Via Boston.com -
The division of the Red Sox isn’t limited to Saturday’s split-squad games against the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies.
A wedge appears to be forming between new manager Bobby Valentine and new general manager Ben Cherington on the best way to employ Daniel Bard, starter or reliever, and the best place to employ shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias, Fenway Park or Pawtucket.
Valentine reportedly told scouts from outside the Sox organization he wants Iglesias, not utilityman Mike Aviles, as his starting shortstop. The Sox manager believes Iglesias is ready to play in the majors, which runs counter to the organization’s belief that Iglesias, who is batting .200 this spring with one extra-base hit, is greener than Fenway’s fabled Wall with the bat.
Valentine has been lukewarm, bordering on openly cynical about Bard’s conversion from setup man to starter, a centerpiece of Cherington’s team-building blueprint, and a report, citing an anonymous Sox staffer, said Bard would be returning to the bullpen when the games begin for real.
We have the first sign of discord in this shotgun marriage. Whose evaluation wins out, Valentine’s or Cherington’s, is going to signal how the Sox are going to be run and who wields the power in baseball operations.
The Sox can talk about collaborative processes and multifactorial reviews all they want, but at the end of the day someone gets the final say.
Don’t forget that Cherington didn’t choose Valentine. He was foisted upon him by Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino, the man who runs the Red Sox, after ownership was underwhelmed by Cherington’s choice of onetime Sox third base coach Dale Sveum. Ownership did to Sveum what he used to do to Sox base runners – sent him home without a chance.
Ben Cherington has his hands full here…or so it seems.