Reporting Steve Burton
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“It’s a big decision. It’s one of the biggest decisions you can make for the franchise, so it’s very important to get it right,” Henry said after the team introduced Valentine on Thursday. “We just wanted to make sure we had the right man, and we feel we have the right man at the right time, and we’re very excited about it.”
Valentine spent the last several years managing in Japan and serving as an analyst for ESPN, but has not managed in the major leagues since 2002 with the Mets. He also managed the Rangers from 1985-1992.
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He takes over for Terry Francona, who parted ways with the team after the Red Sox went 7-20 to finish the season and missed the playoffs despite boasting one of the most talented rosters in baseball.
“So, we’re a team that’s really ready to win. We should have won it last year. We’re ready to win,” said Henry. “We needed a manager who could come in, hit the ground running, and who is passionate, bright, intelligent, and he just fit the bill for us.”
Valentine has been known to have a bit of an edge, but Henry believes that won’t clash with the front office.
“We like that (edge),” Henry said of Valentine. “I think this is going to work.”
The 61-year-old may need some of that edge when dealing with the players. Allegations of players drinking and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse dogged the Red Sox as many wondered how a team so talented could accomplish so little.
“Well, I think all of that, from my perspective, was overblown. To what degree? We really don’t know,” said Henry. “He’s going to be talking to the players. He’s going to look into that element, and ask about it, and get to the bottom of it. I have tremendous faith that he’ll do what’s necessary moving forward.”