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Friday, July 13, 2012

Edes: Mismatched Sox wearing on Bobby?

Have you heard there may be interpersonal conflicts among the Boston Red Sox?  This is a story about that!

Halfway through Bobby Valentine’s first season as manager of the Boston Red Sox, signs of disconnects are everywhere, regardless of how much he and others try to downplay them publicly.

Valentine has voiced frustration to associates over his lack of communication with members of his coaching staff, especially pitching coach Bob McClure, but also bullpen coach Gary Tuck and bench coach Tim Bogar. McClure said Thursday such reports “are overblown,” noting that he and Valentine spent considerable time before Thursday’s workout discussing the team’s pitching plans in the second half.
...
David Ortiz publicly stated his support recently for the manager, but another respected player on the team said privately that it was all for show. That same player has gone weeks without speaking to Valentine and said that the manager does not have the support of “anyone” in the clubhouse. That is likely an exaggeration—another veteran told a friend he has come around on the manager after initially being shocked at his hire—but Valentine told associates that he knows he is being bad-mouthed in the clubhouse and is at a loss to understand why.

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 13, 2012 at 09:09 AM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bobby valentine, red sox

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   1. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 13, 2012 at 09:24 AM (#4181620)
My pick for the "respected player" - Dustin Pedroia. He was close with Francona, defended Youkilis publicly during that weird spring dust-up, and exaggeration is his native tongue.

Any of the pitchers, but probably Josh Beckett, would be the second choice.
   2. JJ1986 Posted: July 13, 2012 at 09:29 AM (#4181624)
Was Valentine not allowed to bring in his own coaching staff? Having Francona's guys around doesn't seem good for anyone.
   3. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 13, 2012 at 09:34 AM (#4181630)
Tuck and Bogar are holdovers. McClure was hired after Bobby V, but apparently more on the front office's instigation than Valentine's.
   4. booond Posted: July 13, 2012 at 09:36 AM (#4181635)
I'm not in the clubhouse so I don't know what's going on and Valentine gives off the air of a know-it-all, which can be grating but this is the most unlikable Sox team in a long while. They sound like a bunch of spoiled kids.
   5. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: July 13, 2012 at 09:39 AM (#4181637)
My pick for the "respected player" - Dustin Pedroia. He was close with Francona, defended Youkilis publicly during that weird spring dust-up, and exaggeration is his native tongue.

Any of the pitchers, but probably Josh Beckett, would be the second choice.


Well there is this:

Valentine went out to the mound in Chicago for a visit with his pitcher, and all the infielders joined him for the conference except star second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who remained at his position.


If the Sox do not make the postseason, what are the chances Valentine doesn't return next year?
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 13, 2012 at 09:40 AM (#4181639)
100%. Well, say 95. I can't actually see the future or into Larry Lucchino's brain.

The next manager might have an even harder job than Valentine, did, though.

Or the Sox could start winning games - they have 90+ win talent - and everything will work itself out.
   7. booond Posted: July 13, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4181654)
100%. Well, say 95. I can't actually see the future or into Larry Lucchino's brain.


All you do by firing Valentine is validate the bad behavior. You might as well bring in a personal chef to fry up the chicken and have Sam Adams set up a brewhouse in the locker room.
   8. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:00 AM (#4181661)
If the Sox don't make the playoffs, the front office better not think that all they need to do is fire Valentine. But I don't see how, if the whole clubhouse needs an overhaul, keeping the same manager is the solution.
   9. tfbg9 Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4181665)
A manager needs to be able to set-up his own coaching staff.
   10. TomH Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:06 AM (#4181668)
"making the playoffs" as a wild card is not likely a recipe for success. The Sox, if they play well in the 2nd half, are not exactly a team built to win a one-game matchup; who would they pitch against someone else's ace? Now, in a longer set, their #3 and #4 SP with a fine offense backing them is a better bet.
   11. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:10 AM (#4181672)
When Grady was fired and Tito was hired, he entered a clubhouse with an established hitting coach (Ron Johnson), an established pitching coach (Dave Wallace), and an established bullpen coach (Euclides Rojas). The Sox hired new bench, 1st, and 3rd base coaches, though I don't know how many of them were Tito's "own" guys. In baseball, it's common for a new manager to have to take the lead of a coaching staff that he didn't entirely choose.

