When word spread that former New York Mets manager and current ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine was going to speak with the Boston Red Sox about their managerial opening, the reaction was similar to the feelings about his tenure in Queens: split.
Either he brought the perfect amount of big market experience needed for Beantown or "smartest guy in the room" approach would be throwing gasoline on the fire that was the 2011 Red Sox season. No in between.
To me, there shouldn't even be a debate. If Valentine is willing to take on the task, he should immediately jump to the top of the Boston wish list. Very simply there are three people that can provide the Red Sox and their fans all they need to know about the kind of manager they would be getting.
Those people are Benny Agbayani, Jay Payton and Timo Perez.
That trio was the starting outfield that Valentine made it to the World Series with in 2000.
You can pick any three outfielders from the Red Sox roster that collapsed down the stretch this season and you won't be able to come up with a weaker combination. In fact, you would have a hard time doing that with any team that sniffed the playoffs in the final two months of the season.
The Mets had more than that weak outfield, but it was the best example of what Valentine brings to the table. No matter what he's given, he will get the very last bit of baseball out of every single player.
Last season the Red Sox had four hitters in the top 30 of OPS: Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia. The 2000 Mets (who still played in the steroid era) would have had one: Mike Piazza. Boston won 90 games. That Mets team won 94.
Stop for a minute to think about why you feel this isn't a perfect fit and odds are the answer sounds something like "He's so arrogant!". There's no doubt he is, no one is going to argue that, but that didn't stop Tony La Russa from getting the job done last season in St. Louis.
It's time for a bit of an attitude change in Boston and it can come in the form of a kid from Stamford, CT.