November 17, 2011

Cherington Overruled On Sveum (Who Has Been Hired By Theo's Cubs); Ownership Likes Bobby Valentine

This is not good. At all. Do we have an ownership group that is engaged in a mind meld with the Globe's Nick Cafardo?

Gordon Edes, ESPNBoston:
Ben Cherington seemingly had his man in Dale Sveum, but after a meeting with Red Sox ownership, no offer was made and Sveum went to the Cubs [agreeing to a three-year deal]. ...

The failure of the Red Sox to extend an offer to Sveum will be perceived as a stunning rebuke to Cherington and his baseball operations staff, who thought they had their man in Sveum. They presented him as such to the Sox ownership troika - John W. Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino - when they assembled here for the owners' meetings. And Sveum told close associates he anticipated receiving an offer.

But lunch together Wednesday did not produce said offer, even as word emerged that the Cubs had shown no such hesitation to make one. And now we know why. The Sox owners apparently had their own candidate: 61-year-old Bobby Valentine, whose considerable experience includes managing in three major leagues: the American, the National and the Japanese Pacific.

All signs now seem to point to Valentine, who took the New York Mets to the 2000 World Series and won the Japan Series with Chiba Lotte in 2005, as a leading candidate. According to an industry source, Valentine will meet with Sox officials by the "end of the week," which, if true, would underscore how the decision is not Cherington's to make, since he left for the Dominican Republic on Thursday to scout Cuban phenom Yeonis Cespedes and shake up his international staff. ...

[Valentine] has been in informal discussions with Sox ownership. Just where and when -- and with whom -- those talks took place is still to be discovered ...

The last time the Sox had a managerial opening, Lucchino talked to Valentine about the job, with Valentine maintaining that his failure to criticize Grady Little for leaving in Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees may have cost him a job that went to Terry Francona.
Cafardo has been pumping Valentine as a no-nonsense taskmaster who'll lay down the law to those chicken wing eaters in the clubhouse ever since Francona left. The CHB has joined the Bobby-V chorus, wondering in a recent column why Cafardo's suggestion was being ignored on Yawkey Way.

One SoSHer mused that it was because the team "has, for a decade now, had a completely different approach and focus than that used by Cafardo (or CHB). It is just stunning that these guys still don't get it."

SoSHer John Marzano Olympic Hero got to the point:
It's not really stunning because Cafardo has provided us with reams and reams of evidence that he's a lazy thinker who is very happy to cover baseball like it was 1976. Why would he want to get "it"? Cafardo's job is covered for life and there is absolutely zero incentive for him to learn anything new about MLB after a certain year. Furthermore he can spin his ignorance as his way of looking at things in an "interesting counter-balance to the way that the Boston front office views players and baseball operations." ...

[W]e're stuck with this clod who thinks "Why didn't the Red Sox talk to Bobby Valentine?" is a. a legitimate question and b. only seems to ask his fucking readers instead of the people that he's paid to cover. ...

Bobby Valentine wasn't considered by the Red Sox for a variety of reasons: one, he's been out of the game for awhile; two, he (presumably) doesn't share the organization's philosophy; three, he's a high-profile manager (read: loud-mouth) who has a bit of a star complex and four, if you take all three earlier reasons and add the fact that he wasn't tremendously successful (no World Series winners) in his previous jobs and you can pretty much come to the conclusion why Bobby Valentine wasn't interviewed. This isn't rocket science.
Meanwhile, Cafardo seems confident that if he mentions Valentine enough times, the Red Sox will hire him. It was comical for awhile, but I'm not laughing now. ... How much fuckin worse can this off-season get? It's only mid-November!


9casey said...

if you take all three earlier reasons and add the fact that he wasn't tremendously successful (no World Series winners)

That hasn't been a prerequiste in like 30 years....

9casey said...

I didn't get the Sveum love affair anyway.

It is amazing to me he was the top choice of both the Cubs and Red Sox.

If they hire Valentine this ownership group is heading in a different direction. I have no idea where it leads but it would be a change.

Zenslinger said...

I don't have any sense of who would be a good manager. I had some dislike at Sveum over some third-base-coaching decisions, but tried to tell myself that didn't really matter (I mean, when else do you notice the third base coach?)

