Valentine a finalist — but not the favorite — for the Nats job

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Nats have narrowed their managerial choices down to two: current skipper Jim Riggleman and Bobby Valentine.  However, the Nats are more likely to stay the course than make the sexier pick in Valentine, says Rosenthal, for the simple reason that Riggleman won’t demand as much money as Valentine is presumed to want.

One the one hand you can look at this as the Nats being cheap: Valentine is a better manager than Riggleman and the Nats need some identity, so why not pay for it?

But I can’t say it’s a bad move on their part.  The Nats aren’t ready to win yet and whether Bobby Valentine plans to be in the game long enough to see the process through — as opposed to simply get back into the Majors in order to become a viable candidate for other, more attractive jobs — is an open question. In contrast, given how interminable the Nats’ managerial search has seemed to be, we know that Riggleman has patience.

If I’m the Nats, I probably stay the course with company-man Riggleman until the point when they truly look like they’re ready to take it to next level.  He’ll abide by the pitch count restrictions the brass wants to place on Strasburg. He won’t rock the boat while the youngins mature.  If the team surprises under his watch, great, but mostly he’s around until the team starts to look like a winner.  Then Washington can court a marquee manager.

Maybe even Bobby Valentine.

Henderson Alvarez signs with Tigres de Quintana Roo

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Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.

The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.

That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.