Coincidence? I think not!
“I am honored and flattered that the Orioles reached out with this
potential opportunity, but at this time in my career, I feel I should
direct my energies in another direction,” Valentine said.
Of course there’s now an opening in another direction: southward, in Florida, where — Valentine’s coyness about it notwithstanding — it was widely reported he was offered a job last winter. Jeff Loria is a New York guy, you see, and probably wants to make a big splash with another big New York guy, so his desire to have Valentine skipper the Marlins is understandable.
I’ve seen some people say that maybe Valentine — a man who has never been accused of lacking in self-confidence — might have some issues with a boss like Jeff Loria. My response to that: he has dealt with way, way worse.
Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.
Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.
To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.