Roundup: What the Red Sox said about firing Bobby Valentine
|10.05.12 at 12:19 pm ET|
After the Red Sox announced their decision to fire Bobby Valentine after one season on the job, CEO/president Larry Lucchino and GM Ben Cherington met with a number of media outlets (in lieu of a press conference) to explain the course of action.
Here is a compilation of highlights from the sessions.
ON WHY THE CHANGE WAS MADE
Cherington on the need “to really have a reset and move forward” to WEEI.com: ‘The season has not gone well by any measure. As I said yesterday, that’s on all of us. I put myself right in the middle of that. There were a lot of things that were contributing factors to our team disappointment. It’s really about moving forward as we started to look at next year and the process of rebuilding the Red Sox next year and beyond, we also have to look at the manager’s role in that. We came to a point where we felt in order to really have a reset and move forward and have a fresh start, that required a change in manager. There will be other changes, too. That required a change in the manager’s spot. Bobby was put in a difficult spot this year, some things working against him. Dealt with adversity pretty much from the start. By no means is this decision in any way trying to assign responsibility on him for what we all admit was an organizational failure. We need to move forward and start to rebuild a team and a culture and a clubhouse. We felt a change in manager was a necessary part of that.’
Lucchino on standings and the reset button to WEEI.com: ‘Look at the final record and our place in the standings. That speaks for itself. Beyond that, we’re not going to get into this issue or that issue, this grievance or that grievance. We don’t necessarily feel that’s necessary or appropriate to do any of that. As Ben said, we pressed a reset button. We’re not going to get into what he did right and what he did wrong. We’re not going to go into that dissection of the year. We felt change was a better way to go forward and lead us where we want to be as a franchise.’
Lucchino to the Providence Journal on why the change wasn’t made midseason: ‘One, we wanted to have a full body of work from an entire season. Second, we thought that would be fair to Bobby Valentine. Third, we wanted to quiet the chatter going on around it. We thought if we set a time at the end of the season to readdress it, that would quiet the masses. All of those things happened. It gave us time to consider more data, more results, and discuss it as we did right toward the end of the season because we had a date in our mind at the conclusion of the season.”
Lucchino to the Boston Globe on what had changed since the decision to hire Valentine: “We thought the decision was a sensible, rational one last year and that what we were looking for at the time seemed to be what Bobby Valentine presented. But life is a motion picture, not a still photograph. Things change along the way.”
Lucchino to ESPNBoston.com on whether hiring Valentine represents a mistake: ‘Just because it didn’t work out this year, given the way circumstances played out and adverse things occurred, it does not mean there was a flaw in the selection process necessarily. I do think we would have been feeling more pleased if we selected a manager who would be here for years to come, but we made this choice in good faith and Bobby worked very hard this year under adverse circumstances. It’s unfortunate that he will not be here in future years, but he leaves with our respect and admiration and our gratitude.’
ON LAST YEAR’S SEARCH PROCESS
Lucchino to WEEI.com on the significance of mistakes in the last search process: ‘If you’re going to look at factors that contributed to the dismal season of the Boston Red Sox in 2012, the nature of the managerial search in November of 2011 is pretty far down the list if it’s even on the list at all.’
Cherington declined to address a Providence Journal on whether the lengthy hiring process negatively impacted Valentine’s assembly of a coaching staff.
Lucchino to the Globe on why he viewed experience as necessary in the last search: “We thought wrongly, as it turned out, that we were on the verge of an exceptional season and had the core nucleus of a great team and needed somebody who could manage that kind of team. ‘¦ Speaking personally, it has opened my eyes.”
Lucchino on his role in last year’s search to NESN.com: “I and [owner] John Henry, wanted the list of possibilities to include Bobby — and made that suggestion to Ben that we interview him and talk to him and see if there was a fit for him. ‘¦ But the notion that somehow this was a unilateral decision flies in the face of how we operate around here. It’s not the way we’ve operated for the first decade of our existence. In that decade, we’ve averaged more than 92 wins plus did a lot of wonderful things here at Fenway Park. So I think our system of decision-making on the highest levels, on the most important decisions and policies have worked quite well over time. … I feel some responsibility for the selection of Bobby. As I said a minute ago, I’m a supporter and an advocate. I was an advocate for him, but during the course of this year, so many factors contributed to it.”
