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In July, a group of mutinous players contacted Henry and Werner and demanded a meeting in New York during a road trip. Despite their complaints about Valentine, he stayed on the job.
“A lot of things didn’t go well, but an experienced manager is supposed to put his finger in the dike and keep the water on the other side,” Valentine said.
But injuries and poor pitching, more than anything, shattered the Sox, Valentine said. They had 27 players, 13 of them former All-Stars, go on the disabled list a franchise-record 34 times. In all, the Sox had 1,495 games missed because of injuries. Valentine never once managed a game with a full complement of the team’s best players.
Red Sox starters posted an ERA of 5.19. Bad decisions made before he was hired, including turning ace reliever Daniel Bard into a starter, worked against Valentine.
Injuries to David Ortiz and Will Middlebrooks helped put the team out of contention in August. On Aug. 25, the Sox hit the reset button on their franchise with a landmark trade that sent righthander Josh Beckett, outfielder Carl Crawford, and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers.
The Sox received five players in return and $264 million in long-term payroll savings.
But Valentine was left with a roster full of minor leaguers, and the Red Sox finished 9-27, losing their last eight games.
With former general manager Theo Epstein, former manager Terry Francona, and now Valentine all having left the organization, the burden of turning the Sox back into a contender will fall on Cherington.
The Red Sox have missed the playoffs for three seasons in a row and have not won a playoff game since 2008. Eighteen teams in the majors have qualified for the postseason since the Red Sox last did.
“We all share some sense of the burden and some sense of the responsibility and some sense of the challenge,” Lucchino said. “So certainly a lot of it falls on baseball operations. That department is headed by Ben.
“We have great confidence in Ben Cherington and Ben’s ability to put together a department that will lead us back to where we want to be with some speed.”
An expedient decision on the next manager is paramount. The Red Sox went two months without a manager last season, and that backfired. There’s a lot of work to be done, and whoever takes on Boston’s most demanding job needs to get started.
Globe correspondent Michael Giesta contributed to this report. Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@ globe.com.