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   1. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:34 PM (#4003690)
Some context for Valentine's numbers. They're very, very good.

Valentine's +356 rates him 28th all time in total runs above expectation. The most similar managerial record I found for the modern era is Davey Johnson's (+386 in 12.5 seasons). He's reasonably similar to Whitey Herzog (+404 in 15 seasons). Valentine was highly successful in five seasons managing in Japan, so his MLB + NPB career might push him toward the range of Dick Williams (+512 in 22 seasons).

Obviously, the Jaffe/Birnbaum numbers measure some combination of real managerial effect and random variation. Moreover, managerial quality is not necessarily prospective - a manager might be good or even great in one situation with one roster and a bat fit for another. But I think there's a pretty good prima facie case for Bobby Valentine's quality and effectiveness as a major league manager.
   2. Dan Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:46 PM (#4003705)
I'm excited about the Valentine selection. He's pretty much the best guy for this job outside of Joe Maddon or possible John Farrell, both of whom are under contract with division rivals and thus were never going to be in the running for this job. I agree that he has a lot of upside if he can fit into the Red Sox system and not burn out under the spotlight in Boston with the media and everything. And I love the idea that he will try to win every game instead of conceding games by trying to test his players in roles they probably aren't suited for. Francona's style of writing out the lineup and then setting the game on cruise control drove me nuts, as I'm sure many fellow therapudians have noticed. I vastly prefer a guy like Valentine or Maddon who will use his bench and who is not afraid to pinch hit if the situation arises, even early in games. Francona basically refused to pinch hit before the 8th or 9th inning, and even then he rarely would in the regular season, even for such obvious situations as Varitek against hard throwing righty closers and setup men when he had guys like Drew and lefty Salty on his bench.

I posted this in one of the other threads, but I'm shocked at just how negative the response to Valentine's hiring has been in places like SoSH. I can understand not being excited about his hiring like Mikael, myself, and possibly Darren seem to be, but what other candidate was even remotely preferable to giving Valentine a shot? Then again, the groupthink over there seems to still be disappointment, outrage, and confusion about Francona being let go, so perhaps it's to be expected that they won't approve of any replacement who isn't Francona himself or one of his clones (Mills, Hale, etc.).

I also think that it helps that Valentine wants to win a World Series quite badly and this job is probably his last good chance at it. A lot of what made Francona a good selection in 2004 was his hunger to prove himself and to win a first championship, and I think a lot of his fall was due to complacency after winning two rings. And games against the Rays should be a lot more enjoyable with a tactician who can match up against Maddon. Francona was handily outmanaged by Maddon in their head to head match ups over the past 4 seasons.
   3. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:07 PM (#4003742)
I posted this in one of the other threads, but I'm shocked at just how negative the response to Valentine's hiring has been in places like SoSH. I can understand not being excited about his hiring like Mikael, myself, and possibly Darren seem to be, but what other candidate was even remotely preferable to giving Valentine a shot?


I think part of it is "he's not Tito" but I think the larger part of it is "Bobby Valentine the character" rather than "Bobby Valentine the manager." There seems to be a sense (even in some of the threads here) that Bobby is going to be this buffoon like creature. He may well make some outlandish comments but he is also a smart baseball guy who has been in and around the game at the professional level for nearly half a century. He's not going to be hanging out in the dugout in the Groucho Marx disguise every night and he won't start his postgame pressers with "tonight's specials at my restaurant are..."

I'll freely admit I'm wary. This feels like a dramatic shift and I think it was Mikael who noted elsewhere that this could either work exceptionally well or be incredibly negative. Obviously I was a Francona guy and wanted one of the young guns (Lovullo, Alomar, Dave Martinez, etc...). I will say I think Valentine is a much better choice than a guy like Lamont would have been. If they were going to go away from the Francona model, I think Valentine is a good choice.
   4. SoSH U at work Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:28 PM (#4003769)
I will say I think Valentine is a much better choice than a guy like Lamont would have been.


Since I've made my objections known elsewhere, I'll stay positive and say I agree with this.
   5. villageidiom Posted: December 01, 2011 at 01:17 AM (#4004147)
I posted this in one of the other threads, but I'm shocked at just how negative the response to Valentine's hiring has been in places like SoSH.
I haven't read anything on this over there, but I think one other POV (besides what Jose mentions above) is the is-this-a-Lucchino-hiring thing. If one generally supports Cherington having the GM role, and supports the front office operating somewhat like the way it was with Epstein, the the notion that the GM will be free to make all decisions except when Lucchino has a different idea is not a good notion. It is a harbinger of bad things.

