Valentine says clubhouse change was in order
Red Sox skipper said lack of chemistry had nothing to do with traded players
BOSTON -- The Red Sox clubhouse is in some way altered after Saturday's mega-deal with the Dodgers. How much, in what manner, and whether that's for the better, is to be seen.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington did not champion the necessity of curing an inharmonious clubhouse, but acknowledged proper "mindset" was part of what any team needs.
"We need to find ways to get back to doing the things we've done when we've been at our best, and part of that's personnel, part of it's mindset and part of it's putting guys in the right position, and everything under that umbrella," Cherington said, adding later, "The culture will feel better when we start winning more games, this was about creating an opportunity to build a better team moving forward. It was not a trade that was made to try to fix a cultural problem. It was about opportunity, giving us opportunity moving forward. The culture will feel very good when we do the things that have made us good over time, things that help us win games. When we do those things, the culture will feel good."
Sox manager Bobby Valentine, the man whose job is to run the clubhouse, was more firm in the need for change. Valentine was careful, though, to say that the players traded to the Dodgers -- Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto -- were not singled-out as problems.
"Yes ... it was necessary," Valentine said of change. "Just didn't seem like [the players] mixed as well it should. ... It has nothing to do with the individuals that were in the trade."
Valentine said he thought the problems that plagued this clubhouse existed before he got to Boston. He pointed out that the need for change is the reason Terry Francona is no longer managing here.
"It's change," Valentine said as reporters asked several questions on the atmosphere. "That's why I was hired, cause change is necessary. When you get an opportunity for change, you change and see if that's the change you needed, I guess."
The trade could help Valentine get a firmer grip on the team. Reliever Alfredo Aceves was suspended for three days on Saturday, the same day as the trade, for conduct detrimental to the team. It was the first time the team has publicly disciplined a player in Valentine's tenure, and is perhaps a well-timed show of strength.
Valentine now must also deal with the prospect that, with one year left on his deal, it might be difficult to make it to the World Series with a team that has to restock substantially this offseason. He said that "part of the rest of the season is going to be evaluation."
There's a possibility, too, there's more evaluating than pennant-clinching to do in 2013, as well.
"I haven't gone there yet," Valentine said. "I get paid to do a job. I enjoy doing my job. As I said, to go to the World Series, I think that's every manager's hope when the season begins."