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Welcome to Boston, Bobby Valentine!

The nearly two-month odyssey to select Terry Francona’s successor isfinally over.

The nearly two-month odyssey to select Terry Francona’s successor is finally over.

Bobby Valentine, a former analyst for ESPN, was hired last night as the 45th manager of the Boston Red Sox. Since Valentine was reportedly in Japan, according to ESPN, there is no signed contract but the two sides have a verbal agreement. A press conference to introduce the 61-year-old Valentine is expected to happen on Thursday afternoon.

Valentine hasn’t managed in the major leagues since 2002, but spent parts of 15 seasons with the Rangers and Mets. He last managed professionally in 2009, in Japan, where he clashed with management and was eventually fired. His career MLB managerial record is 1,117-1,072 (.510 win percentage), while leading the Mets to the NLCS in 1999 and then the World Series in 2000. He had been serving as a TV analyst for ESPN over the past two seasons.

Earlier this week, Sox GM Ben Cherington whittled the search down to two candidates: Valentine and Tigers third-base coach Gene Lamont. Cherington said that he wanted to make a decision before Monday, when baseball’s winter meetings begin. This is Cherington’s first major move as GM, after he replaced Theo Epstein.