Bobby V is not necessarily a disaster candidate. I see why he's disliked, but, as someone was writing today about the Managers of the Year, how the fuck do you really know how a manager's decisions are affecting the game for good or ill except in situations in which they turn out badly? It's hard to measure. Is Sandy Alomar, Jr. a good manager? I have no fucking idea! So I'm kind of taking the tack that we'll have a manager next year, and hopefully he'll, y'know, guide the team well. It's probably not going to change whether Crawford wakes up or whether the pitchers stay healthy.

Zenslinger said...

A lot of the relationship a fan has with the manager is just seeing them interviewed and being familiar with him. Francona came out of nowhere, on the level that fans were aware, and became beloved because he won and he was in our living rooms every night before and after the game. Could anyone predict he was going to be a good manager?

Sox said...

Lame. It's not a statement that's a rebuke to Ben!

Maybe it's a statement that says "Let Theo take his BS elsewhere."

Anonymous said...

Anyone who would consider hiring Bobby Valentine after listening to his ass-backward commentary on ESPN is bat-shit crazy. And if I had a bigger vocabulary, I'd add more hyphenated words.

He seems to believe that hitters can swing-and-miss on purpose while trying to also square up a pitch. In other words: don't ground out on a 3-0 pitch. Better to swing-and-miss. He explained this once and it was so asinine that I had to put on a disguise and hide in the closet. How can you try to hit a target while attempting at the same time to miss it completely? Only in Bobby V's world. Maybe Japanese baseball is more metaphysical and he knows something that I don't.

"Here Bobby, toss this cookie into your mouth. But don't miss. Either make it.. or miss your head completely. Don't hit your lips."

johngoldfine said...

Maybe the ownership needs a GM whose ideas are more in line with theirs.

laura k said...

God I hate Bobby Valentine - and not because of his ESPN commentary. Because I saw him manage the Mets. Please no. A thousand times no.

Kathryn said...

This is not the way to begin a new GM/owner relationship. Either you trust him or you don't.

And, doesn't it say something that Sveum was also the first choice for Theo?

Kathryn said...

Off topic:

Hey guys...Heidi's leaving.

she's gone

Amy said...

Maybe we should all convert to the Cubs...

Not that I was excited about Sveum, but Valentine? It's enough to make me wish for a long off season.

laura k said...

One conversion per lifetime for me. :)

FenFan said...

While we're at it, somebody get Jack McKeon on the phone...

allan said...

Zen: I agree with you on how we have no idea. Tito was an unknown or he was hired solely to placate Schilling (or because Schilling said it was a condition of him accepting the trade).

Valentine is horrible because he seems to reject the progressive ideas that the Red Sox have relied on for almost 10 years. He would likely ignore all analysis coming from Cherington, insisting that he is 100% in charge.

Plus, he thinks Gump may have been correct in 2003. That alone disqualifies him. If he believes that, he is far too stupid for any position with the Red Sox, even to be the guy who wipes up the tobacco juice from the dugout floor after the game.

I liked liking and respecting and trusting the manager of my team. I am not prepared to begin hating the Red Sox manager again. Please let this be an incorrect story or bad dream.

allan said...

And almost half of the 731 voters in the Globe poll say YAY! BOBBY V!!!!

Reason Number IN-FUCKING-FINITY to ignore what morons on the internet say!

allan said...

Maybe we should all convert to the Cubs...

85% of the fucking world is working. The other 15% post here.

allan said...

Back on October 1, Cafardo made his case for Valentine:

"[H]e's exactly what this organization needs. If you want a man who is considered one of the best in-game managers and who has control of his team and the clubhouse, there is no one better available. The question with Valentine is how would he coexist with ... the organizational approach?

Where Francona accepted a lot of input from ... the front office, Valentine would likely not be as welcoming. Suggestions of playing Darnell McDonald because he hits a certain lefthander wouldn’t fly with Valentine. He would have to know he has complete control of his team in the clubhouse and on the field. Some would say that’s not the way 21st-century baseball works, but it would be the way it would have to work.

Valentine, who has Connecticut roots and is an ESPN baseball analyst, is precisely the no-nonsense manager this franchise needs. He also has experience with Japanese players, and pitchers in particular. In an earlier column this year, Valentine offered some constructive criticism of how the Sox handled Daisuke Matsuzaka, a pitcher his team faced when he managed the Chiba Lotte Marines.

Valentine may not be the new-wave type the Sox are looking for, but he is a guy with a tremendous track record for getting the most out of players and leaving no doubt who is in charge, and that there are consequences for the type of behavior Sox players exhibited this season.

That is the choice here. Who will be ... John Henry’s choice? Will it be someone like Francona, who will be open to suggestions from the front office? If that’s whom they’re looking for, there might be some candidates out there."