Maybe Tito had just enough say, and Valentine didn't have quite enough. But I think the manager's job is to work with the coaches (and the coaches' job is to work with the manager), and it sounds like there's been failure enough to go around.
   12. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4181675)
The Sox, if they play well in the 2nd half, are not exactly a team built to win a one-game matchup; who would they pitch against someone else's ace?
Jon Lester is a perfectly fine ace. He's having a bad season in BABIP and strand rate, but his stuff looks the same and he's got a long track record of success.
   13. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4181676)
"making the playoffs" as a wild card is not likely a recipe for success. The Sox, if they play well in the 2nd half, are not exactly a team built to win a one-game matchup; who would they pitch against someone else's ace? Now, in a longer set, their #3 and #4 SP with a fine offense backing them is a better bet.
Even if the Sox were pitching Cook against Weaver (or Verlander or Sabathia or pick your favorite AL ace) on the road, they still wouldn't have less than, a 40% shot at victory at worst, right? That can't really be substantially less than their odds against the same team in a long series.

And of course, it might stack up for Boston that they get to pitch Lester while the the other team is using their #3 or #4. I'm of the opinion that the Red Sox don't even make it to the one-game playoff for the WC spot, but I don't think you can say they are any kind of bad bet if they do. The sample size is just too small.
   14. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4181700)
All you do by firing Valentine is validate the bad behavior. You might as well bring in a personal chef to fry up the chicken and have Sam Adams set up a brewhouse in the locker room.


What bad behavior? Supposedly Valentine got rid of this stuff and I have read nothing that says that it's back. The "bad behavior" so far is "playing like crap."
   15. TerpNats Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4181701)
"making the playoffs" as a wild card is not likely a recipe for success. The Sox, if they play well in the 2nd half, are not exactly a team built to win a one-game matchup; who would they pitch against someone else's ace? Now, in a longer set, their #3 and #4 SP with a fine offense backing them is a better bet.
Yes, it sure hurt the Bosox in that '48 playoff when they sent Denny Galehouse to the mound against...Bob Feller? No. Bob Lemon? Nope. Gene Bearden? Yep. (OK, Galehouse was a bad choice, but Bearden was the Tribe's Jordan Zimmermann, not their Strasburg or Gonzalez.)
   16. villageidiom Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4181710)
The Sox hired new bench, 1st, and 3rd base coaches, though I don't know how many of them were Tito's "own" guys.
Mills (bench coach) was Tito's own guy. He was Francona's first base coach in Philly, and they were close even before that IIRC.
   17. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4181724)
At some point it stops mattering whether Valentine is doing a poor job or was simply put into a bad situation. If he's doing a bad job, he deserves to go, if ownership isn't going to support him, they should fire him and bring in someone they are going to support.
   18. The TVerik of Lordly Might Posted: July 13, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4181737)
From what I understand, a bench coach's ENTIRE JOB is communicating with the manager. What else does he do?
   19. puck Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4181816)
From what I understand, a bench coach's ENTIRE JOB is communicating with the manager. What else does he do?

It probably depends on the team. I remember often reading that he assists the manager with game management. ("You can't get Anderson up, he's pitched the last 3 nights, remember? We probably shouldn't hit and run here, there's 2 outs.") On the Rockies, I think their bench coach (Tom Runnells) has a lot of coaching duties with players--they made him the bench coach because he'd been managing the Rockies AA and AAA teams for a while and got to know a lot of the players on their way up.
   20. Jose Molina wants a nickname like "A-Rod" Posted: July 13, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4181841)
This team is a mess. I think regardless of whether it justifies bad behavior, you simply fire Valentine now and bring in a hard ass like Showalter. It can't make things any worse and at least it has a chance of making things better. Moreover, as the guy who rescues people from Valentine, any of that Francona resentment which may taint Valentine won't taint the new guy.
   21. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: July 13, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4181864)
This team is a mess. I think regardless of whether it justifies bad behavior, you simply fire Valentine now and bring in a hard ass like Showalter. It can't make things any worse and at least it has a chance of making things better. Moreover, as the guy who rescues people from Valentine, any of that Francona resentment which may taint Valentine won't taint the new guy.


Valentine is the hard ass. I don't understand how an even harder ass is somehow going to be beloved by everybody. Hardasses tend to piss people off. That's their kind of their thing.

