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Red Sox Failed Mutiny Reflects Poorly on Players, Not Valentine


Over at Hardball Talk today, Matthew Pouliot offered his nomination for the next Red Sox manager:

"Terry Francona lost the Red Sox clubhouse. Bobby Valentine never had it in the first place. What the Red Sox seem to want is one of their own running the team, and who is more one of their own than The Captain, Jason Varitek?"

Despite the news leaking out about a failed mutiny lead by first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, the Red Sox have offered no indication that they are looking beyond Bobby Valentine as their skipper, at least through the end of the season. Of course, if the Sox players decide to put out less effort than they have, who knows what could happen. I’m certainly not suggesting a group of respected professional ballplayers would tank a season for any reason, but if they are upset enough with Valentine to push for a meeting with ownership, who knows what avenues they might explore now that their initial strategy has failed.

The Red Sox obviously haven’t lived up to anyone’s expectations of them this year. Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and Clay Buchholz have seemingly taken turns as the most disappointing starter of the week. They’ve dealt with injuries that limited Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury to just a handful of games and now that those two are back, the club has lost David Ortiz for an extended period and Will Middlebrooks for the season. Is any of that really Valentine’s fault?

The Red Sox had a tremendous manager in Terry Francona and players walked all over him until the front office felt the need to make a move. If Dustin Pedroia, Gonzalez, and Beckett are offended that John Henry and company felt the team needed more discipline, their childish behavior this season is doing nothing to make anyone think ownership was wrong.

I have a great deal of respect for Jason Varitek and I’m certain he’d made an outstanding manager someday. But this club seems filled with players who have decided that they will put out effort only when they choose to do so and as talented as they are, I wouldn’t wish that situation on any manager.

The bottom line here is that while it may be easier to change the manager than to overturn the roster, the toxic culture within the Boston clubhouse doesn’t figure to change. Ownership decided the players had stopped playing for Francona, a consummate player’s manager. They team has shown no desire to play for Valentine, a classic disciplinarian. Sounds to me like the problem lie in the clubhouse and not in the manager’s office.

For more on the Red Sox, visit BoSox Injection.

John Parent is the Senior Director of Human Resources for the FanSided Network. He can be reached at john.parent@fansided.com or via Twitter @JohnJParent.