No, thank you.

allan said...

Dale Sveum, High School Stud

laura k said...

Dale Sveum hot dog wrapper story.

1998, Yankee Stadium, weekday day game in July. Sveum is a bench player, utility infielder, subbing for Brosius at 3B. Early in the game, two hit balls rocket past him for extra base hits, then in a later inning, he butchers a third ball.

A piece of paper from a hot dog blows through the infield. Sveum retrieves it and pockets it - and the crowd cheers.

We were sitting on the third base side and it was pretty funny - and a bit sad.

Poor guy. A few days later, NYY released him. He asked if he could stay with the team anyway, as a bullpen catcher or whatever was needed. His playing career was over, the 1998 Yankees were fun place to be, so why not. I thought it was cool that he asked. He did stay on, I think as bullpen catcher... and got a WS ring.

I have no idea why there is so much interest in him as a manager. He was a good player before his major injury (broken arm, I believe). Maybe he has smarts that weren't apparent in his 3B coaching job.

Jim said...

Dale Sveum, High School Stud- hilarious. And to think I spent a few years deeply insecure around females because I couldn't get my hair to do that.
Re: the current state of the Sox, just stumbled across Chad Finn's excellent recap of the Duquette years: down to Nov. 15. My god, those were infuriating, frustrating years. I'm having more flashbacks.

johngoldfine said...

Hard to believe, reading the wiki entry on BV, that he's not permanently soiled goods.

Jere said...

"Hey guys...Heidi's leaving."

9casey had it up in comments Wednesday night. (Previous post to this one.)

"don't ground out on a 3-0 pitch. Better to swing-and-miss."

I'm not saying Bobby V isn't insane, but it is better to swing and miss than ground out on 3-0. What am I missing?

Joel said...

He did invent the wrap sandwich. And that's healthier fodder than fried chicken.

allan said...

Dale Sveum hot dog wrapper story.
1998, Yankee Stadium, weekday day game in July.

As I recall, the balls were not hit that hard, which is why his failure to get either of them (or any of the 3) was so wretched. It was the top of the first, so the crowd was howling.

Was that the game where fans were giving him instructions from the stands? "That's it, pull up your pants, check your glove, kick some dirt", etc.

Not as good as the Morehorseshit Game, but pretty hilarious.

laura k said...

Was that the game where fans were giving him instructions from the stands? "That's it, pull up your pants, check your glove, kick some dirt", etc.

Different game - fans were shouting instructions to Mike Blowers. :)

hrstrat57 said...


(to both Valentine and Heidi leaving)

hrstrat57 said...

Can we trade Beckett for Joe Madden?

hrstrat57 said...

2002 Mets = train wreck.

Wake up sawx!!

allan said...

Joe Madden?

Or John Maddon.

allan said...

Pumpsie, a SoSHer for whom I have a ton of respect and agree with nearly all of the time (no matter what the subject), thinks very highly of Valentine:

"I watched a lot of Bobby Valentine's games during his Met years and Bobby Valentine is a great in-game manager. Not good...great. His W/L and Pythag. records back this up. He's very smart and also won't take any guff from players. He'll also have them playing the game the right way. They won't be loosey-goosey out there. He was very well regarded in Japan as well.

"He also is ambitious. He wants to win and he wants to be #1, not just win 96 games, finish second in the division and win the WC and call it a good year. He will measure success in Boston by championships. And he will want to beat the Yankees on the biggest stages.

"His downside is his personality. It's big and some people don't like it. That said, he WILL take a lot of pressure off the team because the spotlight always tends to find him. The biggest potential problem would be with the Boston press, a bunch of morons who also have over-sized egos. They'll, no doubt, get tired quickly of Valentine putting them in their places. A press/Bobby V. feud would be a very good bet. They'll be in the turning molehills into mountains mode in no time. It'll be pretty darn entertaining but would it be good for the team and organization?

"His closest comp may be Billy Martin but he's much more likable and much more highly functional than the perpetually angry Yankee firebrand/racist/alcoholic. But as far as running a game goes, they were both the best I've ever seen. It'll be all the other stuff, outside of the lines, that may trip up Bobby.

"The hope may be that Valentine, in his time away from MLB, has learned a thing or two about handling the media and is willing to assuage the egos of the knights of the keyboard. There is no question about his ability to handle a game or a team. None.

