Valentine a finalist for the Indians' job

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Bobby Valentine is getting a callback interview for the Cleveland Indians’ vacancy.  So too are Manny Acta and former Tigers and Indians third baseman and current Indians single-A manager Travis Fryman.

Interesting list of finalists in that it suggests that, rather than merely trying to find the right man for the job, the Indians don’t yet know exactly which direction the team is really heading.

Given his age and experience, you’d think that Valentine would be better suited to a win-now situation.  Despite his firing in DC, Acta is well-regarded and many believe he’d do much better on a team that was actually on the upswing as opposed to the hopeless situation he faced in Washington.  Fryman is totally green by comparison.  If you go with him, aren’t you saying that the team is totally at the bottom and is starting from scratch?

I actually like all three of those guys, but if Shapiro and Dolan think that the team is rebuilding, Valentine — a man with money, a high price tage, TV prospects and presumably a lot of options —  is probably not the best man for the job.  If, on the other hand, ownership thinks that the team is poised to compete in 2010, they’re probably not well-advised to install Fryman in the manager’s office.  Indeed, if he does have managerial talent, you’d probably want to wait until the team is better positioned in order to give him the best chance to succeed.

A lot can happen in the offseason, but my personal view is that the Indians will be better in 2010 than they were in 2009, but won’t truly contend.  I think that DQs Valentine as a serious choice, leaving Acta and Fryman as the better alternatives.

Report: Momentum in talks between Mariners, Jon Jay

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that there is some momentum in talks between the Mariners and free agent outfielder Jon Jay.

Jay, 32, hit .296/.374/.375 in 433 plate appearances with the Cubs last season, which is adequate. He’s heralded more for his defense and his ability to play all three outfield spots.

The Mariners are losing center fielder Jarrod Dyson to free agency and likely don’t want to rely on Guillermo Heredia next season, hence the interest in Jay. The free agent class for center fielders is otherwise relatively weak.