The central dynamic in the Bobby Valentine/Red Sox thing is that ownership wants him and is going to get him and GM Ben Cherington has to get cool with that. To that end, Valentine interviewed with Cherington yesterday. The New York Times has a story about it. My favorite part:
Cherington was said in some news media reports to initially have favored Dale Sveum … But according to one of several people in baseball canvassed by Cherington for a report on Valentine, he is actually intrigued by Valentine and not opposed to hiring him.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s the “actually” that gets me there. I know the reporter put that in there, but it seems meaningful. Like, there’s some off the record stuff which would suggest that Cherington hates this but — no, really — he actually, if you can possibly believe it, likes Valentine. Or is at least intrigued which comes before liking. Maybe he could like him. Possibly.
Yes, that’s a total over-read. And for all of the focus on this now, Bobby Valentine is a good manager and there’s every chance he’ll be good for the Red Sox. And even if he’s not the best fit for this job, let’s be honest here and remember that a manger’s impact is often wildly overstated. Short of handing the job to Maury Wills or something, the world will not end no matter who the Red Sox hire.
But I still can’t shake the idea that the front office imposing Valentine on Cherington like this is bad news. Maybe this happened way more with Theo Epstein’s major decisions than we realize, but it just seems unhealthy for Cherington’s first real decision as general manager to be taken away from him like this.
In something of a surprising move, the Chicago Cubs fired their pitching coach, Chris Bosio on Saturday. Bosio had held the job since the 2011-12 offseason.
The Cubs made the NLCS this year, but were nowhere as near the formidable as their 2016 World Series champion iteration. While there were several reasons for that, one was that the pitching staff, which featured multiple, better-than-expected performances in 2016, but took a step back in 2017. Some of that was personnel — Joe Maddon did not have Aroldis Chapman to call on in the postseason like he did last year — and a lot of that was mere regression from veterans like Jon Lester and John Lackey. A lot of it had to do with a much higher walk rate this year than in the past.
Still, there was no chatter during the season or at the time of the Cubs’ playoff exit the other day that Bosio might be a fall guy. The Chicago Tribune reports that it was Joe Maddon’s call and that he had grown displeased with Bosio. The Tribune report suggests that Cubs pitchers will be displeased with the move as they were devoted to Bosio. Coaches, of course, come and go, so I suspect they’ll get over it.
Whatever the case, Bosio likely won’t say unemployed for long. He is widely credited with helping Jake Arrieta transform from a project to an ace and for the considerable and the somewhat unexpectedly successful development of Kyle Hendricks. The Tribune suggests that he’d be a good fit in Minnesota, where his former teammate Paul Molitor is in search of a new pitching coach.
There are several intriguing coaches available at the moment, most notably Mike Maddux, who has been the Nationals pitching coach but whose status is now in flux given the firing of Dusty Baker. Maddux’s brother Greg, of course, is a spring training pitching instructor for the Cubs. The Tribune adds that Maddon may look to his old Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey or, possibly, even recently fired Red Sox manager John Farrell, who made his bones as a pitching coach.