One by one, Bobby Valentine was forced to shuffle his
lineup with Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin
Youkilis, Andrew Bailey, John Lackey and Will Middlebrooks sidelined by
injuries for extended periods of time.
Even complementary players like Cody Ross, Ryan Sweeney,
Darnell McDonald and Daniel Nava spent time on the disabled list. All in all,
the Red Sox assigned 27 players to the DL with 34 separate stints — the most
for a team since 1987.
Valentine was forced to use 56 different players this
season, the most in franchise history. So why was he still fired on Thursday
afternoon, despite the fact injuries hampered his ability to field a team?
"Our season didn't go the way we wanted to by any
measure," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. "A huge
disappointment and we take collective responsibility for that. There were a lot
of factors involved. But it is what it is.
"We finished with 93 losses and as we look forward
to this offseason and next year, we felt like we needed to make a change in the
manager's office to give the team its best chance for a fresh start and a new
direction. That's what we did. I put myself in the center of the responsibility
for how the season went, but this is about moving forward and finding a new
voice to be a collaborator with ownership, myself, baseball ops as we build the
next great Red Sox team."
While Cherington declined to delve into Valentine's mistakes,
it's clear the ex-skipper's erratic behavior also resulted in his ouster.
A few weeks ago, Valentine angered many when he called
his team "the weakest roster we've ever had in September in the history of
baseball." Then, before the last game of the season, Valentine claimed
some members of his coaching staff had undermined him.
Had Valentine not aired his grievances through the media,
he may have received one more year. Instead, the team's horrific record was
reason enough — on the surface, at least — for the front office to go in a
"We just didn't perform in this performance,
results-oriented business," Cherington said. "When you don't perform
to the degree that we did, you have to consider more major changes. We started
out with the trade in August on the player-personnel side and this is a major
"Culture is always going to feel better when things
are going well and we're winning games. And so what we need to do is hire the
right manager and build the right team to allow the Red Sox to have success and
give the fans and ownership what they deserve and the culture will feel much
And that means cleaning house completely.
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