The Red Sox season mercifully ended on Wednesday night and with that the final chapter in the Bobby Valentine error, or era whichever you prefer. Many in Red Sox nation have asked themselves the question, how did the Red Sox lose their way? The answer… they became obsessed with making the big splash. The emphasis changed from the performance on the field, to "Feeding the monster" like Theo Epstein referenced during his departure to Chicago. Bobby Valentine was a glaring example of this philosophy. Instead of finding the candidate that best fit their ball club, ownership chose the man that would attract the most headlines.
John Lackey, Dice-K, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, are all instances where the Sox went with headlines and ratings instead of using the baseball acumen that won them two World Series. Each of those players was given a huge contract by the Sox, even though their production could have easily been matched by cheaper alternatives.
Take Adrian Gonzalez as an example; they could've re-signed Adrian Beltre and kept Kevin Youkilis at first, or promoted Anthony Rizzo.
That brings us to Bobby Valentine, who throughout the interview process last off season was seen as the headliner, mainly because people actually knew who he was. His abrasive, no-nonsense demeanor personified everything Terry Francona did not.
With all attention the Red Sox get from the fans and the media, how did ownership expect Bobby Valentine's regime to turn out? Did they honestly believe this was the man that would right the ship after last September's collapse and all the media scrutiny that ensued? Bobby V's brash, and condescending behavior, may have made him an excellent commentator but as manager of the Red Sox, he never stood a chance.
As the year went on, and the Red Sox season continued to unravel, we've started to see them slowly, perhaps even begrudgingly go back to what made them so successful. The blockbuster trade with the Dodgers was the first step; clearing out bad contracts, and malcontent players like Josh Beckett. The next step taking back the clubhouse from the players; which they began the process of by suspending Alfredo Aceves for showing up his manager.
Next up for Cherington and ownership, finding a manager the players can respect. This time around don't worry about making the biggest splash. The World Series isn't won in off season, but you sure can lose them.
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