For all the talk about how Bobby Valentine can change the Red Sox, let's remember that he's taking over a team that spent 4 1/2 months as the best team in baseball.
"He fell into a bed of roses," another big-league manager said Wednesday, the day the Red Sox made it official that Valentine will take over as their new manager.
Valentine will try to avoid the thorns. The Red Sox front office gets to spend the next couple of months finding a few more roses.
It can't be any harder (or as time-consuming) as finding a new manager, right?
Besides, the Sox got a good long look at what needs to be done, in the form of September's painful collapse.
The problem is that we're now two months into Boston's offseason, and rather than get a start on fixing what's wrong on the roster, the Red Sox added to their issues by losing free-agent closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Phillies.
Somewhere, the Red Sox will find a new closer. One rival official predicted Wednesday that the Sox will be the team that ends up trading for Andrew Bailey, the very-available A's right-hander.
But where will the Sox find two or more new starting pitchers?
If there was one biggest key to sinking the Sox in September -- yes, bigger than clubhouse beer and fried chicken -- it was the failure to find or develop enough rotation depth. Aces Josh Beckett and Jon Lester were subpar in the final month, and Clay Buchholz was hurt, but the Sox were forced to use the overmatched Kyle Weiland or the over-age Tim Wakefield to start far too many games.
The Red Sox also need another outfielder. No, they need a right-handed hitting outfielder.
Boston's collapse was mostly pitching-driven, but Kevin Youkilis' injury also left the Red Sox lineup far too weak against left-handed pitching. The Red Sox tried to add a right-handed hitter at the July 31 deadline last summer, but couldn't get it done (just as they couldn't add enough pitching depth).
More roster depth all-around wouldn't hurt. One scout who saw the Red Sox in September said Wednesday that he was surprised by how much the team seemed to be affected, offensively and defensively, by the Youkilis injury.
The problems are obvious. The solutions are out there, and maybe front-office power-broker Larry Lucchino and general manager Ben Cherington won't have as hard a time agreeing on the answers as they did on a manager.
Just remember that the Red Sox are fixing a team that is already one of baseball's very best, despite what you saw in September (and despite the chaos you've seen since then).
"They're loaded," the rival manager said.
Yes, they are.