Whether manager Bobby Valentine is kept for 2013 or fired will be one of the biggest decisions that the Boston Red Sox will be forced to make this upcoming offseason.
The Red Sox have had one of the worst seasons in franchise history and it’s tough not to blame Valentine for at least part of their gaudy loss total. They have now lost 90 games for the first time since 1966 and could reach 93 by the time the season comes to a close—which would be the most since 1965 when they lost 100.
Valentine has been all over the place this year. He’s made comments that he should’ve kept to himself, played the wrong players at the wrong time and ineffectively managed Boston during his first and possibly only season on the job.
It may seem impossible to some, but it wouldn’t be that crazy to keep him for one more year.
Honestly, the 2013 team is not going to look significantly different than the team we’ve seen over the last few weeks. Virtually all of the starters will be back and a majority of the starting rotation will stay intact. Unless general manager Ben Cherington makes more drastic moves, Boston probably isn’t a playoff team next year either.
Cherington and the Red Sox ownership could easily decide to part ways with Valentine after just one season—with another year left on his contract. That would be Red Sox Nation’s decision, but it may not be the smartest one.
Let me explain.
Only one candidate could truly fill Valentine’s seat, and that’s John Farrell, who’s under contract with the Blue Jays until the end of next season. Toronto could be willing to let Farrell and Boston talk about that possibility becoming a reality, according to former Emmy-winning sports reporter Jennifer Royle.
Source: The Jays are willing to let Farrell go Boston as long as they're compensated due to friction btwn JF and GM Alex Anthopoulos— Jen Royle (@Jen_Royle) October 1, 2012
If Toronto didn’t allow Farrell to pursue other options, the Red Sox would find themselves in a bit of a pickle. There might not be a lot of talent on the market for managers with major league experience and they can’t make an irrational move.
By allowing Valentine to manage one more season, Farrell would be eligible to sign for 2014 or the Red Sox could look at other potential managers. One name to keep in mind is former Red Sox captain Jason Varitek, who recently took a job as the assistant to the general manager.
Varitek told Rob Bradford of WEEI that he isn’t ready to manage just yet, but a year back with the organization could be enough time to change his mind. He’s an incredible mind that would do wonders with the pitching staff and young catchers. Not to mention he is one of the most well-respected players in Red Sox history and in all of baseball.
One more year of Valentine would open up a ton of possibilities for the Red Sox managerial position.
Is it likely that Valentine stays for another year? Time will tell, but it might be a move that the Red Sox just have to make.