Look, the team is 10 games into the season. 10 games.
Valentine lost his leadoff hitter and CF. He doesn't have his starting LF. He's stuck with a career platoon player at SS. He has a platoon at every outfield position because of injuries and the Josh Reddick trade. He lost his closer. He's filling the gaps with Doubront and Bard in the 4/5 roles, and he's doing his best to get Lester, Beckett, and Buchholz on-track after last season's demise (and Buch's back injury). He's integrating an almost entirely new bullpen, one which right off the bat pitched pretty horribly.
As a manager, a new manager managing new players he's never managed before, Valentine needs to see what he has. He needs to see which guys can bat leadoff. He needs to see how pitchers handle certain situations. He needs to see how guys respond to certain situations, like bunting, hit-and-runs, situational fielding moves, changes in the batting order, relief roles, etc. It's a long season, and it's more important for later in the season that he knows what his players can and cannot handle. This isn't the 2011 Red Sox or the 2010 Red Sox. This isn't the 'on paper these guys are awesome' Red Sox. This is the real-life 2012 Red Sox, and Valentine needs to see what he has to work with.
You guys want to know why Valentine threw Justin Thomas in that pressure situation the other day against the Rays? Because he only has two lefties in the pen and Morales pitched the previous two days. What's Valentine supposed to do - only pitch Morales (and run him into the ground before summer)? He gave Thomas a chance, and you know what? Thomas responded with 1 1/3 innings, 1 hit, and 1 K. Oh, and he got the team out of that pressure situation without giving up any runs, keeping it a one run game. Maybe Thomas' confidence is up a bit now and he'll respond similarly next time he's called upon. Maybe it was a bit of luck and Thomas won't be on the team in two months. Either way, Valentine made a decision and it worked this time. When he used Thomas against the Jays, the team lost. Well, that's baseball. If Thomas is sitting in the pen occupying a roster spot, then Valentine needs to know that he can trust him and use him. So, he needs to give him opportunities to prove himself. Better to do that now than in August.
Yes, his Youk comment was unnecessary and, to some, baffling. But, if you read the entire transcript, he obviously meant no ill-will toward Youk and spent almost all his breath complimenting the man. The comment was played out by the media because A) the media is frantically digging for hot (i.e. controversial) stories coming out of this ball club, B) the media needs to fill its 24/7 cycle, and C) the Boston media can be kind of insane (and so can we fans!). As Francona himself said, "The issue likely would fly under the radar in other cities, but in Boston, it's a big deal." Can Valentine learn to better choose his words? Absolutely. Is He Billy Martin or Ozzie Guillen? No.
Is Valentine the manager fans wanted? Not really. Did the players clamor to get him? Doesn't seem so. I'm neither a supporter nor a detractor of the man. He's only ten games into his first season.
Give the guy a break and give the 'Fire him!' and 'Is he trying to get himself fired?' nonsense a rest.
...Or, at least wait until we're a month into the season.