In a post-game interview after Boston’s loss in Baltimore on Tuesday, Pedroia acknowledged that he was among a group of players who met with ownership in New York last month to discuss the team’s struggles this season. But Pedroia said he does not believe Valentine should be fired, instead, blaming the team’s sub-standard season to date on the players on the field.
“I don’t think Bobby should be fired,” Pedroia said (via WEEI’s Rob Bradford). “Listen, we haven’t played well. I mean that’s the bottom line. I’m not going to blame anything on Bobby, and I don’t think anyone else is. It’s on the players. Last year wasn’t on [Terry Francona]. I know he took it hard. We all did. I mean, geez. It’s on the players.”
Yahoo! Sports published an extensive report from Jeff Passan Tuesday in which three anonymous sources said Pedroia and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez “blasted” Valentine in a July 26 meeting with owners John Henry and Larry Lucchino. The report acknowledged that several players believe “Valentine is being scapegoated unfairly to divert attention from mediocre performances by star players,” but many of those players aired frustrations about Valentine’s managerial style and specific incidents in which he failed to show respect to some of the teams biggest stars.
The tipping point may have been a July 22 game in which Valentine left starter Jon Lester in against the Blue Jays after he surrendered nine runs in the first two innings.
Pedroia confirmed the July 26 meeting with ownership.
“I’ll be honest with everybody,” Pedroia said. “We had a meeting in New York. The coaches had a meeting. Bobby had a meeting. We all had a meeting. Basically, when I spoke, I said we all need to do better. That includes the owners, Bobby, coaches, especially the players.
“I had one problem with Bobby earlier in the year and I went into his office and talked to him like a man. He talked to me like a man. We’ve been great, had a great relationship. I’ll go out there and play for him any day of the week. I’m playing for all my teammates.”
Valentine also confirmed the meeting, but declined to elaborate.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington confirmed the meeting to Yahoo! Sports, saying “the intent of the meeting was to provide a forum for people to express whatever frustration needed to be expressed at a time during the season when things were not going exactly the way we wanted to on the field in the hopes that we could put whatever issues were there aside and focus on playing games the rest of the season.”
After an abysmal start to the year, the Red Sox remain 12 1/2 games out of first place in the American League East. Their 57-60 record has them in sixth place in the Wild Card standings.
Is this officially a lost season for the Sox? And what are the chances Valentine is back in the dugout next spring?