“You’re John Henry” and you worked out a Gentleman’s Agreement with Mr. Valetine, privately


You’re John W. Henry and you are driven by a desire to minimize chaos; but you made a big mistake:  you let your CEO, “Richelieu” Lucchino, talk you into hiring “Mr. Excitement,” “Blabby” Valentine, to bring order to your team.

You rationally concluded it was time and that you were the one, who needed have a man-to-man talk with Mr. Valentine to reach a “gentleman’s agreement” for the most-graceful-possible landing for your team’s Kamikaze death spiral.

You’re John W. Henry and you realized that Bobby was a very bad fit for the team and his only fault was an over-abundance of self-confidence that allowed him to imagine that he was the one manager on the planet who could “get things under control” with some Old School discipline.

The entire scheme was hatched in the legal mind of your CEO, Mr. Lucchino, who has an over-inflated confidence in his ability to “run a team.”  His biggest accomplishment was starting the trend toward eschewing “multi-purpose,” cement toilet bowl stadiums for baseball-only “ballparks” with the creation of Oriole Park.  You realize now that, his plan to hire Bobby to straighten out your team was Mr. Lucchino’s biggest mistake.

You’re John W. Henry and you realized that it was time to rebalance the management roles on your Red Sox; Mr. Lucchino will return to his Business box on the flowchart and Mr. Cherington will be allowed to be a real General Manager; you and the other owner, Mr. Lerner, the stake holders, the employers, will need to provide more supervision of the management.

You’re John W. Henry and you have great respect for Mr. Valentine’s intellect and baseball experience and you deem it unfortunate that he let Mr. Lucchino talk him into attempting to turn the “Impossible Team” into a reprise of the “Impossible Dream.”

So you invited Mr. Valentine to breakfast to get things settled, privately.  Your CEO and your GM are aware of your purpose, but they are too enmeshed, one as a friend of Bobby, the other as his boss and then there’s the complication that the manager’s “friend” is the boss of your GM.

"“What do you think, we talked about art? Liverpool?“ Valentine said."

…his voice dripping with sarcasm. “We talked about baseball and our team, obviously. Things that he’s concerned about, and things that I deal with.”

You both place your food order and you immediately refer to the 300-lb gorilla at the table.  You tell Mr. Valentine that he was put in an almost  impossible spot, which was then made more difficult with an over-abundance of injuries.  You note that, had the Dodger trade been consummated when it emerged, much earlier in the season, he might have been able to take the team to the post-season.

Mr. Valentine replies that he gave it his absolute best shot and you acknowledge his preparation and effort and his fortitude.

You’re John W. Henry, business man and you make your offer to Mr. Valentine:

  1.  He agrees to remain at the helm for the remainder of the 2012 season.
  2.  He will receive full payment of his 2-year contract. [$2 million]
  3.  When Mr. Valentine signs with Baseball Tonight, another media outlet, or baseball team, he will give you a heads-up and you will precede his announcement with yours.  “Mr. Valentine will not manage the Red Sox in 2013.  He has accepted another baseball-related position with Baseball Tonight and we all wish him the best.”
  4. You both agree to keep this conversation between the two of you.

You’re John W. Henry and you realized it was time for you to “cowboy up” and “take care of business” for there to be any semblance of order and dignity to the rump end of this chaotic season.

You’re John W. Henry and you can hope that nobody in management tries to put a selfishly favorable spin on this “gentleman’s agreement” by leaking it to the media.

You’re John W. Henry and you did it Lucchino’s way this season and it got emotional and messy; things got more chaotic and out of control; but, worst of all it was embarrassing to be the King of the Kingdom of Chaos.

You’re John W. Henry and you are planning to restore order and rationality to the Red Sox.  You will ask Bill James to take a lead role with the team and return it to a program that minimizes “gut feelings” and “hunches” and maximizes the application of a decision-making system based on facts, numbers and formulas; a sea-change from “diva hysterics” to saber metrics.