If Valentine has the type of players that suit his style — young and hungry — it could work. We’ll see if Cherington and ownership give him that chance, but every move that’s been made seems to enhance the chances that Valentine stays on.
There are parts of the remaining team that will provide a core. Pedroia, Will Middlebrooks, Ryan Lavarnway, Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Perhaps Ellsbury, Felix Doubront, Franklin Morales, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Bailey, and Aviles will be a huge part of that core.
They will need to extend Morales as a starter with a full spring training and get Doubront over the innings hump next season. They will have to add a bona fide starter by hook or crook, either a free agent or via a trade. And perhaps hope De La Rosa emerges as a superstar while Matt Barnes moves the ladder.
Ownership has heard from Cherington and Valentine that they don’t need $150 million players to win a championship. They need hungry players with the right attitude, a true team, to make it work. They have taken a big step toward that.
Now it’s up to Cherington to fill in the missing pieces.
When you make a deal like this, you can’t look back. Of course Gonzalez will be a terrific player in Los Angeles. Crawford may return from Tommy John surgery next season and be the Crawford of old in a more laid-back setting. Beckett may go to the National League West and be a good pitcher again against weaker lineups.
We will soon see what Cherington can do with a blank canvas.
Nick Cafardo can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.