I don't really care about players gripes or whatever - I'm pretty sure Earl Weaver wasn't everyone's cup of tea either - but what does concern me is the injury stuff. The Red Sox have a history of lots of injured players who seem to spend play poorly due to injury and spend longer on the DL than other teams, as far as I can tell. How they handle that issue really does seem like it needs a change of organization-wide philosophy.
   22. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 13, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4181867)
I'm pretty sure Earl Weaver wasn't everyone's cup of tea either

Jim Palmer loved him. (And that wasn't tea in the cup.)
   23. villageidiom Posted: July 13, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4181886)
This team is a mess. I think regardless of whether it justifies bad behavior, you simply fire Valentine now and bring in a hard ass like Showalter.
I hear Alfonso Soriano is available.
   24. winnipegwhip Posted: July 13, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4181970)
Curt Schilling is looking for income.
   25. TomH Posted: July 13, 2012 at 06:41 PM (#4182004)
confidence in Jon Lester as a playoff ace? The guy with a career ERA of 3.63 and whose Ks are down this year?
What I was saying, all, is that the Theo model of building a team to win 88+ games was good when there was one wild card. It wasn't such a good model pre-69, when you needed to win 95+ to get a pennant ('67 & other rare events excluded). It ain't such a good model when there is a reward for winning the division and you happen to play in a division that will likely need 93+ wins to get it; especially when your team without an ace the caliber of other good team's aces may only project to win the one-game WS playoff 40%-45% of the time.
The Red Sox, should they win the WC, have about a 10% of getting to the Big Dance, and 5% prob of bringin home the trophy, IMHO. Other years I would guess the odds would be better. If I were choosing, I would favor staying under the salary cap to re-set that, rather than playing for the 2012 flag and paying the piper, if finances come into it.

   26. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: July 13, 2012 at 06:50 PM (#4182009)
confidence in Jon Lester as a playoff ace? The guy with a career ERA of 3.63 and whose Ks are down this year?


Career ERA+
Verlander 126
Sabathia 125
Lester 124
Hamels 125
Weaver 131

Lester may be down this year, but career ERA-wise, he holds up to any other #1 starter.
   27. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 13, 2012 at 06:55 PM (#4182013)
confidence in Jon Lester as a playoff ace? The guy with a career ERA of 3.63 and whose Ks are down this year?
Lester has ERA+ of 136, 134, and 124 the last few years. His current FIP is in the top 10 in the AL. From 2010-2012, for currently pitching in the AL, he's 7th in ERA+.
   28. Ron J Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:25 PM (#4182225)
#9 Dunno. Alston had a pretty decent run and management hired the coaching staff. I'm sure he had some say, but there's no way he'd have had Durocher on his staff if given a free choice.

There's some logic to this. You don't want a staff made up of guys the manager likes to drink with (as has happened more than a few times) --or at least you don't want that to be the sole reason for the hire.

Interestingly Tom House wasn't a Valentine hire. Tough to say that worked out well, and the fact that House was an unconventional coach and Valentine wasn't fully supportive probably didn't help.
   29. Walt Davis Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:48 PM (#4182246)
Valentine told associates that he knows he is being bad-mouthed in the clubhouse and is at a loss to understand why.

Grrr!!

Really? Valentine went on record saying he told associates this? This is a fact?

Of course not. At best, "according to associates Valentine is being bad-mouthed...."
   30. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 13, 2012 at 11:31 PM (#4182259)
the Theo model of building a team to win 88+ games


The "Theo model" was consistently stated as building a team to win 95 games. Not sure where you are getting 88 wins from.
   31. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: July 14, 2012 at 04:44 AM (#4182307)
I hated the Valentine signing from the start. Shitcanning him wouldn't bother me at all.
   32. TomH Posted: July 14, 2012 at 07:35 AM (#4182317)
The "Theo model" was stated at 95+. Which was a goal, not most people's realistic expectation, right? I made up 88+, which you can change if you wish, but I thought reflects reality. It was a model which said we'd like to continually be successful, as opposed to aiming for uber-success some years and then have a take a year off to retool.
   33. TomH Posted: July 14, 2012 at 07:40 AM (#4182318)
Lester may be down this year, but career ERA-wise, he holds up to any other #1 starter.


And very few people would argue that Verlander v Weaver v Lester in a playoff game should be judged much by career ERA+
   34. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 14, 2012 at 08:00 AM (#4182323)
The "Theo model" was stated at 95+. Which was a goal, not most people's realistic expectation, right? I made up 88+, which you can change if you wish, but I thought reflects reality. It was a model which said we'd like to continually be successful, as opposed to aiming for uber-success some years and then have a take a year off to retool.


