In his eight year tenure with the Boston Red Sox, the clubs that Terry Francona managed averaged a .592 winning percentage over the first half. They won almost 60% of the games they played in, in other words. His worst record at the All Star break, oddly enough, came in 2004, when the club went 48-38 en route to a .558 winning percentage.
His replacement this year, Bobby Valentine, would presumably have jumped at the chance to trade for Francona’s worst year, because his club enters the break at .500, with the same record as third place Oakland: 43-43.
Injuries, of course, have played a major role in the club’s malaise. Just as they did last year, the year before and the year before that, when Francona’s winning percentages at the break were .614, .580 and .611.
For his performance en route to the .500 record, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo handed out an “Honorable Mention” to Valentine this morning for his “Best Manager” half season award.
This might seem inexplicable in light of the record, the “toxic clubhouse,” the “widespread disdain” the players have the for manager or all of the above – until you remember that Valentine was Cafardo’s first choice as manager. In October, Cafardo said of Valentine:
He’s exactly what this organization needs. If you want a man who is considered one of the best in-game managers and who has control of his team and the clubhouse, there is no one better available.
In that light, today’s recognition of Valentine can be seen for what it is: a simple inability to admit a mistake.