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

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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.

Jesus Luzardo beats Marlins in salary arbitration

Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Pitcher Jesus Luzardo became the second player in two days to beat the Miami Marlins in salary arbitration and was awarded $2.45 million.

Miami had argued for $2.1 million during a hearing Thursday before a panel of John Stout, Melinda Gordon and Richard Bloch.

AL batting champion Luis Arraez, an All-Star infielder acquired by the Marlins from Minnesota last month, was awarded a $6.1 million salary on Thursday rather than the team’s $5 million figure.

Luzardo, a 25-year-old left-hander, was 4-7 with a 3.32 ERA in 18 starts last year, striking out 120 and walking 35 in 100 1/3 innings. He is 13-18 with a 3.59 ERA in 45 starts and 16 relief appearances over four big league seasons.

Luzardo made $715,000 last season and was eligible for arbitration for the first time. He can become a free agent after the 2026 season.

Players have won two of three decisions this year, with about 20 more scheduled for hearings.

Seattle defeated Diego Castillo in the first decision this year on Wednesday, and the relief pitcher will get a raise to $2.95 million rather than his request of $3,225,000.

A decision is being held for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe, whose case was argued Monday.