ON THE NEXT MANAGERIAL SEARCH
Cherington to WEEI.com on why this search may focus on different traits than last year’s: “The circumstances of the team are different. We’re in a different position now than we were last fall. The roster looks different. As we rebuild that roster, we need to find someone who can help us build a culture that’s necessary to allow players to flourish, and for us ultimately to win games. It may be that by virtue of us being in a different spot from a roster standpoint that we could consider different types of candidates. We haven’t gotten into that yet. We’re not prepared to discuss candidates. We’ll spend the next several days doing that.”
Cherington to the Providence Journal on characteristics important in this search: “I sort of see it as a matrix. Everyone has a combination of attributes with strengths in different areas. There’s no type, there’s no resume, there’s no particular background. There’s just the right person. The right person for the Red Sox for 2013 and beyond is not necessarily the right person for someone else and may not have been the right person for us five years ago. We need to find out who that person is to help build some stability in that office and find somebody who can work in a collaborative way with ownership, myself, baseball ops, the players, to push this organization forward and restore it to where it should be.”
Ben Cherington told the Boston Globe that Jason Varitek will join other baseball operations department members (Cherington, assistant GMs Mike Hazen and Brian O’Halloran, VP Allard Baird) in the forthcoming managerial search: “I want to get Tek’s voice involved and get his advice on it.’
Cherington to WEEI.com: The Red Sox have not contacted any teams to set up interviews with candidates.
Lucchino to WEEI.com on timetables for the next search: “The one thing we’ve learned is that the last two times we’ve done managerial searches, we’ve hired Terry Francona in the first week of December and hired Bobby Valentine in the first week of December. We’re not prepared to put any deadline or timetable to it. We certainly hope to get it done sooner than that.”
ON THE DYNAMICS BETWEEN LUCCHINO AND CHERINGTON ‘ BOTH IN LAST YEAR’S SEARCH PROCESS AND MORE BROADLY
Cherington to the Herald on the need for collaboration between the GM and ownership: ‘I’ll spearhead the process and it will be collaborative as it was last year. I think it’s important that, whoever the manager is, it’s important that he has the support of ownership and myself. That’s what gives the manager the best chance to succeed, aside from his own skills and qualities he brings. So, building consensus around a person is important, and that’s what we’ll look to do. So, I’ll run the search on the ground level with baseball ops, and we’ll identify what we think are candidates and try to build consensus around one. We just need to find the right person. Because we made this change a year in, it’s particularly important that we find the right person so we can build some stability in that office.’
Lucchino on Cherington to the Providence Journal: “Our franchise is in very good hands. We’ve got one of the hardest-working guys in baseball with excellent judgment.”
Cherington on Lucchino and Sox owners to the Providence Journal: “My relationship [with ownership] is very good; it’s productive. We’ve worked together on every possible issue, and we’ve agreed on some and disagreed on some. We’ll move forward and continue to work together. I enjoy where I work, and the ownership of this team is one of its strongest assets. It’s a big part of the reason why the Red Sox will be back.”
ON THE SEASON’S FAILURE AND THE ABILITY TO COMPETE GOING FORWARD
Lucchino to MLB.com on this year’s last-place finish: “I will mention that in the first 10 years we were here under this John Henry and Tom Werner ownership, we have averaged over 92 wins a year for 10 years and none of us is smart enough of skillful enough to keep that going indefinitely. … This is an ebb and flow, cyclical kind of business. We just experienced that in full measure.”
Lucchino to WEEI.com on whether the Sox can contend next year: “Things have broken and we’re going to fix them. It’s nearly impossible to put a precise timetable on that. There’s too many factors and too many variables and too many uncertainties. We know that the team needs to be better next year, pointed in the right direction, doing the right things. We think it will. That’s as far as I will go to kind of hazard a timeline. This is not some 10-year rebuilding process, as Fenway Park was, but we can answer that question better after a winter of reconstruction.”
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