When a team goes 69-93 in a given season there are many factors that go into the poor record. This was the case for the 2012 Red Sox and one of those factors was manager Bobby Valentine. Valentine never seemed to have the backing of his team from day one and was never able to get into a comfort zone at any point during the season.
Valentine was fired a day after the season came to an end, and then about a month later Blue Jays manager John Farrell returned to Boston (where he was the pitching coach for four seasons) to become the 45th manager in Red Sox history.
“A lot of players had a lot of issues with our manager last year,” David Ortiz said earlier this spring. “We have a new manager, a guy that’s familiar with the organization, a guy that we’ve pretty much grown up around. … I’m pretty sure that everyone is looking at that as a positive move. And now it’s a like a fresh start. We’re going back to basics with a manager like John.”
The Red Sox made a number of acquisitions this offseason, but none may be bigger than the addition of Farrell, who will be a familiar face; someone the players can respect, trust and are able to openly communicate with.
Farrell immediately acknowledged just how important trust will be.
“The most important thing is that we earn the trust of one another inside the clubhouse first,” Farrell said a few weeks back. “And going from there is the style of play that people can identify with this group as a team, and [be] confident that the makeup of the group initially will put ourselves in a position to do that.”
One of the biggest issues in 2012 was the pitching staff, and who better than Farrell to come in and look to turn things around? Farrell was the one who groomed Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz into All-Star -level hurlers in his time with the team in the late 2000’s, so obviously he has an inside track of getting them back on track.
Position players like Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz saw what Farrell can bring to the table and are familiar to his style. It all starts with those two vets and if they are on board and trust their manager, a message of "team" will likely trickle on down to the rest of the squad.
While Valentine cannot be blamed entirely for the team winning just 69 games, especially when the players are the ones on the field, there were several incidents throughout the year in which communication channels were broken.
As the Red Sox look to turn the page and begin a new chapter with a new attitude and culture, bringing in a manger the team is familiar with and respects could very well be the best move off the offseason.
Follow Metro Boston Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @hannable84