Bobby Valentine is a convenient scapegoat, but he’s not what’s ailin’ the Sox

34 Comments

Well, not totally anyway. He has his share of the blame — some odd bullpen choices in the past week for one — but the “Bobby V has killed the Red Sox” stuff is probably out of hand at the moment. And, as Rob Bradford notes, the reason is pretty understandable. It’s Boston, and this is what Boston does:

So, Valentine continues to offer up fodder for those trying to suggest he is the be-all, end-all for this Red Sox start. It’s a lay-up for some, just like the beer and the chicken were in October. Symbolism. People love symbolism …   But what the reality should do is offer a reminder there are far more important issues for the Red Sox to deal with than the manager making verbal missteps.

The problems: the bullpen, obviously. It’s not been all about Valentine’s late hook, it’s been about putrid performances. Terry Francona wouldn’t have had any better options to go to during that meltdown on Saturday than Valentine did. Which is why the Sox are now gonna dabble with Daniel Bard back in the pen, at least in the short term.

The rotation has been pretty horrifying too. As have the injuries. As have Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis. As have injuries, most notably to Jacoby Ellsbury.

The team has one real structural problem — the pen — a lot of terrible early performances that are likely to improve and some injuries, which everyone goes through from time to time.  Yeah, their manager has been sub-optimal, but he’s not the whole story. And for as much fun as it is to talk about him, it’s probably time we let up on Bobby V.

Kris Medlen retires from baseball

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Diamondbacks right-hander Kris Medlen has announced his retirement from baseball, writes Zach Buchanan of The Athletic. According to a team official, Medlen forewent his scheduled start for Triple-A Reno on Saturday. The Diamondbacks have yet to officially confirm the report.

The 32-year-old righty inked a minor league deal with Arizona prior to the 2018 season and was eventually recalled for a spot start in early May. He lasted four innings on seven runs, four walks and four strikeouts in his first and only loss of the year. Things didn’t go any smoother in Triple-A, where he went 0-5 in seven starts with a 5.03 ERA, 4.0 BB/9 and 7.7 SO/9 across 34 innings.

Medlen will hang up his cleats after completing an eight-year track in the majors with the Braves, Royals and Diamondbacks. He delivered his strongest performance in Atlanta during the 2012 season, posting a 10-1 record in 12 starts and delivering a cumulative 1.57 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 7.8 SO/9 across 138 innings out of the rotation and bullpen. Two Tommy John surgeries took their toll on Medlen, however, limiting his effectiveness off the mound and preventing him from duplicating those career-high numbers in back-to-back stints with the Royals and D-backs. Notwithstanding his post-recovery struggles, the veteran righty will top off his career with a respectable 3.33 ERA and 9.1 fWAR, two complete games, and three playoff runs — including a World Series championship with the 2015 Royals.