Don't worry, there won't be an ongoing Bobby Valentine soap opera the rest of 2012, or next season. He's no longer the manager of the Red Sox, so there likely won't be much in the way of Red Sox-related Valentine news to bring. But, on Tuesday, the same day John Farrell was introduced as his replacement, Valentine went on NBC with Bob Costas to talk about the train wreck of a season.
For the most part, it was a harmless affair. Valentine publicly shouldered much of the blame, putting it on himself and his personality. That's fair, especially since he didn't really have to do so. But oddly, he made a point of singling out David Ortiz for a lack of effort, due to his Achilles injury. Let Bobby tell you the story:
"David Ortiz came back after spending about six weeks on the disabled list after we thought it would be just a week. He got a couple of hits his first two times up, drove in a couple of runs, we were off to the races, and then he realized that this trade meant we were not going to run this race and not even finish this race properly. He decided not to play anymore. I think at that time it was all downhill from there."
Apparently, this would mean that Ortiz's coming up short and limping after one of those hits was for show, and not a legitimate re-aggravation of the injury. Valentine was the manager, and he knows some things others may not -- let's give him that much credit. But it's kind of an odd statement to make, considering that, just a few days later, Ortiz received a platelet-rich plasma injection in order to give him a chance to return in 2012. This was an unnecessary procedure, in the sense Ortiz could have just shut it down and received shock treatment. Instead, he opted to go the PRP route first, with shockwave treatment in the off-season. Details:
David Ortiz was placed on the disabled list again on Monday after aggravating his injured Achilles in a one-game return. Ortiz doesn't want to be shut down for the season, but the Red Sox don't want to risk exacerbating the injury. The two parties met in the middle, with Ortiz receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection in the damaged area on Monday. If the injection does its job, Ortiz can return before the year is out, but if not, Boston will continue to rest the free agent slugger, who is likely to be re-signed.--snip--
Ortiz was told he has a 60-70 percent chance of returning in 2012 after receiving the PRP injection, but that beats the absolute zero that shockwave treatment would allow. For shockwave treatment, Ortiz would have missed the rest of the year before he had accumulated the rest necessary for the procedure to properly take. He'll still go through with that process in the off-season, when there is no shortage of four-to-five week stretches, but to do so now would have meant ending his 2012 already; PRP allows him to avoid that for now.
Was the PRP injection a show, too? Did the Red Sox actually have to force Ortiz to do this? Unlikely, on both counts. If anything, Boston's desire to re-sign Ortiz would have meant that they wanted him to rest. Ortiz, being Ortiz and a baseball player, would likely want to play. Could he have quit in his desire to come back somewhere down the line, not wanting to risk further injury once it turned out the PRP injection didn't do what it needed to? It's possible, but that's not quitting, so much as admitting defeat. And, Valentine is accusing Ortiz of essentially quitting mid-game, hours after the trade.
Ben Cherington, who is probably happy to not have to clean up any of these messes in the very near future, responded to ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes on the issue:
"I wouldn't be trying to re-sign him if I had any concern about David's commitment to baseball or to the Red Sox," Cherington said. "During a trying year, David was a leader for us on and off the field. Unfortunately, an Achilles injury cut his season short. It was a tough break in a season full of tough breaks for us."
And that statement, folks, hopefully marks the official end of this short-lived era.