Saturday, March 24, 2012

Clash Of Titans Emerging On Yawkey Way

Every once in a while a member of the local mainstream sports media (read: not a blogger) has the intestinal fortitude to tell the hard truth. Just such a scribe is the Boston Globe's Chris Gasper. In his Saturday article, Gasper details the emerging power struggle between Bobby Valentine and Ben Cherington. The immediate centers of the conflict are: Daniel Bard and Jose Iglesias. Specifically, Valentine wants the kid to be his starting shortstop and Bard to return to the back-end of the bullpen.
BenCher thinks Iglesias is greener than the NOG's Plastic Bottle Collection Brigade and he wants Bard to be the fourth starter. As Gasper points out, Bobby V. wants short-term results to boost his position, and Cherington has a longer-term developmental perspective. Gasper's piece is very revealing and courageous.

As far as we see it, the current struggle should be a split decision. The Red Sox have a history of waiting way too long to bring up prospects (see Youkilis, Kevin), so Iglesias should be the new permanent shortstop. He doesn't need to hit like Nomar in this lineup. So, score one for Bobby. On the other hand, Daniel Bard has made it clear for some time that he either wants to be the closer or a starter. To push him back to "set-up" would be bad for the team and his psyche. He should be the fourth starter. Period. Bailey and Melancon were brought in to be the new back-end. They have to perform those roles. Score one for BenCher.

The more troubling aspect of this situation is the danger that it's just the tip of the confrontational iceberg. The Great Bobby-Ben Power Struggle may just be beginning.