Fredi Gonzalez won 87 games with a team that makes a few sheckles above minimum wage and is considered one of the better managers in baseball. So it makes perfect sense that he’s rumored to be on his way out:
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is said to be less than satisfied with his
team’s standing, and in a fairly shocking development is apparently
considering replacing well-regarded manager Fredi Gonzalez, who has
been widely praised for his performance this season. The Marlins are 87-74 under Gonzalez despite a league-low $36 million
payroll, but people familiar with the situation say Loria believes the
team is good enough to have made the postseason.
These same “people familiar with the situation” say that Valentine is talking to the Marlins about a job. I suppose it’s possible that they’re talking about a GM or some other kind of front office position, but it’s not like he has any experience with that kind of thing.
I can’t at all feature the Marlins hiring the guy. In addition to the fact that Gonzalez is a good manager, he’s under contract for two more years at what I can only assume is a much lower price than what Valentine would ask for even one year. And sure, it’s possible that Valentine has undergone a sea change in personality during his time in Japan, but he never struck me as the kind of guy who would thrive in a low-resources kind of environment like Florida.
The same article has the Indians and Nats interested in Valentine as well. Neither of those seem like great fits for the guy — the Indians less so than the Nats — but at least they have job openings.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.