Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, who broke the story about the Red Sox' meeting regarding players' displeasure with manager Bobby Valentine, joined Dennis & Callahan Wednesday morning and warned Red Sox Nation to prepare for more controversy as further details of the meeting leak out.
"These days, not just with baseball, not just with the Red Sox, things can stay secret only so long," Passan said. "As we know, as we've seen in the past, unfortunately for the Red Sox, things often do not end well there. In fact, they end -- I believe I used the words 'mushroom cloud.' I think this is the first bomb dropping. Certainly, there will be more."
Passan reported that players complained to ownership, and the bosses called a meeting in which players aired their grievances. Dustin Pedroia confirmed the meeting but implied that it was designed as a general discussion to improve the team. Passan says otherwise.
"The meeting wasn't all kumbaya, hold hands, let's get on the same page," Passan said. "It was, a lot of it focused on Bobby Valentine and on the players' lack of content with his job this year. Look, there was more than I reported, guys. And there's more than I reported because I couldn't get second and third sources to confirm some of the details. But there's more out there than what has been written at this point. And because this is Boston and because these are the Red Sox, that stuff is going to come out.
"If Dustin Pedroia wants to come out and say they weren't trying to get Bobby Valentine fired, that's perfectly fine. They may not have said, 'Fire Bobby Valentine.' But everything at that meeting was designed to do was to let the ownership know they did not like this manager, they do not get along with him, they do not respect him, and it would be better if things were changed. And when things didn't change, there's a resignation among the players, that, 'OK, this is how it's going to be for the rest of the season. We'll deal with it, we'll go on and hopefully going forward we can get this franchise back on the right track, with or without the guy.' "
Passan -- who said contrary to assertions by Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez, he has spent time around the team -- predicted more leaks about the meeting are forthcoming.
"If something about Terry Francona allegedly taking pills is going to come out, then I think some clubhouse stuff is going to come out, too," Passan said. "It's baseball. Guys talk. It's Boston. Guys talk. That's the way that this goes.
"It cracks me up. I was on with you a couple of weeks ago, I think. And I very vaguely alluded to this because I knew all this stuff was going on. To see somebody complaining about leaks in Boston and about there being a rat cracks me up to no end. Because everywhere around this thing there are leaks. It's part of the organizational dysfunction.
"The guy who I feel worst for, to be honest, is Ben Cherington. It's like he's caught in the middle of this whole thing. Ben Cherington was purportedly handed baseball operations, and then his owner went over his head to hire the manager. He's got these contracts that have been inherited with these players who -- I don't know if you want to term it a mutiny or whatever it may be -- [are] complaining to ownership about [Valentine]. He's stuck between a rock and a hard place. Because the owner doesn't want to get rid of the manager, because that would make the owner look bad, and yet they don't want to get rid of the manager either because it would look like you're emboldening the players and the inmates are running the asylum. So, the situation that the Red Sox are in right now sucks. And it's going to take a little while to dig out of it."
The perception of Gonzalez could be changing with his role in this controversy, and Passan said that might be a good thing.
"The players went to Adrian Gonzalez," Passan said. "They knew that he shared the sentiment, but they went to Adrian Gonzalez and they said, essentially, 'You're a respected figure. People listen to you. They know that if you do this, you're not just a person who's bitching. You have some teeth behind you voice.' So, for Adrian Gonzalez to step up and do that -- whether you look at it as insubordination or look at it as something else -- I think that there are threads of leadership in that. And that this whole idea that Adrian Gonzalez is just some laid-back San Diego kid is honestly inaccurate. I think Adrian Gonzalez is the type of guy who, with this franchise going forward, needs to take on a more active role, not only because he's going to be there for a long time but because within that clubhouse I think people look up to him."
As for Valentine's future, Passan said not to expect a decision until the offseason.
"Absolutely, I think Valentine will survive the year -- barring some sort of very weird happening," Passan said. "Look, I don't want to predict anything unequivocally with Bobby Valentine, because it's obvious that the way that this year has gone, crazier things have happened than the manager getting fired in the middle of the first year. But I think between the votes of confidence and that meeting not causing a change, that pretty much says Bobby will be here for the rest of the year. Now, if the Red Sox end up under .500, if the Red Sox don't make the playoffs, you wonder what the longterm relationship between him and this organization is."
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