Friday, September 07, 2012

What People are Missing About the Bobby Valentine Hiring

I saw what the Bobby Valentine hiring by the Red Sox was from the very start. It was not a bad hire at all as some pundits and personalities now claim. Bobby Valentine has completely succeeded for the purpose for which he was hired.

Let me explain. But first let me get a little geeky.

In the book (and movie) Dune - Baron Harkonnen first sends his nephew the Beast Rabban in to rule the desert planet Arrakis after the defeat and overthrow of the popular Duke Leto Atreides. However, Baron Harkonnen's real goal is to have Rabban crush the will of the people on Arrakis so that when he has his favorite nephew - Feyd-Rautha (played by Sting in the first Dune movie) replace Rabban - Feyd-Rautha will be hailed as a savior.

In the Red Sox example - Bobby Valentine is the Beast Rabban.

If you recall - originally the new Red Sox ownership had planned to make Billy Beane their GM in charge of baseball operations. There is no way that Beane would have tolerated any interference in baseball operations by Larry Lucchino. But at the last minute Beane turned the Sox down and Theo Epstein became GM. Now Theo had no choice but to tolerate interference from Lucchino and his minions because Epstein held much less power in the organization and because Lucchino was his "mentor".

I am convinced that it was the interference of Lucchino and his ilk that undermined Terry Francona and cost him his job and who also eventually caused Their to cry "enough!" and ask for exile to the Cubs.

Red Sox principal owner John Henry is no dummy (you don't get to be a billionaire by being stupid). He knew what was happening but what to do about it? Simple - you give Lucchino enough rope to hang himself. You let Lucchino hand-pick Bobby Valentine as the new manager but you saddle Valentine with enough handicaps that failure is all-but guaranteed. Don't let Valentine pick his own coaches and give him a contract that emphasizes Bobby V's weak position to anyone paying attention.

With the failure almost complete - John Henry can turn to Lucchino and order no more interference in baseball operations and then bring in a likable manager like John Farrell or DeMarco Hale (who will look like Sting compared to Valentine's Sideshow Bob act). The new manager also doesn't have to bear the burden of being compared to the well-loved Terry Francona. They just have to be better than the comical Bobby Valentine.

Just as it was planned.