As you may have heard, Bobby Valentine is the perceived front runner for the Red Sox managerial job, with MLB trade rumors currently citing 70 % of respondents polled as believing he will get the job. Valentine’s presence at the top of the list has understandly produced a collective "What the what" from baseball analysts and Red Sox fans alike. Valentine is energetic, experienced and highly likable, but progressive, he is not.
As a baseball pundit, Valentine has lamented strategies based on OBP and other such "advanced" metrics. He coached some excellent Mets teams, but also oversaw some lousy clubs with both
Why would the Boston Red Sox, an organization known for a devotion of statistical analysis and a progressive approach to the game, go miles out of their way to hire a manger who is neither a calm, steadying, hand nor a devotee to the type of strategies that dominate the organization? It appears that CEO Larry Lucchino is the driving force behind Valentine’s candidacy. Lucchino has been the most outspoken and controversial of
Two things occur to me as possible reasons. First, Bobby Valentine is not Terry Francona. Francona was a calm helmsman to the last. He would express frustration at times, but he rarely ever lost his cool. He would argue calls with more a sense of obligation than indignation. Valentine will certainly add fire to the dugout, whether it is aimed at opponents, umpires, his own players or the front office will be a daily uncertainty. Whether the recent controversies centering on fried chicken and beer or the team’s lackadaisical final month’s performance has sparked this managerial pyrotechnical fascination, this logical has disaster written all over it.
The only other reason I can see for the
*Only the 12 seasons in which Valentine was the manager of a team for the full season are counted here
Pythagorean record is far from a perfect reflection of a team’s true talent and wins above the Pythagorean record cannot necessarily be ascribed to the manager’s skill. However, it is pretty easy to understand how this type of continued success would catch the eye. In Francona’s 8 seasons as manager his teams were 9 total wins above the projected record. Compared to Valentine’s 12 seasons and 27 wins above Pythagoras, Tito appears to have less successfully trumped the realities of runs scored against runs allowed.
In their true effect on wins and losses, the best and worse managers are separated by a very thin margin. Trying to determine a skipper’s effect on his team’s record is net to impossible. The relationship between real wins and Pythagorean wins is almost certainly too blunt a tool for that job. However, his team’s consistent ability to win more than the numbers say they should is something you could easily get hooked on. It is possible Lucchino and others in the
Harping on this bizarre statistically blurb could have led the