Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

Monday, August 06, 2012

Bobby Valentine Is Not The Reason For Red Sox Failure

John Henry released a statement this afernoon backing manager Bobby Valentine and saying the skipper's job was safe. Henry noted that, "Baseball managers often get too much credit and too much blame for what happens on the field."

Whether Valentine's job is safe after this season ends is open to much speculation and he may, in fact, be terminated in the fall. The Sox brass gave Valentine a brief window of opportunity when they handed him a two-year deal last winter, which wasn't a vote of confidence.

Perhaps Valentine won't see year-two in Boston, but the Red Sox failures this season cannot be laid at his feet.

Red Sox starters have a cumulative ERA of 4.78, 11th out of 14 AL clubs. Boston's top-three starters — Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester — have ERAs of 4.48, 4.54 and 5.36, respectively.

If you're looking for the reason the Red Sox have been a .500 ball club all season, look no further. Yet, there's more.

The feast or famine Red Sox have scored the third-most runs in the major leagues, more than the first-place Yankees. Yet, the Sox have been limited to two or fewer runs 29 times. That's not Bobby Valentine's fault.

A whole host of high-priced veterans that this team was counting on when the season began are all having off years at the same time. But that's not all.

Red Sox players have missed 1,119 games while on the disabled list. That's mind-boggling.

The Sox have set a team record by putting 23 players on the disabled list 27 times this season. The 23 players on the DL are the most in a single season by any team in the majors since 1987.

None of that is Bobby Valentine's fault either.

More than anything, the Red Sox really need a roster overhaul. However, they have a number of overpaid under-achievers bogging down their roster, which are always the hardest players to move.

John Lackey will be back in the rotation next season, in lieu of Aaron Cook. However, all four of the other current starters will almost certainly be back in 2013 as well. That's the same group that isn't getting it done this year.

The Sox appear to be handcuffed to Beckett, which is most unfortunate.

In his seven seasons in Boston, Beckett has produced an ERA under 4.00 just three times. And he has twice had an ERA over 5.00. This is the guy who was supposed to be the staff ace from the very beginning, and whom the Red Sox handed a four-year, $68 million extension before the 2010 season.

Beckett responded by turning in a career-worst 5.78 ERA that year.

Bobby Valentine did not give Josh Beckett that regrettable four-year extension.

Firing the manager would merely be an act of scapegoating. The Red Sox face far bigger, far more important personnel decisions and are saddled with some really bad, long-term contracts that will haunt them for years to come.

John Henry and Co. have a major PR problem on their hands. Fans just don't like this team of high-priced, under-performing veterans.

Ratings on NESN are down and ticket sales are dwindling. Maintaining this phony sellout streak has become a bad joke. Fans arrive late and leave early. Season ticket holders can't resell their seats online. Interest in this team is clearly declining.

If management can't fix the glaring problems it has with its on-field personnel, then perhaps they'll make a clumsy public charade of trying to fix their problems by firing Valentine instead.

But doing that won't address the Red Sox real problems, which are all over their roster.

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