It was my expectation those years. The Sox reached that level in 6 of his first 7 years and I think in both 2010 and 2011 had clubs that easily could have reached that level.
   35. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 14, 2012 at 08:16 AM (#4182325)
Lester may be down this year, but career ERA-wise, he holds up to any other #1 starter.

And very few people would argue that Verlander v Weaver v Lester in a playoff game should be judged much by career ERA+
In post #25, the only evidence you cited for Lester's lack of ace quality was his career ERA.

Of course Jon Lester isn't as good as Justin Verlander or Jered Weaver. The point is that he's still a top 10 pitcher in the AL, which gives the Red Sox a good shot against even opponents who can start a Cy Young candidate like Verlander.

Take the other AL contenders. Lester is clearly at a disadvantage against Weaver, Verlander, or Sabathia. He's evenly matched against Price, Harrison, or Peavy, and I'd take him over Hammel.
   36. tjm1 Posted: July 14, 2012 at 08:19 AM (#4182326)
And very few people would argue that Verlander v Weaver v Lester in a playoff game should be judged much by career ERA+


Sure, but failing to be one of the top 2 pitchers in the league doesn't make him a #2 starter. On most teams, I think Lester would be the best starting pitcher, in terms of established value at this point in his career. His off-year also seems to be mostly due to a poor BABIP. Compared with last year, his home-run rate is the same, his walk and strikeout rates are down by about one per nine innings, and his hits against are up by 2 per nine innings. Nothing really looks like a cause for major long-term concern. I'd expect him to bounce back.
   37. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 14, 2012 at 08:29 AM (#4182328)
The "Theo model" was stated at 95+. Which was a goal, not most people's realistic expectation, right?
No, it was very clearly the expectation. These are the Red Sox team wins 2003-2009:

95, 98, 95, 88, 96, 95, 95

They had injury problems in 2010, and then 2011-2012 have been the crisis years. After two years under 95 wins, Theo quite and Tito was fired. It seems pretty clear that they shot for 95 wins and they usually hit their target until the end. Once they didn't hit their target, things got shaken up (though perhaps not for the better).
   38. Walt Davis Posted: July 14, 2012 at 11:44 PM (#4182791)
Probably a better way to put it is that they were built to be an expected playoff team -- and in that era (especially early), the wild card in the AL required 92+ wins. The Sox weren't building to win 88, hoping to luck into 93.
   39. Orangepeel Posted: July 15, 2012 at 03:26 AM (#4182854)
Take the other AL contenders. Lester is clearly at a disadvantage against Weaver, Verlander, or Sabathia. He's evenly matched against Price, Harrison, or Peavy, and I'd take him over Hammel.


If you're basing it entirely off fielding independent stats, then yeah, Peavy and Price are marginally better than Lester. Having an ERA that is actually better than league average should count for a little bit, though.

EDIT: Also, the Sox might end up using Sale in a game 1 over Peavy, and he also beats Lester solidly in K, BB, and HR. ERA+ difference is pushing 100.
   40. Dan Posted: July 15, 2012 at 04:32 AM (#4182861)
Sale has been absolutely amazing, but unless they shut him down for a few weeks or start pitching him every 7-10 days instead of every 5 for a while I think he's going to be fatigued before the end of September since he's never before approached a 200+ IP workload. I'm not saying that they should shut him down once he reaches 160 IP like the Nats say they will with Strasburg, but I think it's likely to expect a guy in his situation to be tired after his first full MLB season as a starting pitcher.
   41. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 15, 2012 at 08:03 AM (#4182878)
Take the other AL contenders. Lester is clearly at a disadvantage against Weaver, Verlander, or Sabathia. He's evenly matched against Price, Harrison, or Peavy, and I'd take him over Hammel.

If you're basing it entirely off fielding independent stats, then yeah, Peavy and Price are marginally better than Lester. Having an ERA that is actually better than league average should count for a little bit, though.
I'm not going by season statistics. I'm going by projections - admittedly projections that I'm making up in my head and comparing to rest-of-year ZiPS. There's no question that Price and Peavy are having better seasons, but I don't think they project as better pitchers. Since what we're talking about is a hypothetical future matchup between Lester and other clubs' aces, this is the right method to use.

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