Red Sox fire Bobby Valentine

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Red Sox fire Bobby Valentine

One year into the job, Bobby Valentine was fired by the Boston Red Sox Thursday after leading the club to its worst record since 1965.

The team announced the firing early Thursday afternoon in a press release.

"Our 2012 season was disappointing for many reasons," said general manager Ben Cherington in the release. "No single issue is the reason and no single individual is to blame. We've been making personnel changes since August and we will continue to do so as we build a contending club.

"With an historic number of injuries, Bobby was dealt a difficult hand. He did the best he could under seriously adverse circumstances and I am thankful to him."

The release said that Cherington would lead the search for Valentine's replacement. Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell, who has a year remaining on a three-year deal with the Jays, is the clear favorite to replace Valentine though the Sox will likely have to work out compensation with Toronto to hire Farrell.

Farrell served as pitching coach with the Red Sox from 2007 through 2010.

A year ago, Cherington compiled a list of a half-dozen candidates and seemed to be favor Dale Sveum's hiring, only to have his selection rejected by ownership. Days later, team president and CEO Larry Lucchino suggested Valentine be considered.

Valentine was hired on December 2. He had previously managed the Texas Rangers and New York Mets, along with two stints in Japan, where he won a championship with the Chiba Lotte Marines.

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"This year's won-loss record reflects a season of agony," said Lucchino in the team's statement. "It begs for changes, some of which have already transpired. More will come. We are determined to fix that which is broken and return the Red Sox to the level of success we have experienced over the last decade.

"Difficult as it is to judge a manager amid a season that had an epidemic of injuries, we feel we need to make changes. Bobby leaves the Red Sox' manager's office with our respect gratitude and affection."

Added chairman Tom Werner: "This season was by far the worst we have experienced in over 10 years here. Ultimately, we are all collectively responsible for the team's performance. We are going to be working tirelessly to reconstruct the ballclub for 2013. We'll be back."

"In our meeting with Bobby today," said principal owner John Henry, "he handled everything with dignity and class and it is deeply appreciated. Ultimately, we as owners are responsible for arming our organization with the resources -- intellectual, physical and financial -- to return to the levels of competitiveness to which we aspire and to which our fans are accustomed.

"Our commitment to winning is unwavering. It is a commitment to this team, to this city and to these fans who have supported us through thick and thin."

Henry added that the organization has "confidence in Ben Cherington and the kind of baseball organization he is determined to build."

Valentine said that he understood the decision.

"This year in Boston has been an incredible experience for me,'' he said, "but I am as disappointed in the results as ownership and the great fans of Red Sox Nation. It was a privilege to be part of the 100-year anniversary of Fenway Park and an honor to be in uniform with such great players and coaches. My best to the organization. I'm sure next year will be a turnaround year."

Sandoval 'starting from scratch' after career had 'fallen into an abyss'

Sandoval 'starting from scratch' after career had 'fallen into an abyss'

The Pablo Sandoval redemption tour is underway as the former World Series MVP tries to revive his career after two disastrous seasons with the Red Sox organization.

In an interview with ESPN Deportes, he admits to being “complacent” during his first two seasons in Boston after signing a five-year, $95 million deal. 

"My career had fallen into an abyss because I was so complacent with things that I had already accomplished," Sandoval said. "I did not work hard in order to achieve more and to remain at the level of the player that I am and that I can be."

After dealing Travis Shaw to the Brewers, Sandoval is expected to be the Red Sox primary third baseman in 2017.

"I am not taking anything for granted," he said. "I am here to work hard. I'm not thinking about the position or not. I am starting from scratch, and I am here to show what I can do on the field."

The 30-year-old says he’s following a “really strict routine” this offseason, and it shows. In a recent photo, Sandoval appears noticeably thinner. Sandoval says his wife giving birth to “Baby Panda” has served as inspiration.

"Watching 'Baby Panda' grow up and that he gets the opportunity to see his father play in the majors for seven, eight more years, to get back to the success I had, that's my motivation every day," Sandoval said. "The people that I surround myself with now and my family, they are the key to my success. This has been a life lesson."

Tanguay: Could Red Sox ownership be going for it now, then sell the team?

Tanguay: Could Red Sox ownership be going for it now, then sell the team?

Could John Henry sell ownership of the Boston Red Sox anytime soon, or does he want to keep winning?  Shaughnessy, Merloni, and Tanguay debate.