Concluding the most drawn-out managerial search in recent baseball history, the Red Sox reached agreement with Bobby Valentine to become their new manager Tuesday night, nearly nine weeks after the process to find a replacement for Terry Francona began.
Valentine, who was offered the job while in Japan this week, is expected to return to the United States Wednesday, will likely be introduced at a Fenway Park press conference Thursday.
Valentine, who emerged late in the process as something of a stealth candidate -- he already met with team president and CEO Larry Lucchino and general manager Ben Cherington before he was acknowledged to be under consideration -- beat out Detroit Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont for the post.
As of Wednesday night, the Red Sox had not informed Lamont of their decision to go with Valentine.
Valentine, 61, brings 15 years of managerial experience in the big leagues after eight seasons with the Texas Rangers and seven more with the New York Mets. He later managed in Japan and more recently, worked for ESPN as a color analyst on the network's Sunday Night Baseball telecasts.
He owns a .510 winning percentage in the major leagues. He directed the New York Mets to the 2000 National League pennant, but reached the post-season just twice in 15 years and only twice did his teams win 90 or more games in the regular season.
Valentine, a standout amateur player in his native Connecticut, played parts of 10 seasons in the big leagues for five different teams, but never achieved the stardom that was predicted for him after a gruesome leg injury in 1973.
"Polarizing" is perhaps the word that best describes Valentine, who is viewed as an ardent student of the game, a brilliant strategist, innovative and driven to win by his supporters while his detractors see him as sometimes manipulative, arrogant and divisive.
Valentine becomes the fourth Red Sox manager under the current ownership group since 2002, following Joe Kerrigan -- who was fired before managing a regular season game for the group -- Grady Little and Francona.