Over the past few days a huge uproar has engulfed the Boston Red Sox, after a report on Yahoo! Sports claimed several of the team’s players had complained about manager Bobby Valentine to the team’s owners. Jeff Passan’s report said players blasted Valentine to owners John Henry and Larry Lucchino in a heated meeting after a text message was sent by a group of frustrated players.
Now Henry has vehemently denied that report and has publicly backed his team’s manager. He also wrote an email to media outlets that confirmed the meeting took place but denied that anyone took the position that Valentine should be replaced.
Passan’s report claimed Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia had led the push to oust Valentine. On Tuesday night, Pedroia denied that, claiming that the team’s struggling is the fault of the players. Gonzalez agreed with that sentiment on Wednesday.
Gonzalez had the following to say about the incident and the Yahoo! article:
“The source is inaccurate. He says that I was animated and one of the most vocal guys in the meeting and that’s false. If somebody’s going to try to be an unnamed source, they better be right with what they say, because this is putting our integrity and everyone about us out there and that’s not fair.”
Henry claims he called the meeting and it was similar to the occasional roundtable meetings he has hosted during his tenure as the team’s owner.
The Red Sox are currently 57-61 after a 5-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday night. To any outside observers the problem with the team is obvious: bad contracts given to unreliable players.
I love Adrian Gonzalez, but I don’t believe he’s worth $20 million a season. He can be one of the best hitters in baseball, but he’s never been the kind of guy who can step up when needed and be a leader.
Meanwhile, a huge chunk of the team’s payroll is also being given to Carl Crawford who hasn’t done anything since signing a seven-year, $142 million contract with the team. Former ace Josh Beckett is now wildly inconsistent, and Jacoby Ellsbury (.270, one home run, 11 RBI) and Pedroia (.280, nine home runs, 43 RBI) are having down years as well. Both Ellsbury and Pedroia have struggled with injuries but neither guy has gotten it going when healthy.
There is far more wrong with the Boston Red Sox than just Bobby Valentine. The team has gotten away from building with the kind of scrappy players it won championships with in 2004 and 2007. Instead, the Sox have signed big-name, big-contract guys and the results are what we’ve seen on the field this year.