But pitchers and catchers weren’t the only players working out. A determined David Ortiz, eager to rid himself of the nightmare that was 2012, was among the early arrivals.
“To be honest with you I ran out of patience last year. And I’m a player. So I can imagine where the fans were at,” Ortiz, a designated hitter, said. “We definitely need to come back and play way better than we did last year.”
Many of the new veterans are regarded throughout baseball as high-character players. That’s something that should help the team’s clubhouse culture which started to sour in the historically disastrous finish to 2011, when the Red Sox went 7-20 in the final month to miss the playoffs, essentially ending Francona’s tenure.
“I think it’s very important because — in addition to the talent that was needed and brought in — Ben and his staff (considered) the makeup of the individual (and the) team environment (as parts of the) process of changing,” Farrell said. “So, when we sought the person inside the player, these were clear targets of ours.”
But of all the offseason acquisitions, Farrell will likely have the biggest impact. A former Boston pitching coach from 2007-2010 who left to manage the Blue Jays for two seasons, he needs to undo the memories of Valentine, who often clashed with his players and the front office staff.
Ortiz was one of Valentine’s biggest supporters last season. But in the offseason, Valentine said in an interview he thought Ortiz, who missed 35 games with a right Achilles strain, quit on the team.
“A lot of players had a lot of issues with our manager last year,” Ortiz said. “We have a new manager, a guy that’s familiar with the organization, a guy that we’ve pretty much grown up around. An organization, a team, is like the human body. If the head is right, the body is going to function right. But if the head is messed up, then the body is going to be all over the place.