Bobby Valentine ain't gonna be the Indians' next manager

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Give Bobby Valentine points for honesty, but ask yourself: if you were hiring a guy for a high profile position and he said these things after the interview, would you be all that eager to give him the gig?

On rebuilding:  “I don’t know that’s exactly the thing I want to do right now, either . . . I’m not sure that’s what I want to do, but, again, I haven’t been offered a job so I don’t have to decide whether or not I definitely want to do this.”

On the state of the Indians: “I don’t know as much about Cleveland as someone interviewing for their manager’s job should. I could have crammed for the last six days and read every article and called every friend and got every little bit of information, just in case one of you guys asked me who the starting third baseman should be next year and I didn’t do it.” 

On the American League: “I can tell you I don’t know about the American League. I don’t know about the Central and I don’t know about the Indians, but I sure as heck am willing to learn and spend about 28 hours a day, if necessary, to know everything I could possibly know.”

Again, in most things in life it’s better to be honest than to offer baloney, so kudos to Valentine. But interviewing for a job ain’t most things in life.  No employer wants to feel like a candidate isn’t eager for the job, and if an interviewee gave the equivalent kind of answers — “I don’t know enough about Acme Corp. as someone interviewing for the regional sales manager’s position should . . .” — they’d never get the gig.

Baseball owners are even less enamored with such brutal honesty, and I’m guessing that when the Dolans read those comments, it will sour them on Valentine.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