It's getting late, and it's been a disappointing season for the Boston Red Sox.
They've got the second-highest payroll in Major League Baseball, and the fourth-highest in world-wide professional sports.*
* Actually, I have no idea about that second thing. But come to think of it, football teams have like 60 players on the roster. So don't hold me to that.
Oh, and entering play on the 6th of August, they had a losing record. So you can understand why the first-year manager's been feeling a little heat.
It was a fairly long message, but here's the nut graf:
In baseball, managers often get too much credit and too much blame for what happens on the field. That seems to be a constant. There is often the thought in organizations, "This isn't working so the manager needs to go." But an organization is much more than the field manager. We all share responsibility for the success and failure of the Boston Red Sox. We are not making a change in manager.
Right around the same time, general manager Ben Cherington spoke at length about the season, and about his manager. This bit appeared in at least one tweet:
He’s our manager. I’m not getting into timelines.
That doesn't sound good. That sounds an awful lot like, "He's our manager now ... but that could change at any moment."
It sounds a lot better in context, though. Here's a bit more (via WEEI.com):
"I’m not going to comment on that. He’s our manager. I’m not getting into timelines. I’m not going to get into a timeline for myself either," said Cherington. "We’re just doing the job right now, doing the job the best we can, and we’re focused on making it better and I support Bobby."
Cherington said that, just as he did at the time of the manager’s hiring, he believes that Valentine is the right person for the job. He spoke highly of his evaluation skills (both in terms of in-game management and creating roster roles). As for the fact that the team has been a disappointment to this date, Cherington did not hide from the fact, but he said that reflects not just on Valentine but also himself as a GM and on the players as well.
The Red Sox have won two straight, and they're back at .500. They are merely four games out of the second Wild Card spot, and they've got the second-best run differential among the current Wild Card contenders. Yes, they have to play better than they've played, and it's possible that a new manager would give the Sox a good jolt. But they just fired their manager. One hallmark of bad organizations? Changing managers willy-nilly. Management seems to believe that a) Valentine hasn't done a bad job, and b) any benefits from firing Valentine would be balanced, or more than balanced, by the detrimental effects of such rank instability.