50 years for a proud franchise.
It was so bad that even Valentine did not balk at his firing.
“I understand this decision,” Valentine said. “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. 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.”
Considered a baseball genius in many circles, Valentine never got a handle on the Red Sox. Players that embraced predecessor Terry Francona’s relaxed approach detested Valentine’s in-your-face decorum. Worse than that, the Red Sox played poorly under him.
By August, when the contenders were setting their playoff roster, Red Sox players went to management asking for Valentine to be axed.
The one good thing that came out of Valentine’s mess was that the team traded off huge contracts in Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Becket, saving the franchise $250 in future salaries. Now, they can rebuild.
“Our 2012 season was disappointing for many reasons,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “No single issue is the reason, and no single individual is to blame. 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.”
Cherington, who replaced Theo Epstein last offseason, will lead the search for a replacement. The team’s top target is current Toronto manager John Farrell, who has a year left on his deal with the Blue Jays.
“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,” owner John Henry said. “We have confidence in Ben Cherington and the kind of baseball organization he is determined to build.”
Instead of the Red Sox battling the rival New York Yankees for playoff positioning, it was the Baltimore Orioles. That did not sit well with folks in Boston.
“This year’s won-loss record reflects a season of agony. It begs for changes,” Lucchino said. “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.”