OTOH, if Valentine is indeed the best candidate, the notion that he wasn't even on the GM's radar until Lucchino put him there would be a reason not to blindly support the existing front office.

(All of the above is based on the information at our disposal, some of which is fact, and some of which is sportswriter projection and opinion. It could be that Lucchino had little to do with it, and Cherington had Valentine in mind all along. But the reaction - on SoSH and elsewhere - will be colored by whatever info is being pushed to the public.)
   6. Darren Posted: December 01, 2011 at 01:37 AM (#4004162)
Great post!
   7. Textbook Editor Posted: December 01, 2011 at 01:50 AM (#4004171)
I generally like Bobby Valentine the manager. I generally dislike Bobby Valentine the "character." If we have more of the former and far less of the latter than was the case when he was with the Mets, I'll be happy.
   8. Dag Nabbit is a cornucopia of errors Posted: December 01, 2011 at 02:04 AM (#4004178)
Valentine's Birnbaum score is wildly helped by his pythag score, which is a highly questionable element of his overall mark, BUT then again, he also scores extremely well in the coaching components, which I thought were the most important part of the whole Birnbaum Database. Valentine scores +227 runs above average there; which is to say he got 227 more runs out of his players than one would guess based on their performance in surrounding years. That's in the Top 30 all-time. Valentine is +76 with hitters and +151 runs with pitchers.

Valentine just does really poorly in the strategy portions. Go figure. (That means if you look at the amount of runs scored vs. how many runs "should've" been scored based on number of doubles, triples, sac hits, caught steals, et al -- his teams scored fewer runs than expected. And his pitchers allowed more than expected). I never quite put together the manic in-game manuevering with his pythag overproduction like MCoA does, but it could be the case.

Confession time: the Bobby Valentine synopsis might be my personal least favorite portion of Evaluating Baseball's Managers. Oh, the info's good and all, but he's so distinctive and so recent I really felt like I should've found something to say. But I just plain couldn't think of anything original to say about him. So I gave a couple lists and moved on.

In general, there's a (loose) correlation to a manager's prominence and the length of their entry in my book. By that standard, Valentine gets the shortest shrift of anyone. It's only a loose correlation, but that's mostly because there are some less prominent guys I had a lot to say about rather than prominent guys given so little attention.

In the manuscript copy, there are only 626 words on Valentine, the 82nd longest entry of the 89 managers in the book. Only John McNamara, Patsy Tebeau, Lee Fohl, Jim Fregosi, Patsy Donovan, Jimmy McAleer, and Billy Barnie got less.
   9. Joel W Posted: December 01, 2011 at 02:46 AM (#4004202)
Marc Normandin had a nice piece on Valentine at Over The Monster today: http://www.overthemonster.com/2011/11/30/2600020/thoughts-on-bobby-valentine-from-those-familiar

This may be the most encouraging, "Per @dougglanville When Buster Posey got hurt, one of Bobby's questions was "What was his WAR and how did that rank?" I am interested to see where our defense goes. Valentine shows signs of being curious and I wonder if he'll do what Joe Maddon has done with positioning.
   10. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 01, 2011 at 03:01 AM (#4004209)
Valentine scores +227 runs above average there; which is to say he got 227 more runs out of his players than one would guess based on their performance in surrounding years. That's in the Top 30 all-time. Valentine is +76 with hitters and +151 runs with pitchers.


I find that far more encouraging than any of the other stuff that I've read about Bobby V in these threads. I don't really care if Valentine is going to outmanage the guy in the other dugout or if he's up to date on the latest advanced metrics. But if he's still good at getting the most out of his ballplayers, that's a skill I find of real value.
   11. Something Other Posted: December 02, 2011 at 09:08 AM (#4004986)
...I don't really care if Valentine is going to outmanage the guy in the other dugout...
As a fan of a team that's had some truly lousy managers I can tell you that rooting for a team with an excellent strategist in charge is a HECK of a lot more fun.
   12. Dandy SeaDogs Diner Posted: December 02, 2011 at 11:33 AM (#4004995)
Great post indeed. As a longtime reader of ST, I must say this is the most insightful analysis of the Bobby V era out on the web, bar none! Keep up the great work Mikael, Daren, Dan, et. al.
   13. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 07, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4031132)
For anyone who hasn't yet put "weddingtop" on ignore, it's really Gaelan.
   14. Dale Sams Posted: January 07, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4031190)
What's funny is apparently I have put him on ignore. I can't see any of his posts. This surprises me cause i didn't think I had anyone on ignore....you got to go a long ways to win that distinction.

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