"I think that Valentine would be a great fit for this team at this time when things have gotten too laidback in the clubhouse. But it would only be for about 3-4 years or so, and then they'll need another low-key type like Francona to come in. But, Valentine would get the veterans' heads on straight as well as anyone out there and he would be trying to win every game which will quickly gain the admiration of the fans. Come on now, guys, wouldn't this be the most entertaining hire available?"


This is a damn comprehensive post. It has me thinking. ... I looked through a bunch of BP Annuals and found nothing about BV's managing tendencies. ... I need more info.

allan said...

Speaking of Valentine's Pythag:

He managed 12 complete seasons and was +23 wins. His teams underperformed their Pthyag only twice. The 2000 and 2001 Mets outperformed Pythag by 6 and 9 wins, respectively.

hrstrat57 said...

I am more concerned that the situ in 2002 with the Mets clubhouse and collapse is very similar to the end of 2011 in Boston in many ways.

allan said...

Was that when Rickey was playing cards with someone during the game?

I am surprised no media person has mentioned that bit o' history amid all this hand-wringing (or they did, and I missed it).

I do know that we were reminded that in 1986 WS 6, Keith Hernandez, having made an out in the bottom of the 10th, was back in the locker room having a beer when the Mets rallied.

Mister Snitch! said...

Meanwhile, Cafardo seems confident that if he mentions Valentine enough times, the Red Sox will hire him. It was comical for awhile, but I'm not laughing now.

If you want drama and headlines (which may be exactly what a sportswriter like Cafardo is after), Valentine's your man. If you want a winning team in today's sports environment - not so much.

Valentine makes for a good TV talking head. That means NOTHING between the base lines.

The Sox need a fresh and hungry face to run the team, not a retread. They need Cherrington to assert himself and do what he does best: Scout talent. Get out there, beat the bushes, and find the next Joe Maddon.

Until they find their man, they should not be signing free agents like Ortiz. If they really want change (a big "if") they should not saddle the new guy with guys who personify last year's attitude. (Did Ortiz run out a single ground ball all season?)

allan said...

If you want a winning team in today's sports environment - not so much.

He squeezed extra wins out of his teams on a regular basis, according to Pythag.

After Pumpsie's post:

FredCDobbs: "I can't believe I'm talking myself into Bobby V. Screw it. Fenway Zoo, here we come"

Deweys New Stance: "I'm trying to talk myself into this too ..."

joyofsox: "Damn it, Pumpsie's post is eating away at my brain too!"

allan said...

Valentine makes for a good TV talking head. That means NOTHING between the base lines.

Right, that is why I am trying to ignore all his TV bullshit.

I have no idea how he was day-to-day with the Mets. And 2002 (his last year) was a looooooooong time ago when it comes to how much statistical data has soaked into baseball.

allan said...

A SoSHer was at Valentine's restaurant yesterday and was eavesdropping.

The poster adds:
"I think Pumpsie's post #60 spot on nails it. He's not my first choice; I probably would have been happier if the FO had gone with Cherington's recommendation and hired Sveum (and even happier still if Tito were still in charge). But the apopletic reactions, threats to boycott the team, and unfavorable comparisons to a dolt like Grady Freaking Little in the first couple pages of this thread are completely ridiculous. Bobby V is a very smart guy with a ton of drive and energy ...
Like Pumpsie said, he's a tremendous in-game manager and motivator. Yeah, he's not young, and he's probably too much of a self promoter and too strong a personality to have a long shelf life in an intense baseball media market like Boston, but so what? If John Henry does in fact agree to hire Valentine, I'm confident it will only be after he's gotten comfortable that Bobby V will be willing to work with and accept the input of Ben Cherington's staff. For those of you calling for a strong authority figure who can restore discipline and focus to this team, this is your guy. A good Dick Williams-like 2 or 3 year run from a guy like Valentine to get the most out of the core of this team is probably the best that can be hoped for at this point. And maybe in that timeframe the FO can identify the next Terry Francona to manage this team for the long term."


jacklamabe65 writes:
"Interestingly, my state rep here in Cos Cob who is as passionate a Yankee fan as there is, SWEARS by Bobby V as misunderstood at best. He called him smart, loyal, dedicated, and thoughtful. He believes that his time away from the game as a big league manager - has given him a perspective that will make him even better in the dugout. ... according to my friend, he's is very bright, cares, and, for all of his swagger, is an incredibly compassionate person ... He wants to retire with a World Series ring; he would do anything for one - and while his shelf-life as a manager might not be long - he would do anything to leave the game he loves as a champion."